Art Direction, Brand Identity, Brand Writing, Concept Development, Motion Graphics, Packaging, Physical Environments and Exhibitions, Research and Strategy, Video Direction
Making people move since 1963 ECCO was founded in 1963 in rural Denmark, and is now Scandinavia’s leading footwear brand.
Comfort right out of the box Today ECCO is making people move from Shanghai to Riyadh, while staying true to its exacting design and sustainability standards.
Never stop moving Seeking to grow its footprint among a new generation of consumers, ECCO turned to Athletics for a new perspective on the 57-year-old brand.
Every step of the way Our partnership is active and ongoing, ranging from new sub-brand launches to rapid-response communications during the pandemic.
The nature of movement
Our initial assignment from ECCO was a creative studio’s dream: inspire the ECCO executive team with provocative ideas on how to build new and enduring consumer relationships. With this open brief, we dug into the ECCO archives for insight into a brand that for many around the world has defined quality, comfort, and design for more than half a century. In the process, we learned a few important things. First, ECCO was founded based on the premise that shoes should feel good right out of the box, a radical idea in its time. Second, ECCO has always been deeply inspired by the great outdoors, using footwear as a way to bring us closer to nature. Third, ECCO is one of only a handful of vertically integrated footwear companies on earth, closely controlling its supply chain from cattle to tanning to production to finishing. And finally, ECCO supplies premium leather to some of the world’s most respected brands, from Louis Vuitton to Apple to Blundstone to Stone Island.
The new narrative
Realizing that the keys to ECCO’s continued success were all inherent in the brand’s DNA, we understood that we needed a unifying message and story that would weave all of these incredible narrative elements together. We drafted a brand story titled “Making People Move Since 1963,” recontextualizing ECCO’s products from focusing on the features that make for comfortable walking to the benefits that make for energetic modern movement in all of its weird and wonderful forms. Our design team then adopted the ideas laid out in the story and created a series of design directions to visualize the new ECCO brand. Our explorations focused on rhythmic compositions, bright geometric forms, brash photography, inclusive casting, and punchy language. All of this and more we presented to ECCO leadership at VICE headquarters in Amsterdam in 2018, alongside fellow agencies VIRTUE and NR2154, a rare and fascinating opportunity for open dialogue across global creative partners.
Moves like you
With ECCO leadership onboard with the concept of “Making People Move,” we were challenged to push the idea further through strategy, design, and activation. Reworking our brand story to focus on the collective forward movement of humanity in addition to the energetic physical movement of individuals, we opened the narrative aperture to create opportunities for ECCO to share more of their remarkable sustainability initiatives and progressive labor practices. Evolving the visual identity in parallel, we tested the elasticity of our system to ensure it could resonate with the brand’s myriad audiences and verticals, from golf to business formal to outdoors and everywhere in between. To bring the system to life, we conceived a range of “brand to life ideas” to simulate how the new brand strategy and identity could be activated across culture, product, marketing, and identity, all based on the new articulation of our overarching concept: Moves Like You.
Traveling to Tønder, Denmark, ECCO world headquarters, we shared our work with the ECCO team, garnering the buy-in we needed to begin seeding and testing the new brand elements on social media, beginning with an upbeat, self-directed video by ECCO fans around the world, filmed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. We are currently working with ECCO on its response to the global health crisis, strategizing and launching a new product range, as well as providing guidance and support on the global roll-out of the new brand, all based on the strategic concept “Moves Like You.” This includes the formation of a new ECCO Studios brand center, where the new brand strategy and identity will be applied throughout the brand’s vast ecosystem. We’re eager to continue working alongside the Danish footwear giant to honor the past, navigate the present, and fortify for the future.