Leave your mark: the evolution of the iconic Louisville Slugger brand
Hillerich & Bradsby Company
The iconic Louisville Slugger brand has a strong heritage, but they sought to strengthen its connection, on and off the diamond.
According to company legend, Andrew “Bud” Hillerich created the first pro baseball bat in 1884. From there, Hillerich & Bradsby’s Louisville Slugger brand was born. Now, over 60% of all MLB players use their products.
In Slugger’s 130-year history, their brandmark had only changed once in 1979. Despite the brands’ rich heritage, they had run into a brand identity issue: there was no consistency in how the brand was talked about, both internally and externally. Competition from traditional rivals and startups was intensifying, putting a premium on capturing the attention of the younger consumer, and maintaining relevance in baseball throughout their lifetime. It was time to bridge the gap between the past and future of the brand. The new brand identity, including a new mark and guidelines, needed to focus on their masterbrand in order to convey who Louisville Slugger is: THE Authentic Diamond Sports Brand.
To poise the brand for a future of success, the Louisville Slugger brand needed to show they are about the entire sport of baseball, not just bats. With a renewed focus on the masterbrand, Slugger’s TPX and TPS sub-brands ceased to exist to achieve consistency across all consumer touchpoints. The brand needed to find the proper balance between their heritage and innovation to tell a unique and compelling story.
After a creative exploration grounded an evolution of the logo, lead concepts were tested with a variety of audiences to gain better insight of which direction the brand should go. Players from several MLB teams, Louisville Slugger museum visitors, fast and slow pitch tournament players, and others were leveraged to inform the final logo and identity.
The result of this engagement is a new brand identity that positions the brand competitively in their category. The new identity innovates across all product categories, while celebrating Louisville Sluggers’ 100+ year history.
”After sharing the final work with the internal and external stakeholders, including our partners at Major League Baseball, the feedback has been fantastic. Everyone is thrilled with the new brand identity for Louisville Slugger. The secondary LS mark immediately communicates that we are THE Authentic Diamond Sports Brand!” –Kyle Schlegel, Vice President of Marketing at Louisville Slugger.