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If you follow Whiteroom you’ll know the team’s affinity to sport. On a daily basis you’ll see numerous team members going for runs, group cycles, organising sports charity events or chatting technique or meal plans, we even go as far as to provide all employees with gym memberships as a perk of employment. From a projects perspective we’ve managed to curate a client history rich in sports working with top outdoor/sports brand such as Merrell, Giant, Timberland and New Era. While these projects came to us organically, we believe it’s not a coincidence that our portfolio reads similar to our collective interests. Jon and I, whether consciously or not, have built the agency around our sports mindset, with a company ethos that sport and design share the same commitment to achieving results.

Design is about solving problems with creativity being the process used to answer the question/project at hand. This is a multidisciplinary approach and like an athlete who prepares for the big event, you work on all aspects of your game, undertaking a holistic approach to training strength, diet and mental focus. The same is true for the design process. Any concept is only as strong as its weakest part and training in a balanced way is essential. It’s so important that today’s creatives are multidisciplinary, able to holistically see how all aspects of a project come together to produce recognised results.

Like sport, the best project results come from hard work and dedication to achieving the outcomes required for race day. It’s about teamwork, by employing intelligent individuals, not to boss them around but to create an environment and opportunities for your team to thrive. If you trust your team to take ownership and responsibility you will get the best results for both them and the company.

Principles of sport have been a driving factor in creating and sustaining our growing agency. It's always been about organic growth through marginal gains; every decision has a direct influence on the next that builds on the previous. It doesn’t matter how small each decision is, it drives forward the agency towards being the best possible version of itself. Like an athlete, humility is key, knowing there is always something knew to learn, a better technique to perfect, another record to break. We are constantly innovating and pushing boundaries, ensuring we’re top of our game.

When running I never look down at my feet, I keep my head high and visualise past the person in front, always looking ahead, not for a finish line but for continuous horizons. It’s all about running your own race, achieving your goals and inspiring others whether employees, clients or partners along the way.

Today sport is a leader in the shifting tide of consumer habits. Sports brands are one of the first industries to listen and flex to meet the needs of today’s consumers, offering tangible interactions where the product becomes a physical memory of the brand curated human emotion. A perfect example of this is the new House of Innovationthat Nike have launched in Shanghai. This space of creativity and expression moves consumers not just past the point of a traditional transaction but in to a completely different space, one that feels worlds away from a buy/sell environment. Interacts such as rotating art installations, workshops, lectures and digitally-led trialing sessions take the consumer on to a completely different consumer reality.

Nike's House of Innovation, Shanghai Nike's House of Innovation, Shanghai

It’s a very exciting time to be designing and solving problems in today’s retail landscape, the shift to consumers directing brands rather than brands telling consumers how to shop is very powerful. The best brands today don’t use the word consumer, they understand retail is much more than commodity and transaction, it’s about forming real relationships, by listening and asking what we can do for you. Gone are the days of surprise and delight, now it’s all about creating expectation, knowing your customers come to your brand for that extra mile.

All brands need to sell products to stay in business, however, sports brands do it best by selling culture, service and hospitality that moves product. Like a design agency promotes culture and insight to build trust and create opportunity, the two go hand in hand.


Craig White

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