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A Tale of Heart & Rebranding
In its infancy, Mio Global was the first to introduce heart rate wristbands to the fitness world. By the time Magnetic arrived, the functional benefit of tracking heart rate had become fairly standard in wearable technologies. It was time to consider a rebranding strategy that would help to mature Mio’s emotional appeal.
Seeking Mio's Truth
It quickly became clear that hanging our hats on feature sets would be a losing battle. Despite Mio’s superior heart rate accuracy, FitBit had jumped into the lead as a catch-all activity tracker, and the Apple Watch had recently emerged as a do-all extension of the iPhone.
During our rebranding process, we asked ourselves, “Who would get the most out of Mio and its ultra precise heart rate technology?” After reviewing competitors, reading countless reviews and vetting the product ourselves, the answer came during a brainstorming session with one of our resident designers, who is also a running coach and ultra-marathoner.
If you ever listen to a true performance athlete describe the rigorous training and sheer dedication it takes to compete at a high level, one thing becomes abundantly clear: these people have a screw loose, and they’re proud of it. What we might consider crazy is where they go to find sanity.
A Brand is Reborn
To encapsulate this obsessive mindset of performance athletes, we developed an ethos of sorts called “The Coach Within”. Our goal was to show Mio that by embracing the emotional intelligence and mental makeup of hardcore athletes, they can carve out a unique and ownable position within the fitness wearables market.
The Coach Within
There’s a line dividing the casual and the committed. We do it for the latter. To them, performance fitness isn’t a choice. It’s a way of life.
Dig deeper. Go further. Look higher. Train smarter. Bite off something bigger.
The performance athlete hears the same voice we all do: “Slow down. Go back. It’s okay to quit.” The only difference is their capacity to ignore it. It’s not always comfortable, and never easy. But nothing of great value ever is.
This breed operates on a different level, inaccessible by most. It’s a fellowship of enlightenment and a solidarity of the obsessed. They bend their body to their will. They scoff at the impossible. They train with heart.
To the outsider, biking 100 miles straight or breaking a 5-minute mile might sound crazy. To the performance athlete, it’s just a good Tuesday. "Crazy" is their comfort zone, and Mio coaches them back to it.
Many athletics brands hire models for their photography. Typically, there’s a lot of posing and positioning and wardrobing involved with staged shots. But if Mio was going to be rebranded for true performance athletes, we would have to keep it real. Models just wouldn’t do.
So we set out to connect with real athletes doing real workouts in real places to capture the heart and willpower that goes into their training. Nothing fake would do. We wanted to give individuals across the athletic spectrum something emotional to connect with.
In our initial scope of work, we planned to shoot in three locations to capture running, cycling and swimming. The problem is athletes of all varieties were beginning to incorporate heart rate monitoring into their regimens. With the growing popularity of HR wearables, we didn’t want to limit Mio’s impact to only runners, cyclists and swimmers. The brand is bigger than that.
We made the choice to branch out. Using mostly natural light, we held shoots at the beach in San Diego, at crossfit gyms, into the mountains of Mammoth, inside stadiums, in the high desert of California, out to the waters of Oahu. We began with 3 athletes in 3 locations. By the time we were done, we had an expansive photo library of roughly 20 athletes across 13 different locations.
Everywhere we shot photography, we shot video too. It was important that we seize each opportunity to capture new content. With our photo and video crews in tow, we followed real athletes as they endured vigorous, heart rate-raising drills.
The video concept and scripting called for athletes to push and push until they reach a breaking point. As much as we wanted to see intense activity, it was also critical that we capture the exhaustion and triumph of athletes who’d been pushed past their limits. This emotional connection point would be central to breaking through the clutter.
Ultimately, our goal with video was to create a branded sizzle video that Mio could use anywhere, but it turned into much more. For every athlete we filmed, we would create snackable video vignettes to feed our social channels. We would go on to develop several different edits for the press, for trade shows and as assisted sales tools.
Campaign Key Art
As part of our rebranding strategy, our campaign artwork needed to convey the lifestyle of our Coach Within persona while showcasing all the data Mio’s products track and store. The ads focused primarily on the Mio ALPHA 2 HR Sport Watch and the Mio FUSE Activity + HR Tracker, with data callouts tracking out from the product. Combining studio shots and original photography, we composited scenes from first and third person perspectives to demonstrate a variety of perspectives and applications.
The challenge with this brochure was to introduce Mio’s new brand in a print medium. So we mapped out the most logical storyline, beginning with a new brand mantra and a short education on the benefits of heart rate training. The blend of power messaging and striking athletic photography translated into a successful takeaway brochure for events, presentations and assisted sales efforts.
When we first engaged with Mio, their website featured some great content, but there was no rhyme or reason to their information architecture and ecommerce experience.
Our goal was to organize their content in a way that
After several rounds of debate and brainstorming, we developed a new content hierarchy that would balance Mio's new “Coach Within” lifestyle campaign with revamped product messaging. We developed and installed a new product selector tool to help athletes choose the right Mio, and reworked the shopping cart experience to be much smoother user path.
Finally, to help grow and support our dedicated athletes, we redesigned the community portion of Mio’s site to bring more personality, more social engagement opportunities and more rich content into view. By the time we launched, the new mioglobal.com would feel less stationary, and more like a living, breathing store experience where the fitness community could gather.
Mio has their “Coach Within.” What can your brand hang its hat on?
Whether you’re in the middle of your own rebranding process or just getting started on your strategy, odds are we can help. Magnetic has helped countless brands that are starting out or starting over to find their truth and run with it. We can probably learn a lot from each other, so let’s get in touch.