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Branding Essentials for Designers

Lesson 8 of 14

Brand Case Study: Gatorade


Branding Essentials for Designers

Lesson 8 of 14

Brand Case Study: Gatorade


Lesson Info

Brand Case Study: Gatorade

I'm gonna take you through a couple case studies, to illustrate some of these points of branding, and how to bring a brand to life, and, here's a fun example. This is a Gatorade, approached us shortly after starting Tether, and you saw that gallery space, I mean, there was just a couple of us there, you know, just starting the company, and brought on a few of our, you know, the people that, the getting the band back together, as I talked about before. Some people that I'd worked with at Nike and Lego. So, I'm gonna just, go a little more, you saw a little bit about Gatorade there, and as I was starting to say before, Gatorade approached us early on and we really didn't have a lot of people, and, we were just getting going, and you know, had worked at Starbucks and had, you know, considerable experience in the beverage category. But we wanted to beef up our portfolio. So this is an example of what you can kind of do on your own. So, we created a couple brands. Just to show our thinking,...

our problem solving, and also design, and so, we created this little brand we called it Tilo Telo Apothecary, and had a concept around the 24 hours, and, instead of drinking, a you know, big caffeinated thing in the afternoon to stay awake, it was more all-natural in the morning, and before you go to bed and all that. So, we created these, and with the beauty of what we all have to work with is tools, we created these renders of this, so it looks real, but it's not real. You know, it doesn't exist, it only exists digitally. But we told the story, we put it in our portfolio, and then we came up with this other one called Riff, and, we, you know, we named it, and positioned it, so we treated it just like a real brand, but we made it up. So, what it was helpful for, was helpful for them, to see our thought process, showed them that we could quickly generate concepts, and it also demonstrated our capabilities on both the conceptual side and the technical side. So, when Gatorade came to us, they had been in existence for 45 years, Gatorade created the category of hydration beverages, you've heard of the story, University of Florida, the Gators, the Gatorade, all that. So, what we did is we looked at the history of Gatorade. And they came to us, and they gave us our, you know, the problem, the problem was, it was all about flavors now. It's flavor innovation. They had one product, and the category has changed a lot since then, there was a lot of competitors in the, before you work out, after you work out, while you're working out, lots of competitors, Powerade, all those different ones, and so, it was looking a little sad on the shelf. And so, first thing we did, is we helped them reposition the company, so these, so we talked about our, you know, your brand promise. And, we talked about your mission. Why do you exist? So this is a company that had to remember why it was founded in the first place, and, but the market had shifted considerably, so, how do we stay relevant? How do we stay relevant to our consumers? Cause they weren't around, they didn't have, you know, a 15-year-old kid doesn't have a historical reference. You know, the dad might, but he doesn't. And so, really we made this transformation on the last line from sports drink to fuel for your body. So if you think about, sports drink to fuel for your body. So that goes from one product, you know, the hydration beverage they had before, to before you work out, after you work out. It could be food, it could be services, fuel for your body. So basically, wanted to own the inside of an athlete's body. If Nike, you know, owns the outside of a body, they outfit the outside of a body, then, Gatorade could own the inside, so everything that you put in your body. So, and the brand promise of the science and soul of athletic achievement, so be better than your best. So everything that we did should ladder up to that, being better than your best. So, yeah, you're a great athlete, and you can train as hard as you want, but if you don't have that edge of hydration or fuel, now, then, you're not gonna be better than your best, meaning the top of your game. So, as you saw in the video, so we moved it from what you see on the left to what you see on the right. So, everything, so that comes back to the brand language that you create. What does this brand do? It helps athletes be better than their best. So athletes, it needs an athletic look. The one on the left doesn't have an athletic look. The one on the right has that athletic stance, has that broad shoulders, the narrow waist. And then, remember the bolt that was in all those old bottles? The lightning bolt, it was in many different forms. So we wanted to honor that heritage. You don't throw everything away. As you're looking at a brand, especially a historical brand, you don't throw everything away. You go, what can we pull forward, the best of, relevant things, from the past. And so, we pulled the lightning bolt forward, and we stylized that bolt, and now that stands for the science. The science of the product. So there's a whole team of scientists that Gatorade called "The Gatorade Sports Science Institute." It hadn't been talked about a lot, so we brought that more to the fore. And we talked about the science behind all the formulations. So, that bolt stood for the science. So whenever possible, you could see through the bolt. You could see the product, the innovation through the bolt. And then, on the other hand, we had science, and then swagger. Swagger came from the athletes. So science and swagger were kind of our bookends. So you can see that we redesigned that product, so it all had that, no matter the form, or the shape, it, whenever possible, it would have that athletic stance. So here you see the performance product, and what this was, this was the full array, we designed the before, during, and after. We called it G Series. So this is a brand that had been around a long time, had one product, so everyone was used to one product. So though insights from the consumers, we learned that we needed to call it something, both G Series, and also have a name, Prime Form Recover, and then we had to add a number, one, two, three, to it. So they really knew that it was something different than what they were used to. It's a system now, one, two, three. So as soon as we added that one, two, three, they got it, okay, a system. And then, as we worked with it over the years, we've learned that the consumer had got used to it, and they now know that, so we were able to pull the numbers off, and we've done a, you know, slight tweaks and redesigns to this. So, the brand book that we created, talks about this is who you are, the emotional part of who you are. And then, this is what you look like. Those are those practical elements. You have the logos and the colors and the shapes. And then execution, you know, how you pull that off. (dramatic drum beats) (athletes shouting) (dramatic drum beats) (whooshing sound effect) (cheering) (dramatic drum beats) And you gotta have a snappy video to reinforce it of course. So, our consumers for this, we had the performance athlete, and those are those aspiring to be professional athletes. The high school athlete. And through talking with them, and, so this is a little bit about the insights. I talked about that a little bit earlier. You get your insights from your consumer, and you get to know them so well, that when you design something they go, yeah, that's mine. Even though they've never seen it before, cause they recognize that. As opposed to, sometimes there, kind of the older way of doing things is that you take things before the consumer, and you say, which one would you pick for our brand? And so, you let them make the decision. So instead of letting them make the decision, you decide who you are, who you want to be, and get to know your consumers very well, as we saw, some of those Nike and Lego and Starbucks examples, and then, you design something for them, and then you get validation from them. They go, yeah, that's nice. You know, that's me. And so, for these performance athletes, when we put this bottle in their hands, they go, yeah, that's it. And away we went. So this was the performance line, before, during, and after. You can see that athletic stance, the visible bolt on all three of those, and then, we went and talked to the professional athletes, and we saw that they had different needs, they needed more carbs, more proteins, more electrolytes, so we created the Pro Series. Even though it's a different color, you see it still retains those elements of the bolt, the shape, the orange cap. We have an orange cap on everything. Even if it doesn't have a cap, we have an orange top. You can see on this, on the pouch, there on the left, that has an orange top to it, so, another distinguishing element from the logo, the bolt, and the orange top. And whenever possible, we would mold the, as Dave talked about in the video, we would mold that bolt into the form. And then, the next athlete were the fitness athlete, those that work out in the gym. You know, formerly, they might have been competitive in college, or just staying, working out to stay in shape. And when we talked to them, we found out they had different needs. They wanted something to fit in a bottle cage while they're working out on the spinning bike. They prefer something to eat before they work out. And they wanted a smoothie, rather than liquid after they work out for the recovery drink, so, you can see, these are in different forms. In fact, the hydration one was clear, lightly flavored. But you still see that orange top, you still see that bolt, the different color, cause it needs to differentiate itself on the shelf. You need to be able to find it when it's together. And part of this, also, was a channel strategy. You have to, when you get to know your business, you go, where are all the places that the customer could buy this? So we launched our performance in grocery, the silver one. The black one we launched in GNC. And then this white one, the fit one, we launched in drug first, before we moved into grocery. And then, and then we also, through talking to the consumers, we came upon this little fact that, a lot of the product is bought by mothers for high school athletes. Hey, you going to the grocery store? Can you get me some of that fruit punch, you know, the Gatorade fruit punch? I'm running low. And so, the mothers, we found out that some of them would like to have an option, a more natural option. So we created the G Natural. And this had sea salt and cane sugars, and we launched it first in Whole Foods, before it moved into grocery. So, again, getting to know your customer, and their needs, and then you fit that into the brand that you have designed. And then doing limited time offerings, an industry standard across lots of industries, of course, is to generate ongoing excitement, you know, for events, or seasonal and things like that. And then we went and talked to the owners, the trainers, the coaches, and we went into the stadiums, and we went to Australian rules football, to cricket, Major League Baseball, and NFL, and NBA, and we talked about their needs, and what they were using. And we redesigned the equipment that they had to make it work better, and we also designed new equipment that they didn't have yet, and of course, we added the ergonomic dunk handle to the cooler, because, actually, a few players had strained themselves, (audience laughs) cause it didn't have a handle on the bottom before. It just had the top handle. And it was a big, bulky, you know, it was straight-walled before, so, even on a 3-D optic like that, you can see it has that athletic stance, it has that bolt built in. The broad shoulders. So we went through all of our, all the product existing, and then, and just like this simple little cart, right here, for baseball, we saw a guy with a dolly. He had a bunch of stuff loaded up on a dolly. He was just hauling it, things were falling off, so we go, oh, there's a problem. So we just designed a new cart for them that was very movable on grass surfaces with big wheels. So we've done a lot of things for World Cup, and, Super Bowls, and it's been an amazing experience. And then all this comes together in these fuel bars. So the fuel bars are where all that fuel for your body comes together, and these are in the training rooms and the locker rooms of top pro and college teams. And they can get all their fuel needs there. So that's Gatorade, and, we'd even done a gym. Gunnar Peterson is a trainer to the stars, and, we even designed his gym to reflect the sensibility of Gatorade. Here's a fun little video that kind of takes you, this is a stop motion video, you know what stop motion is, right? One frame at a time. So we shot this in true stop motion, so it took a while, hey, anybody have like two hours, and we need to shoot, you know, three minutes of footage. So we used our employees. But it was really fun, and we put it together to kind of illustrate how to bring it to life. (footsteps) (bell sound) (footsteps) (electronic dance music) ♪ Hey love ♪ ♪ My life ♪ ♪ Time to ♪ ♪ Say goodbye ♪ ♪ Nowhere ♪ ♪ Oh dear ♪ ♪ My dear ♪ ♪ Crystal tears ♪ ♪ All right ♪ ♪ Fading ♪ ♪ All right ♪ ♪ Fading ♪ (electronic dance music) ♪ Ahhhhhh ♪ ♪ Say goodbye ♪ ♪ I am flying ♪ ♪ Through the sky ♪ ♪ Don't cry ♪ (electronic dance music) ♪ Oh my ♪ ♪ Let's try ♪ ♪ Bye bye ♪ ♪ Let's try ♪ ♪ Bye bye ♪ ♪ Let's try ♪ ♪ Bye bye ♪ ♪ Let's try ♪ ♪ I think I am flying ♪ ♪ No one can find me ♪ ♪ I think I am flying ♪ ♪ No one can find me ♪ ♪ I think I am flying ♪ ♪ No one can find me ♪ (electronic dance music) (synthesizer keyboard) (electronic dance music) (electronic beats) (camera shutter clicks) (synthesizer keyboard) (electronic dance music) (synthesizer keyboard playing) ♪ Ahhhhhhhh ♪ ♪ Ahhhhhhhh ♪ ♪ Say goodbye ♪ ♪ I am flying ♪ ♪ Through the sky ♪ ♪ Let's try ♪ ♪ Bye bye ♪ ♪ Let's try ♪ ♪ Bye bye ♪ ♪ Let's try ♪ ♪ Bye bye ♪ ♪ Let's try ♪ ♪ I think I am flying ♪ ♪ No one can find me ♪ ♪ I think I am flying ♪ ♪ No one can find me ♪ ♪ I think I am flying ♪ ♪ No one can find me ♪ (Gatorade splashing) (synthesizer keyboard)

Class Description


  • Bring a unique human touch to a brand story
  • Define brand attributes, vision, and strategies for naming
  • Employ tactics to ensure brand consistency across all platforms


A great brand is the culmination of strategic thought, experience, and a little magic. It all results in a story that creates brand fans. A logo, a name and identity are starting points, but by themselves don’t create successful brands. Learn what it takes to build a lasting and meaningful brand in Branding Essentials for Designers with Stanley Hainsworth.

Stanley is the the former creative director at Nike, Lego and Starbucks and now founder of the multi-disciplinary creative juggernaut – Tether. In this class he teaches the role stories play in developing a strong brand identity and how to create a strategic roadmap for sharing a brand story with the world. You’ll learn tools and methodologies for creating brands that can be applied to projects of all sizes.

Through this class you’ll develop the skills you need to offer clients the complete package when it comes to branding – not just a logo. Deepen your branding know-how and infuse meaning into your design work with branding whiz, Stanley Hainsworth.


This class is for design professionals, entrepreneurs, startup founders, marketing and branding managers, and creatives interested in learning more about branding.


Underneath that highly unorthodox shock of follicular iconoclasm lies the turbocharged brain of a highly attuned branding machine. Stanley mastered the art of brand storycraft while serving as the creative-in-chief at three of the great brands of our time: Nike, Lego, and Starbucks, where he was VP of Global Creative during an era when the now-ubiquitous brand matured into the cultural icon we know today. His creative influence extended from products and campaigns to all consumer touch points. Prior to that, as Global Creative Director for the Lego Company in Denmark, Stanley directed a total visual overhaul of the brand, including advertising, interactive, packaging, retail and brand stores. At Nike, Stanley worked on everything from the Olympics to creating Nike Entertainment. He has written books on branding, is an educator, a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, and is a sought after speaker on branding and design worldwide. 

Connect with Stanly online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Huffington Post


  1. Personal Journey

    By telling his story, Stanley models personal branding in action - how did a small town western Kentucky boy come to realize that he, himself, was a brand? Stanley addresses the fundamentals here: what exactly is branding? How are brands like people? What are the key questions to ask when developing a brand?

  2. Defining the Brand: Nike

    How is joining a brand like joining a religion? What is the power of listening to the consumer? How do you set up a sell-out new product launch? Stanley takes you through his process in building a stand out brand as creative director at Nike: you get an inside look at his branding strategy that brought the original product line to the full 360-degree consumer experience it is today.

  3. Brand Visuals: Lego

    Stanley takes his personal brand to the next level and creates his own role at Lego. He explains the process of rebranding - taking a well known corporate brand beyond its logo - and the roles of a brand book, brand promise, and developing visual language in this process. He answers important questions: What is the relationship between the emotional and practical in successful branding? How do you develop a reciprocal relationship with your brand fans, or most loyal customers?

  4. Fine Tuning the Brand: Starbucks Part 1

    A good brand develops a “gut feeling” identity throughout the years; as a newcomer to a team, how do you learn this so-called “tribal knowledge”? What are brand guidelines and how are they essential to brand building? Stanley explains how to codify the ephemeral “feeling” of a brand in order to produce consistent brand messaging.

  5. Fine Tuning the Brand: Starbucks Part 2

    You’ve established brand guidelines and you’ve created a brand book; how do you use these tools to bring your brand to every touch point with a consumer? Look inside Stanley’s process of redesigning product packaging and his reasoning behind decisions made. Learn how to go beyond traditional ad campaigns to create a memorable brand experience with your customers - to deepen their emotional attachment.

  6. Building a Creative Environment

    The creative process gets messy in the best way - how do you create a work environment that fosters creativity? Why is it important that brand messages and core values are reflected in a workplace itself? Designers often work together across disciplines, but how do you involve executives in the creative process? From t-shirts to competitions and design camps, Stanley discusses how to cultivate creativity in the workplace.

  7. Inside Tether: Behind the Scenes Studio Tour

    Take an exclusive tour within Tether, Stanley’s own branding agency to see a real-life example of a creative playground. From big-name clients, to developing a new brand, to personal projects, Stanley gives you behind the scenes access.

  8. Brand Case Study: Gatorade

    How do you reposition a company to remain relevant in a shifting market? What do you keep, change, and enhance in your brand strategy? When do you listen to consumer feedback, and when do you just make decisions? Stanley models how to expand beyond a specific product to create a line of customer offerings.

  9. Brand Case Study: Awake Chocolate and Swans Island

    Coca-Cola and Pepsi rely on big name recognition, but what about the smaller players in more niche markets? In this class, Stanley demonstrates the power of effective product packaging coupled with strategic marketing. Learn creative ways to harness social media to not only advertise, but also drive public relations. This is Marketing Techniques and Brand Storytelling 101.

  10. Brand Case Study: The Grove School

    Tether brand manager Kari Strand outlines the process of a unique project: a new brand involving many stakeholders in students, families, the company,and its teachers as essentially brand ambassadors. From developing a brand name to a myriad of marketing materials, you’ll see multi-use touch points that not only communicate important brand messaging, but also represent the brand’s core values. Kari models how to develop common language to dialogue with potential customers.

  11. LIVE Brand Case Study: Live Love Snack

    How do you reposition a brand to enter the mass market? Tether designers take us deep into the world of product packaging: learn how to problem-solve and watch as their designs evolve with each iteration. The Tether team answers essential design questions: how do you lead an effective brainstorming process? How does narrative fit into design? Why is hierarchy of information important?

  12. LIVE Brand Case Study: Squatch Watch

    What does a multi-disciplinary approach actually look like inside a creative agency? The Tether team demonstrates the benefits of non-work order projects by participating in a soapbox derby.

  13. Evolution of a Brand

    Long-term success requires evolution. Learn about the power of storytelling and the role of compelling taglines in the evolution of BMW motorcycles and Keen footwear. How do you build upon an existing legacy to expand into different markets? You do you re-ignite brand buzz?

  14. Create Your Own Opportunities

    Stanley dips into the not-for-profit arena; what does branding for a cause look like? How do you create consistent identity throughout the many arms of an international organization? Stanley returns to an old pet project that stuck - a concept he couldn’t shake. He closes with an affirmation: trust your journey.


Lily Raz

Stanley's branding class was packed with so many actionable takeaways!! I learned so much about the thinking behind how branding is important for companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors. One of the biggest things I learned was when he said describing a brand is like describing a person to someone. He talked a lot about the process that it takes to build successful brands and keep them true to their promise. I really loved when he did a tour of his agency Tether. This class is filled with lots of creative material and great energy. I definitely recommend it! Thank you Creative Live!!


I am LOVING this class. I have heard "brand" explained in a lot of different ways, but Stanley's metaphors and examples made such sense to me that I actually feel like I have a firm grasp of what it means, and how I can make my own. Describing and showing his process with various brands was especially helpful. I feel empowered and excited (rather than overwhelmed, nervous, or uncertain) about strengthening my brand. Without Creative Live, I would not be able to take a class from an expert like Stanley Hainsworth, so I am especially grateful for today's course. Thank You! - Alexis (a.k.a. Free Range Al)


He is fun and engaging... This class has given me a whole new perspective of how to build my brand and keep it consistent as I go. The videos he shows are soo fun, and they show off his great sense of humor, and fun personality!!