Source for Sports Rebrands with New Identity and Tagline: Interview

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Source For Sports, Canada’s largest sporting goods retail buying group with 150 stores across the country and the U.S, has launched a comprehensive transformation that includes a new brand identity and tagline, a new in-store experience for customers and enhanced e-commerce capabilities.

“As with many legacy brands, after 20+ years in the market, we needed to take stock and understand how customers see our brand today and what is important for the future,” said Donna Finelli, Chief Marketing Officer for Source for Sports.

Source For Sports
Image: Source For Sports

“What really resonated with Canadians is our belief that when it comes to sports, no two players are the same.  We are uniquely positioned to help customers find the gear that is right for them – because of our commitment to highly personalized service combined with our expertise.  And we saw the opportunity to bring this to life with a new tagline and a reinvention of the SFS brand identity.”

Donna Finelli

The brand has been around since 1991.

“I think what’s unique about us is we are an amalgamation of independent small business owners across Canada and the U.S. We’re similar to the Home Hardware group for example in Canada. Home Hardware is also independent business people that are retailers across Canada,” said Finelli.

“What really sets us apart nationally, we learned this through consumer research that we conducted two years ago on this journey, was that sense of independence from a business person perspective really means that our owners, our members, are invested in their communities. They live and work in their communities and they have a very strong sense of pride for their stores and they’re very active obviously from a sports perspective and usually they’re very passionate about sports.

Cleve’s Source For Sports in Antigonish, Nova Scotia

“What consumers say is we have this incredible level of personalized service and expert advice and that really is what sets us apart from a big box retailer.”

The rebranding includes a complete reinvention of the brand identity:

  • New logo: A new SFS logo featuring a stylized S, comprising two parts to symbolize customer and staff coming together to find a perfect fit. The logo is designed to be bold, consistent, and recognizable in all uses, from social media icons to store signage;
  • New tagline: The new tagline, “We Fit Your Game”, emphasizes the personalized service and product knowledge athletes get when they shop at SFS. It is a customer-centric update of “We Know Our Stuff”, the brand tagline for more than 20 years; and
  • New Source Exclusive Collection: To reinforce the new identity, SFS is launching a branded collection of high-quality hockey accessories, including base-layer garments, hockey bags and skate guards.

The rebranding took two years of planning development in partnership with Conflict, an independent Toronto-based strategy, design, and advertising agency and Julie Prévost-Hilaire of JPH design d’intérieurs.

Image: Source for Sports

“We are basically changing our entire brand identity,” said Finelli.

Brad Hause

In the months ahead, the company said it will introduce elements of the transformation, with a full launch planned to coincide with the key Back to Hockey marketing campaign in July 2022.

“Like any good coach, we know our team’s competitive advantage: We are experts at understanding the needs of our customers and finding the right fit for each,” said Brad Hause, President of Source For Sports. “So, in planning this transformation, we looked at every touch-point in our customer journey and asked: How can we enhance what we do best?”

Stores will start to roll out new design standards including signage, updated exterior colours and materials, merchandising fixtures and branded graphics.  The new design standards are scalable across store formats and sizes, to reflect the needs of the independent store owner group. The changes should be visible in most SFS stores by July 2022.

Image: Source for Sports

“Further to the brand transformation piece, we have a digital evolution we are working through now as well. We are launching a brand new website. We currently have a website but we’ve done an audit of that and we felt there was a number of ways for us to improve the customer experience,” said Finelli.

“So that new website, that’s built on the Shopify platform, is launching in January and what’s unique about that is that it actually pools the inventory of all of these retailers across Canada and shows that inventory to a customer based on their location and the stores that are closest to them and allows them to shop that inventory locally or they may see something they love, they live in Ontario but there’s something a store has in BC that they’re trying desperately to find, and our website will be able to showcase that across the country.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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