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Brand Positioning and Increasing Brand Awareness for Decathlon UK

It’s all good sport at Decathlon UK

Finding fame

Decathlon had plenty of brand fame in Continental Europe but awareness in the UK was low. This meant the brand lacked the same meaning with its consumers. A focus on short-term marketing tactics was also distracting from long term brand building. So, with an expanding ‘bricks & clicks’ proposition, and ambitious growth plans, Decathlon UK recognised the need to address this and find a way for the brand to ‘cut through’.

In a crowded UK sports and leisure market, where many large brands were positioned around range and value, and more specialist brands on dedication and passion, they also needed to secure a brand positioning that would be distinctive and different.  We were asked to help them find that spot.

Something for everyone

Bringing together all disciplines from within Decathlon UK – HQ through to store – Flintlock Marketing conducted Spark, Sprint and Spot workshops to listen and ask the questions that would uncover where the common thread at the heart of the UK brand lay.  

For brand cohesiveness, it was also critical that any strategy would ladder back to the French mothership brand to align with its stated global purpose: 

“To sustainably make the pleasure and benefits of sports accessible to the many”. 


We discovered that Teammates were highly motivated by this global mission, sharing these strong and open values. And, above all, that they were truly passionate about sport being for all.

It got us thinking about what was missing from the brand storytelling. Predominately product focussed, we saw there was a need to bring out the ‘why’ behind the reasons its Teammates got up to go to work. 

We interpreted this as ‘accessibility’ and concluded that, within this, the brand had three dimensions: price, range but also attitude. It was this last component that we needed to evoke to help bring the brand to life – to make it mean something. 

This connection was also evidenced in the feedback from customers and how they appreciated going into its non-judgemental environment.  To know that they could explore, find what they want, that it would work, and critically that someone encouraging and knowledgeable was on hand to talk to them. 

Open arms

So, we worked to capture and express this spirit and make it into something tangible and  relevant for the UK brand. Because the strategic outcome needed to be deliverable and consistently experienced at every touchpoint, in-store and online.  

Rather than ‘just do it’  the brand needed to be more ‘you can do it’.  So, we put a core thought at the heart of the brand and created a brand essence of: ‘Sports Warmest Welcome’.


It was welcomed. Easily understood and true for all areas of the business, we supported it with highly relevant and differentiated brand pillars with evidenced and tangible ‘reasons to believe’. 

These focussed in on empathetic service, accessible range and encouraging prices. Built into a whole, the co-created strategy also neatly aligned with the overall mission and values.

Additional workshops were held with the marketing team to onboard and embed the strategy to quickly start to truly set it apart. 

Another bite at the apple – Simplyhealth / Denplan

Let’s create a spark together