Skip to content
4 minute read - by Jan Van Lysebettens

A tale of two brands: crafting the BMI Leisure brand strategy

SMS Timing dominated the karting industry. Its software handled everything from lap times to waiver management—so it was perfect for karting centres.

However, the company was missing a golden opportunity.

The solution was bigger than the karting industry alone. With a few small tweaks, it could serve all types of entertainment centres: water parks, VR centres, adventure parks, bowling alleys, and more. So, what was stopping them? The SMS Timing brand.

The brand didn’t resonate beyond the niche karting sector. Therefore, the company created a fresh new brand to target all types of entertainment centres: BMI Leisure. But starting a brand is just the first step—they then needed to get it off the ground. That’s where we came in.

In this blog, we’re going to outline the step-by-step approach we took to creating and implementing BMI Leisure’s new brand strategy.

Scroll gallery

Text block

The challenge

Launching BMI Leisure was a solution that raised more questions than it answered.

For example, should the company completely phase out the well-established SMS Timing brand? Could they successfully maintain two brands simultaneously? More generally, how could they grow BMI Leisure internationally?

The company’s future rested on these vital branding decisions. Each route carried its own risks and rewards, and there was no room for error. They quickly realised they needed to consult brand strategy experts.

That's where we came in.

Through the eyes of the customers

We knew that making the right decision would take time, effort, and careful thought. Most importantly, it would require a collaborative approach between our brand strategy experts and their team.

To get started, we set up a series of collaborative workshops with senior decision-makers and members from the Sales and Customer Success departments. These team members had the most direct experience with customers, meaning they had the richest insights into their expectations.

We went one step further and also arranged interviews with a range of the company’s existing clients. This allowed us to understand what they thought of the SMS Timing and BMI Leisure brands, and what in their eyes set these brands apart from the competition.

Scroll gallery

Text block

The strategy unfolds

We focused on three foundational pillars throughout our workshops: audience, values, and architecture. These are the critical elements that support a brand—so they’re essential ingredients when creating a brand strategy.

Let’s dig into what each pillar means in more detail.

1. Audience: knowing who you speak to

You can’t engage an audience that you don’t understand. Therefore, creating detailed buyer personas and mapping their customer journeys is a vital first step in any brand strategy exercise.

We coined persona names like "Karting Kurt" and "Venue Vanessa" to get into the minds of BMI Leisure’s audience. These personas weren't just playful names—they became mental models that helped us drill into the psyche of potential clients.

This allowed us to look at the company’s rebranding and positioning from the customers' point of view. For example, we could visualise how they would experience each touchpoint throughout the marketing funnel.

Armed with this deep understanding of each persona’s behaviours and needs, we had the raw material to sculpt a winning brand strategy.

2. Values: building your brand’s core

Brand values aren't just fancy buzzwords—they're the core beliefs that guide a brand's actions and decisions. They set the tone for how a brand interacts with its audience and differentiates itself in the market.

Now, juggling two distinct brands under one umbrella—like we had with SMS Timing and BMI Leisure—is particularly challenging. How could we establish separate identities while still keeping an overall sense of balance?

Our solution was to run a series of co-creative exercises aimed at distilling each brand’s unique values. We dug deep to uncover the subtle differences and nuances that set SMS Timing and BMI Leisure apart.

The goal was to break free of the existing brand architecture and zero in on how each brand wanted to be perceived by their respective audiences. These exercises revealed a unique set of values for both SMS Timing and BMI Leisure, paving the way for each brand's path forward.

3. Architecture: structuring your brand universe

Finally, we needed to put everything together under a unified brand architecture. We explored several different options, from a 'house of brands' (separate brands under one umbrella) to a 'branded house’ (sub-brands that all contribute to a larger, overall brand).

For each option, we assessed the pros and cons at an operational, strategic, and emotional level. We also provided clear examples to demonstrate what the different architectures might look like.

This deep dive gave us a clear view of how BMI Leisure should be positioned in relation to SMS Timing—or if it should stand alone.

Taking the plunge

Ultimately, strategy isn’t about achieving perfection—it's about putting yourself in a position to make well-informed choices. Our comprehensive analysis offered a roadmap, but it was up to the CEO to make the final call.

Their decision? To discontinue the well-known but somewhat confusing SMS Timing brand and fully commit to BMI Leisure.

This means we had to devise a flexible colour system catering to the diverse industries that BMI Leisure serves. The goal was to offer 'flavours' of the main brand, but each tailored to different sectors. It’s like having various departments in a store but with a consistent look and feel.

The next steps: execution

Creating a brand strategy, name, and architecture is just the first step. Then, you have to execute the strategy and create the brand elements: designing the logo, crafting the brand book, and rolling out the marketing plan.

In other words, take the brand from a strategy document to a living, breathing entity.

Want to find out more about how we did this? Check out our BMI Leisure case study to dig into the details.

Get in touch

Ready for a new brand identity?


Creative Lead

Jan Van Lysebettens

Jan is an experienced senior designer and developer who’s really passionate about creating beautiful designs and turning them into fully functional digital experiences. He combines a strong sense for aesthetics with an analytical approach to turn a client’s vision into meaningful digital products.