Golf is one of Japan’s most popular pastimes. Young Japanese golfers compete credibly in world tours, among them a new generation of world-class female players. For the last half century, Japan Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association (JLPGA) has promoted the women’s game in the country.
In Japan, there is a perception that golf is played only by old people. Like elsewhere, it struggles against an association with affluent executives that doesn’t match the reality of the women’s game. Moreover, for all its legacy, JLPGA had failed to meet customer expectations in the age of online broadcasting. Its brand image was stale, and it no longer delivered the excitement that fans expect. We needed to reinvigorate the sport and attract new talent.
We needed JLPGA to be professional, memorable, and a source of pride. We also needed it to be instantly recognizable as “golf.” To achieve these things, we rediscovered what made JLPGA unique: that it pioneered and enlightened women’s culture in Japan.
We began with a mission statement “Driving Brighter Green.” This crystallized JLPGA’s positive leadership and softened the organization from authoritative to welcoming, positioning it as one that values interaction and embraces the new.
JLPGA’s existing visuals were flat and unattractive. We kept the basic form of its logo to maintain continuity, but updated the pose to a moment of confidence and power. We created a graphical system to suggest friendliness and inclusivity.
After our update, commerce brand Rakuten threw its weight behind the initiative, sponsoring the JLPGA tournament and contributing 80 million yen (700,000 USD) in prize money. The official Instagram account has seen followers increase from 90k to 130k.
We gave JLPGA a new look and purpose, and Japan a whole new way of experiencing the game.