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— LUSU Sports —

Learning United, Sports Unlimited

The concept was simple - ensure activity and sport is fully inclusive. But the challenge was vast. The Engine Room helped bring this very special start-up - and vision - to life, to enrich the educational and sporting environment for people with disabilities.

The Challenge

When Sue Morrison first approached The Engine Room, her passion was clear. Having coached young people in sport, leisure and multi-activity skills for over 25 years, she demonstrated a genuine commitment to finding unique ways for everyone to enjoy being active. With a wealth of experience – not to mention connections throughout the country – she was therefore well-placed to help change the attitudes, techniques and skills of teachers and coaches.

Why shouldn’t sport be fully inclusive, regardless of disability?

Sue’s mission was already underway when conversations first began. She had developed a range of educational products that – unlike so many pieces of readily-available equipment – are tactile, stimulating and safe for children with disabilities, impairments and learning difficulties to use. She had designed a complementary range of structured and intelligent activity cards, to help teachers – without any specialist training – to effectively engage all young people through activity. And she had begun to work closely with fellow coach Louise Assioun, whose technical understanding of inclusive sport has seen her manage a sports education centre for many years.

What was missing, was the brand.

Having had her fingers burned before, Sue was keen to protect her intellectual property. We knew she needed to lead – and own – this space. That way, the brand could not be stolen.

The Difference

As with any project, this story began with us immersing ourselves in the client’s industry. We had to understand everything from the challenges facing teachers and coaches, to the appropriate language and the existence of any market gaps.

We therefore kicked off with an in-depth workshop, where we delved into the knowledge of these two passionate coaches and unpicked the detail behind their vision. We observed a day of their educational sessions to better understand how their products were used and we conducted our own wider research into this complex space.

“The Engine Room asked such seemingly simple questions, during their time with us. But the more time they spent with us, the more I realised how equally passionate they were about our venture. They were soaking up more and more of our world, with a level of patience you just don’t expect from an external party. I was blown away.”

Sue Morrison, LUSU founder

It soon became clear that the duo could add so much wider value to the sporting environment. Their concept was not just a bag of activity cards and equipment. Their brand proposition was about products, training and consultancy.

The Engine Room team therefore mapped out a complete strategic remodelling of the business, changing the direction from a tactical product offering to a highly credible solution for the market.

Louise and Sue were introduced to a product design consultant, who helped refine the products and equipment that had already started to take shape.

Meanwhile we were concentrating on the brand. LUSU was born – a seemingly striking play on the founders’ two names, with an even more meaningful undertone. Learning United, Sports Unlimited. A vibrant, approachable and friendly identity evolved, which was rolled out across everything including the products, website, photography and branded clothing. As such a visually rich project, the objective was to keep things engaging and consistent yet simple, enabling Louise, Sue and the people they coach, to educate with ease.

“Louise and Sue shone from the minute we met them. It was crucial that the brand could do justice to their pioneering work.”

Lesley Gulliver, managing director, The Engine Room

The Results

The Engine Room provided LUSU with all of the tools and assets they now need to grow the brand – and the business – themselves, a vital approach for start-up ventures with limited resources.

Only a matter of months later, the team has:

  • Led a two-day visually impaired tennis camp at Northumberland Tennis Club
  • Delivered training for the Seashell Trust in Cheshire
  • Travelled to Spain as the coach for the GB visually impaired tennis team
  • Delivered an inclusive tennis festival for the Stockport Schools Sports Partnership.

Talks are also underway with various education authorities and the Tennis Foundation.

“A fresh perspective, practical thinking and creative genius means we now have a language, visual system and platform from which to evolve our organisation. We perhaps didn’t previously appreciate the strategic impact of such a branding exercise, but the minute we saw their proposition, we loved it. We’ve been empowered by this project and the potential for us to thrive in this complex sector, is now unrivalled.

“We’re having conversations and meetings that would not be possible, without this gravitas behind us. Talk to us again in another six months’ time – the changes will be phenomenal once more!”

Louise Assioun, LUSU founder