UNITED DSN
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SOG
Knives & Tools


Securing global consumer recognition. For a proven authority in tactical gear.

SOG, an undisputed authority in tactical knives and tools, aimed to triple its revenue globally within 5 years.

To do so meant elevating the brand in the minds of consumers to that of its rightful position: best-in-class, and the number one choice at retail.

Therefore our brief was to build SOG’s branded story, shape it through every consumer touchpoint, and ultimately deliver an engaging brand experience able to be more competitive. However, category competition was fierce. To meet their ambitious objectives, only the highest level of brand storytelling and design would provide the platform required.

A 5-year strategic plan, supported by investment group backing, had identified category leadership globally as SOG’s number-one goal. Our role was to provide the branded consumer face needed to make this vision a reality.

Lacking the depth of story and high-quality branded assets required, United was appointed to drive the brand marketing side of the business forward. Given the fiercely contended nature of the category, this meant delivering something both authentic and entirely unique.

 
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Lawrence Haggerty / Partner
lawrence@uniteddsn.com
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“Field-tested & proven, developed & used by U.S. Navy Seals, SOG is one of the undisputed authorities in military tactical knives & tools. Despite their product quality and real-world reputation, the brand didn’t have the presence and consumer awareness required.

United changed all that by applying our deep dive process to reveal what SOG really stood for inside and out, we were able to create an ownable brand tonality and retail presence capable of supporting their investor-backed plan, delivering on global sales.”
 
Lawrence Haggerty / Partner

 

SOG’s competitors were investing heavily in clear and engaging brand stories, supported by high-quality packaging and associated collateral, underpinned by aspirational imagery and clear, powerful technical information. This not only motivated consumers to buy, but enabled them to understand (and believe in) the performance capabilities of their chosen purchase. Because of the impact this was creating at retail level, SOG’s competitors were stealing market share.

To understand these conditions more precisely, we performed a thorough deep dive audit of the marketplace, including store visits, retailer and consumer conversations, product research, and competitor and industry analysis. This activity was further supported by an immersion phase at SOG’s headquarters during which we spent time with every key employee, up and down the company. This enabled us to ensure we understood SOG’s true brand equity precisely and exactly how to leverage it.

 

Brand
Articulation

 
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True authenticity… inside & out

SOG’s heritage couldn’t be any more authentic. This was a business that wanted and deserved to be recognised for its product quality, history and grit & balls culture.

We discovered that SOG’s story began in Vietnam, where members of the highly classified U.S. Studies and Observations Group had carried a unique, purpose-designed combat knife into the jungle on covert missions. Many years later, the founder, owner and designer, Spencer Frazer, established SOG Speciality Knives. His mission: to reproduce the original SOG Bowie knife and pay tribute to the special ops unit that created it. What began as a single commemorative model soon became a full line of innovative tools—field-proven by US Special Forces, even honored as the Navy SEAL knife of choice.

Very little of this backstory was being told, but it showed us that SOG was an organisation that deserved its own portion of the market and, if presented correctly, one with which no-one else could legitimately compete. Through this, we could see the opportunity SOG needed.

Owning their products meant something truly special, representing exactly what the owner stood for and who they really were.

 

Audience
Engagement

 
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Forging the story.

Drawing upon what we had learned, we embarked on a company-wide rebrand, changing the face of the business and everything associated with it.

Driven by their unique story, we created a new positioning for SOG, providing the platform from which everything else springs, binding everyone together: SOG personnel, retailers, professionals and consumers alike.

This positioning was then delivered through every channel required, from advertising, to merchandising, to packaging, to social & digital and everything in between.


Through this, we were able to ensure SOG had the most prominent and distinct on-shelf presence in the category, meeting several of their key commercial objectives, such as being re-listed in major retailers, including REI and Walmart, generating over $12 million in sales.

Ultimately, we gave SOG the identity and presence it deserved: that of the true authority in military & tactical knives & tools, paving the way for their desired status of global leader within the category.


 
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SOG
Knives & Tools
/ Baton Multi-tools


Taking a design-futurist approach to branding and packaging for the next generation of multitools

To create a more accessible Multi-Tool family, designed to compliment the lifestyles and aesthetics of a modern, generalist user, SOG created the Q Series. Bringing together the functionality of traditional, high-quality tools and a modernist design aesthetic more related to cutting edge technology, the Q Series represents the next evolutionary step in everyday carry Multi-Tools.

United focused on creating an elevated brand presentation for the Q Series that effectively communicated the sleek, minimalist design, outstanding product quality and the new direction that this family of Multi-Tools represented.

The SOG brand is known for it’s extensive tactical knife and gear product portfolio. To enable them to reach a much wider audience, United developed the contemporary packaging ensuring that it was as at home in the Knife section of a Cabela’s or on the shelves of an Apple store.

 

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