The Matildas Brand: Doing It Their Way

Creative design agency Hulsbosch has worked closely over a number of years with Football Australia. Now, with a month out from FIFA Womens World Cup 2023, the agency’s client strategy director, Carolyn Pitt, talks on how the women’s team’s built one of the biggest brands in the land.

The countdown is on for the commencement of the quadrennial 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Hosted in Australia and New Zealand for the first time, this historic moment will shine a spotlight on women’s football in Australia and globally.

With the Matildas’ return to the top 10 of the FIFA Women’s World Ranking, the hopes of Australia to lift the coveted trophy in the world’s biggest game have never been higher.

For sporting teams, it can be about the win and nothing more. For the Matildas, it’s about creating a place in Australia’s cultural landscape that endures and reaches beyond the ups and downs of professional sport.

Branding for ‘Women in Sport’ has traditionally meant leaning into the theme of ‘women;’ what they’re doing to further the cause of female empowerment, for women’s rights and for the female take on a game.

But the Matildas are more than that.

To create a brand positioning and identity we needed to discover the truth of a singular Matilda brand. They were not only bringing the world to Australia like no other team but bringing diverse communities together through football.

Looking beyond that they’re a women’s team, we built an identity to promote the Matildas as world-class athletes, with a world-class brand on the world stage.
Further we considered the Matildas, like the Socceroos, as being part of a wider, united, Football brand in Australia.

The Socceroos and Matildas, though differing in personality, share the same distinctive characteristics. While the teams do, and should, have different stories to tell, both are Australia’s National Teams representing the country.

Building a sports brand in the first place needs to come from discovery within – understanding the players and crafting a brand that truly represents the team but also can live beyond any one player. A culture that persists.

It’s in fact this delicate balance of the individual vs the team that makes the Matildas the brand they are. A fierce team, where the individual brilliance and authenticity of each of the players shines, both on and off the field.

From Mary Fowler to Lydia Williams to Claire Polkinghorne (and it would be impossible to talk about the Matildas without mentioning Sam Kerr), it’s the brilliant individuals that capture the imagination, particularly for young fans, and maintains the Matildas brand.

It’s inspirational to know the Matildas and to see them as a team, a hard-working group, where each member contributes to that team story. This powerful sense of team paves the way for the code of football to progress and be heralded first and foremost.

Tellingly, today the strength of the Matildas brand cannot be denied: currently ranked as Australia’s fourth most popular team, their popularity is likely only to grow significantly with the onset of the World Cup football event.

This is a case of brand building for success but also, its brand building for the nation. With Australia’s national colours on their jersey, the Matildas represent all of us, rising to every challenge and performing at the highest level in the field of sports.

Australians can feel passionate and proud, and I hope can take the time to support the Matildas as they look to a once in a lifetime opportunity to realise a truly meaningful legacy for football, the community, and our country beyond the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.