Francisco Lindor’s personality a part of the creative process at New Balance. How does he influence the brand?
Francisco Lindor is an athlete with a bold, charismatic personality, and a style to match it, there’s no denying that. Yet in a sport like baseball, where there is limited opportunity for self-expression on the field, it can be hard for fans to see that side of a player.
The New York Mets’ superstar shortstop now has the opportunity to show off his creative vision with his newly released New Balance signature collection.
“I hope everybody will feel inspired to boldly express themselves when they see the ‘Lindor 1’ and this collection.” Lindor explained during his press conference with New Balance earlier this year.
Pat Cassidy, New Balance’s Global Director of Consumer Brand Marketing and Athlete Activation, voiced the importance of partnerships rather than sponsorships being critical to the company’s relationships with its global ambassadors.
“Baseball is a lot of fun, and like every other sport, it has its own culture attached to it,” Cassidy said. “Entire industries have been launched on the culture related to basketball and global football, but baseball is really no different, just like every other sport it has its own changing style, language, and trends and that’s where we [New Balance] like to be and we partner with athletes in this way who are right in the middle of that.”
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Major League Baseball has a rather strict approach to the way that they allow their athletes to express themselves really only allowing personalization to cleats, gloves, and elbow guards, and even then they must follow certain guidelines.
Partnerships like these give players a platform to help amplify and support their voice to fans and other athletes alike in an environment where opportunities are restricted.
“Clearly Francisco Lindor has this vibrant personality that’s a magnet for fans, other players, media, whatever it is, we’re so happy to be part of that and we’ll do anything we can to amplify that and really put that personality in front of the world.”
According to Cassidy, New Balance envisions their partnerships to be a co-authored approach; they want athlete partners to be as engaged and ingrained in the process as thee brand. Cassidy noted that players like Lindor will never get directions saying “here’s the plan, here’s what you’re doing”.
Instead, the relationship is a conversation, starting with some baseline ideas with the goal of talking through the process that ultimately leads to the athlete making the the call what they want to do and how they want to bring those ideas to life.
Anything that comes out of a New Balance partnership with an athlete like Lindor has the athlete’s fingerprints, ideas and voice all over it.
Due to there not being a large canvas for customization in the MLB uniform, it can be difficult for players to embody their persona on the field. Yet where they can is through footwear and other pieces.
Cassidy explained that he did not want to speak for the design team because that’s their story to tell, but Lindor was highly engaged, involved and creative in the development process. According to Cassidy, Lindor could probably be a full time footwear or apparel designer if he wanted to be.
“For someone to not only transcend the field of play as well as the lifestyle and culture directly associated with baseball and the lifestyle and culture that emanates from it, it has to be someone who’s genuine, and that’s him.”
When asked about what makes a collection like Lindor’s successful, Cassidy confidently said the personality of the individual athlete is critical. To have the kind of input in a product that comes with a signature collection like this doesn’t work with everybody.
Lindor’s collection is genuine and authentic to him and his vision, for what he wants it to be from the beginning, and that’s one of the major components that play into a successful partnership.
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Incorporating Lindor’s proud Puerto Rican heritage has been an important element of the design process. Lindor is the first Puerto Rican to have a signature shoe, and he wanted his pride in his home to be part of the new line.
When looking at “The Lindor 1” collection, the footwear offering includes a classic baseball cleat in two colors as well as a lifestyle silhouette available in three colorways. All of the footwear features a striking floral pattern that runs across the front vamp that is inspired by the Flor de Maga, the official national flower of Puerto Rico.
The collection also includes two of Lindor’s own mantras, which are “Be Consistent” and “Stay Positive” on the tongues of the shoes.
Bridging the gap between fashion and functionality in the world of baseball, Lindor crosses over into the world of lifestyle and fashion, a feat that not many athletes have been able to accomplish victoriously.