New Balance Athletics, Inc., one of the world’s leading athletic footwear and fitness apparel manufacturers and retailers, planned to build a new, state-of-the-art corporate headquarters in Boston. As plans for the new headquarters took shape, a lobby exhibit design that would showcase New Balance’s heritage, culture, brands and products was envisioned. New Balance wanted more than just a museum display though, they wanted a Visitor Engagement Center.
New Balance reached out to The History Factory and conversations quickly uncovered that, in addition to the need for the Visitor Engagement Center, the company could benefit from an improved corporate archives program. With more than 100 years of history—and a broad range of internal constituencies who required better access to archival information and materials—the upcoming move to a new headquarters created an ideal call to action for improving New Balance’s archiving efforts.
The History Factory worked with New Balance to develop and implement a multi-pronged, multi-phased engagement to create both a Visitor Engagement Center and an archives program. Key components of the engagement included:
- Interviews and working sessions with New Balance’s leadership and stakeholders to define success and uncover critical insights
- Storyline development utilizing The History Factory’s StoryARC® methodology to outline core stories aligned with goals, audiences and messages
- Message mapping and conceptual design development for the Visitor Engagement Center
- Archival assessment work and the development of an archival pilot project
- Archival policies and procedures to develop an acquisition policy for ongoing collection
- An internal communication campaign utilizing The History Factory’s Discovery Program™ toolkit to enable New Balance associates to identify archives-worthy materials
- Extensive research and acquisition of archival materials from external resources and repositories
- Museum-quality exhibit design and production in the Visitor Engagement Center featuring hundreds of images, artifacts, narratives and interactive elements
- Launch of a web-based New Balance archives platform to complement the physical storage of archival materials
New Balance’s new global headquarters has received glowing media reviews, with coverage highlighting the Visitor Engagement Center. New Balance also has enduring, evergreen storylines with supporting content that can be repurposed and used for a broad range of marketing and communications applications. Our archival services helped capture, preserve and enable access to thousands of valuable assets from when New Balance’s brand was established in 1906 to the present day.
New Balance also now has an archival infrastructure in place to ensure that new materials are properly captured, preserved and cataloged as the company continues to grow and make history.