Redskins Rebrand, Led By Former WSJ Exec,Transforms Washington Football Team Image

As the Washington Football Team rebrands from the Washington Redskins, the organization has hired its first chief creative and digital officer, Will Misselbrook, from The Wall Street Journal, where he served as the global head of creative.

As part of the leadership team, Misselbrook will oversee the organization’s storytelling and brand marketing strategies, and develop content to reach fans and team sponsors. 

Misselbrook’s extensive creative career includes time with Sunshine as senior vice president, creative and managing director, Conde Nast as head of creative and branded entertainment, and Coach as senior vice president and director of global creative development. Early on, he spent time at Saatchi & Saatchi, Wieden + Kennedy, and WAX Agency.  

Search & Performance Marketing Daily caught up with Misselbrook on the second day of his new appointment to talk about the opportunity to rebrand the team from the Washington Redskins as the organization heads into 2022, and his role as chief creative and digital officer.

Search & Performance Marketing Daily:  How will you approach storytelling and brand marketing for the team this year, and what types of content would you like to see the organization produce?

Will Misselbrook:  To combat fading consumer attention spans, we need to challenge the norm. Evoking emotions to entertain, educate and inform audiences.

We will tell stories that will reignite passion with our loyal fan base but also attract new audiences. I see this as a huge opportunity for us to reshape and reimagine the content frontier by further defining our brand narrative.

With the rebrand, we’ll redefine a piece of our narrative, but remain true to certain parts of our legacy. We will also work to define the voice of the organization. We’ll connect our brand stories and organization in the context of culture.

We use creative storytelling to compliment work already done, particularly those related to the Washington Team as a modern franchise. I really want to use a variety of methods to remain a content entertainment powerhouse.

SPMD:  Is there a plan to grow the creative team?

Misselbrook:  Yes, but I can’t say much more than that.

SPMD:  Is there a plan to use data to create any of the ads?

Misselbrook:  I’m a big believer in using data to create the correct messaging and content for audiences. It gets lost many times in the advertising world.

In my prior role, it was the foundation to develop content. We used data, analytics, and metrics to inform us how they engage with the content, what’s important to them, and what stories evoke emotions.  It will become a fundamental factor for many things we’ll do.

SPMD:  What drove you into advertising and spearheading creative?

Misselbrook:  When I first got into the world of storytelling and creating films as a child, I realized that advertising is a means to tell provocative stories.

That started my career working at Wieden + Kennedy, and Saatchi & Saatchi. I honed my craft by telling stories and creating narratives. Then I moved on to work with Coach. That was an opportunity to step inside a brand to understand the heartbeat.

SPMD:  Is this something you always wanted to do?

Misselbrook:  Yes, at a very young age I loved the creative and the production process. I used VHS cameras to shoot videos to tell stories.

SPMD:  What's the best piece of business advice you've received and from whom did you receive it?

Misselbrook:  I’ve been honored to work for an amazing group of brands, agencies and media platforms with incredible visionary leaders.

All have provided great advice -- but one piece I learned through leaders who have stuck with me throughout my career is to remain curious. Don’t fall back into the expected.

Remain curious about categories, brands, landscapes, cultures and societies, which enables you to tell the stores to multiple types of audiences. It’s too easy to get lost in your own world.

SPMD:  Do you have time to get lost in fiction, and if yes, what is your favorite book and how does it relate to your career?

Misselbrook:  I lean more toward biographies and nonfiction. The last nonfiction book I read is A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life written by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman. The last fictional book that has relevance to my day job is The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. It’s a story about perseverance.

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