Shubhangi Mehta
Apr 09, 2013

‘We are going back to our roots and sharpening our focus on fitness’

Q&A with Steve McPherson, brand director, Reebok Asia Pacific GTM hub and Reebok India

‘We are going back to our roots and sharpening our focus on fitness’

Post the shake up at the top management level, what is way forward for Reebok in India?

We are focused on growing our business in the coming years and moving on from whatever happened in the past. 2013 is a brand new start and we are approaching a very healthy and positive future. Reebok’s objective is to excite consumers through innovative products, clutter breaking marketing and by injecting new life into our retail environment.

Tell us about Reebok’s current positioning…

Recognising the rush in the fitness awareness across the globe, we are going back to our roots and sharpening out focus on fitness. We aim to address all the fitness needs of our consumers by providing them with the right kind of apparel and footwear, be it training, running, dance, yoga or aerobics. We have launched an integrated marketing campaign ‘Live with Fire’. With this campaign, Reebok shows how living an active lifestyle can inspire people to live their lives with passion, intent and purpose. This year our main objective is to excite consumers through excellent products, redefined retail and a strong marketing tale.

This repositioning is a conscious shift owing to the spike in the consumer awareness and need to live a fit and healthy life. For Reebok, this global repositioning is simply an extension further into the fitness space. The Indian fitness story also provides us with an opportunity.

What are the changes in the business model of Reebok in India alongside the repositioning?

Yes, there has been a change in the business model for Reebok. We started this change with cutting our retail base down by a third. This change was necessary to move the business into a profitable and growth phase.

Furthermore, earlier we were predominantly a sports brand, sporting a fun with fitness attitude. Now we have sharpened our positioning and moved into the fitness zone in a bigger and more exciting way.

What is the total market share of Reebok in India? How much of it is shoes?

Unfortunately, we are not in a position to share numbers about the market share of Reebok. However, as a group we maintain a market share of roughly 70 per cent.

What are the various marketing initiatives/promotional activities lined up?

Reebok started the year with a new marketing campaign which has taken innovation with initiatives packed across all media tools ranging from TV, out of home, to digital media and events. We have launched the ‘Live with Fire’ campaign through the vehicle of our training footwear, RealFlex Transition 2.0. In the OOH space we are cutting through the clutter with Real Flex 2.0 moving cut outs. In order to keep the global messaging relevant to our Indian consumers, MS Dhoni is an integral part of our OOH, retail and digital media. On social media, we are launching the application ‘Ignite The Fitness Fire’ in an effort to inspire our consumers to move out of their comfort zone and towards a fitter and healthier lifestyle.

Our TVC went on air on 15 March across India. We are looking at placements across top shows and integrations with the best movies and music channels. Beyond RealFlex, we also aim at pushing all categories of fitness at the grass root level through associations with gyms like Fitness First and Sport Fit by MS Dhoni.

For IPL, we are promoting our sponsored teams Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders driven by a strong BTL and digital campaign.

In the second half of 2013, we are also looking forward to a tie up to further reach out to fitness enthusiasts and influencers through the medium of Bollywood.

What kind of growth potential do you foresee going forward?

The sports and fitness industry is bound to grow multifold in India in the coming years, with the fitness industry alone expected to grow at 30 per cent annually. At present, there is a good deal of passive participation through the hordes of spectators in sports like cricket and soccer in India. Along with this, over the past decade, the fitness consciousness has also doubled. Through focus group discussions conducted across Delhi and Bangalore recently, (we found that) the key drivers of fitness for Indian consumers are increased stamina, inner well-being, building body strength, weight control and the quest to look younger. Keeping all this in mind, it’s an exciting time in the sports and fitness industry and we’re quite kicked to be a part of this huge change among the consumers.

Campaign India

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