Footwear, Fashion and Fierce Competition

Rebecca Lidbury, Account Manager

Having been born from the world of sport, brands such as Adidas and Nike have expanded into the lifestyle sector – creating not only products for performance (their roots), but reviving classic items purely because they look nice.

I wouldn’t dare rocking my Nike Air Max 1 Anniversary Aquas in the gym, yet these were once created as a running shoe. Call me crazy, but there are others out there who share this opinion (at least 40% of the Cake office).

This mentality change in consumers has shifted these iconic brands away from the world of sport, giving them new audiences through the likes of entertainment, music and lifestyle. With so many options out there, what tools are these brands using to build an emotional connection with their customers, keep them coming back, and ultimately, drive sales?

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Brand ambassadors seem such an obvious one, and with new areas to play in entertainment and lifestyle, it seems a no brainer. We see this not only through brand collaborations, with Yeezy and Adidas arguably dominating the game, but through campaign partnerships. Notable examples include two of the biggest UK-based artists of 2017; Dua Lipa with Footlocker and Stormzy with Adidas, driving a brand connection through their celebrity status.

At the same time, insights tell us high street sales are slowing down, which comes as no surprise – so what are brands doing to try and engage with people online and out of store? One way is utilising YouTube, building narrative through content and engaging with customers through their passion points.

Using Size? as an example, last year they introduced Size? Sessions; a content series showcasing performances from up-and-coming artists. The performances were held live from Size? stores, driving the brand’s affiliation with music and creating conversations with their customers.

I could easily talk about this all day, but one area I’m personally excited about is technology. From world-first Snapchat filters from Foot Locker, to innovative new materials, the way brands are thinking outside of the box and using technology to gain cut-through is always evolving.

With this in mind, I couldn’t not talk about Adidas’ new launch with BVG, Berlin’s city transport company. When I first read the story, I thought Adidas had embedded technology into the tongue of the shoe, which doubled as a virtual ticket (super smart) – but on closer expectation, the ticket is just sewn into the shoe. Safe to say it feels like they missed a trick. However what’s saying that one day this technology is available, and weaving it into our trainers becomes the norm?

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It ultimately comes down to one thing – driving sales. And whether that’s creating a story through content, signing the next big thing as an ambassador, or using tech to shake up the game, these are all examples of how brands are battling against each other to stay front of mind, and keep their customers coming back.

 

By Rebecca Lidbury, Account Manager