Asics Marketing-- Strategic Planning Proposal Project


Published on

This PowerPoint was created as part of an application for a potential job position. Using Asics (Athletic shoe and apparel brand) as an example client, I drafted a strategic planning proposal using industry research, key trends, and consumer insights.

Published in: Marketing

Asics Marketing-- Strategic Planning Proposal Project

  2. 2. OUTLINE The Asics Brand 3-5 Brand Positioning | The Opportunity 6-7 Current Trends 8-11 Consumer Insights 12-15 Trends Revisited 16-17 The Proposal 18-22 Appendices & Resources 23-26 2
  3. 3. THE ASICS BRAND The ASICS Mission | The Details 3
  4. 4. The ASICS MISSION • ASICS, an acronym derived from the Latin phrase, Anima Sana In Corpore Sano - a sound mind in a sound body. Staying true to the philosophy by which it was founded, every ASICS innovation, every concept, every idea is intended to create the best product. Our mission is to become the number one brand for the sports enthusiast. To accomplish this, we pledge to continue to make the best product; striving to build upon our technological advances and pushing the limits on what we can learn from the body and its needs in athletic gear. We pledge to bring harmony to the body and soul. 4
  5. 5. THE DETAILS INCOME BREAKDOWN • 66% sport shoes • 24% sportswear • 10% sports equipment GLOBAL SALES • 49% Japan • 28% North America • 19% Europe “In recent years their running shoes have often been ranked among the top performance footwear in the market.” THE RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF SPORTS SCIENCE • Located in Kobe, Japan • 45,000+ sq. feet of research facilities • Overall Goal: To enable professional and recreational athletes to perform better, to reach a higher level, and to enjoy themselves. 5
  6. 6. Performance Footwear High Price Low Price Casual Footwear *This chart is an estimate designed by me using brand research and consumer 6 opinion.
  7. 7. Performance Footwear Low Price A mid-price range shoe that is performancedriven with a casual design: fun AND functional. Casual Footwear High Price *This chart is an estimate designed by me using brand research and consumer 7 opinion.
  8. 8. CURRENT TRENDS Neon Colors | Minimalism | “Design Your Own” 8
  9. 9. NEON COLORS 9
  11. 11. “DESIGN YOUR OWN” SHOES 11
  12. 12. CONSUMER INSIGHT The Multi-Purpose Sneaker | Aspirational Athlete | Innovative Customization 12
  13. 13. The Multi-Purpose Sneaker Over the past few decades, sneakers or trainers -- once made only for athletes -- have become musthave accessories for style-conscious people both in Japan and overseas, because they are versatile enough to mix with casual, sporty or even formal clothing. -Eriko Arita in Japan Times Athletic and non-athletic footwear are witnessing category-blurring trends. For instance, sports footwear is incorporating more fashion elements, such as colors and seasonality, and is also extending its ability to be worn as street wear post-workout. Versatility and multi-functionality remained important to budgetminded consumers, and they preferred products which could be worn on multiple occasions. - “Footwear in the US: Trends” Euromonitor Most consumers aren’t shopping for specialized shoes, they want a versatile sneaker to wear on multiple occasions. “We're seeing sports products invading the fashion world more and more. The two aren't separable, the way they used to be; you see guys wearing suits and sneakers, and if you do it right you can pull it off. I think that'll continue to grow in 2014.” - James Carnes, shoe designer, in Men’s Fitness Magazine- Sept. 2013 13
  14. 14. The Aspirational Athlete “The footwear industry has been in an athletic cycle for a little more than two years now. It doesn't hurt that it's an Olympic year*, [which] usually has an impact on people thinking about being more active.” -Rick Ausick, Famous Footwear President "The people going to brick-and-mortar tend to be the people at the last third of the race, the beginning athlete who needs a lot of guidance. They might have heard about this FiveFingers thing and they might buy a pair. And maybe they'll do as recommended and start off walking around or hiking in them, and go, 'Wow, this is a lot of work and kind of painful, versus my [ASICS] Nimbus, which are really comfortable and plush and they look good and I can go out afterward in them.' There's always going to be a place for traditional shoes that are soft and comfortable and look good.“ -Joe Rubio, a partner in the online running store Many sneaker consumers are not highly active people. Their sneaker purchase is either a realized or idealized desire to become more active. *Article printed in 2012 14
  15. 15. Innovative Customization It's difficult to see how the great running insight "We're all an experiment of one" can be matched with modern industry's penchant for flowcharts and categorization. Athletic shoes are all about finding “the perfect fit”—which can’t be determined by one standalone measurement. Companies need to explore innovative ways to measure and test shoe compatibility. The issue lies in systematizing [customized shoes] in a way that can lead to mass production in Asian factories and helpful guidance in American stores, all at prices runners are accustomed to. And, notes Steve Magness (formerly an assistant coach with the Nike Oregon Project and holder of a master's degree in exercise sciences), even if this X-factor could be isolated, it will be hard to keep its value in perspective. "There's going to be this shift of, well, maybe we can measure this other new thing really well, so let's make everything entirely based on that. "The reality is, what people need in a running shoe is probably from some crazy combination of foot mechanics and pronation and muscle activity and structure," Magness says. "It's hard to tease out all these things and say, 'All right, here's the perfect combination.'“ Excerpted from The Runner's World Complete Guide to 15 Minimalism and Barefoot Running.
  16. 16. TRENDS REVISITED Which Trends are Worth Adopting? 16
  17. 17. Trends Revisited + NEON COLORS: Bright/ Neon Colors are a long-term trend worth adopting. “The brightly colored shoes are some of [Famous Footwear’s] bestselling products. I've been in the athletic shoe business for about 25 years now, and there's more color than there's ever been. You'll see it on 6-year-olds, and you'll see it on 60-year-olds.” - Jason Short, Famous Footwear's VP of Merchandising - THE MINIMALIST SHOE: The minimalist shoe is a dying niche market. "I think we may have reached the end of people's infatuation with them," says Peter Larson, author of the popular minimalist shoe blog, about the FiveFingers. "The fit is so hard to get right. The toe pockets, you either love those or hate those when you run in them. I think a lot of them are sitting in people's closets.“ • • About 70 percent of sales within the minimalist category go to one shoe, the Nike Free, most of which aren't worn for running. Minimalist shoes account for about 11 percent of the U.S. running-shoe market. Remove the Nike Free from consideration, and sales of the remaining minimalist models constitute about 4 percent of the U.S. market. See Appendices A & B for more supporting research +/- DESIGN YOUR OWN SHOES: The average consumer is only qualified to choose colors. Consumers desire customization but lack the expertise needed to make category choices other than shoe color. Online consumers are typically more informed on what they are looking for, but the bricks-and-motor shopper needs more personal attention and direction on selecting a customized shoe. 17
  18. 18. THE PROPOSAL Recommended Strategies & Ideas 18
  19. 19. The Proposal DON’T develop a niche minimalist shoe that seeks to match an unprofitable fad. DON’T focus production on “street style” apparel in the US. > Sportswear only accounts for 24% of ASICS income. > Branded athletic “street style” in the US is only desirable by well-known apparel brands. Stay true to your overall goal of “enabling professional and recreational athletes to perform better, to reach a higher level, and to enjoy themselves,” while capitalizing on the casual athlete who needs guidance in athletic shoe shopping. Expose your innovative testing methods used at the Kobe Research Institute in the retail stores. Develop new ways to fit customers to their ideal multi-purpose athletic shoe. Then allow customers to experience the product—to put it to the test at a miniature testing facility located within the bricks-and-mortar store, with the help of a “Perfect Fit Specialist”. 19
  20. 20. These flow-charts, diagrams, and infographics are all designed to help you find the perfect running shoe. 20
  21. 21. I shouldn’t need a flow-chart to pick the perfect athletic shoe… because I have the help of an ASICS Perfect Fit Associate. 21
  22. 22. I shouldn’t need a flow-chart to pick the perfect athletic shoe… because I have the help of an ASICS Perfect Fit Associate. And I’m being fitted for shoes using science technologies developed at the Kobe Research Institute. 22
  23. 23. APPENDICES & RESOURCES Additional Data and Resource Information 23
  24. 24. APPENDIX A A chart visualizing the infiltration of the barefoot/minimalist shoe market. Published by 24
  25. 25. APPENDIX B movement a long-term trend or short-term fad?” “Is the barefoot/minimalist Short-Term Fad Long-Term Trend • • Many dedicated runners have embraced the concept quickly, and certainly the broader marketplace for running shoes has made lightweight running their top choice for casual athletic footwear this year. Does that mean it is here to stay? I believe so, in a significant way. As a consumer, it is difficult to go back to restrictive, heavy, clunky athletic shoes after experiencing lightweight, minimal shoes. For me, it's like déjà vu all over again. I remember being in high school and buying my first pair of "real" running shoes. Since then running shoes have been my overwhelming choice to wear casually (as well as when I run) and even when I play other sports. • I think it is long-term. It's partially based on looks but people are also into the benefits to the physical body from the shoes themselves. Once in a while the market comes up with something innovative that will stay around for a while. These shoes are one of them. • I wouldn't call this a trend or a fad; it's an expansion of the current lineup of footwear options available to runners. Minimalist running is something that works for some, but not all; just like stability shoes make sense for some but not all. The addition of minimalist options to existing product lines is helping to create a world where more consumers can find the running shoe that best fits and works for them. • • • While there are benefits to barefoot/minimal products in training, I still see it as a supplement to the everyday training shoe. More people are running for fun and for the social aspect of training with the goal of living a healthier lifestyle. The reality is that most of these people don't run every day. As an industry, I see the minimal category starting to swing back toward a shoe with more substance, but having implemented characteristics from some of the minimal shoes. – TED KUSHION, MERCHANDISE MANAGER, FOOTWEAR, GAZELLE SPORTS Innovation and natural motion are surely part of a longerterm trend, while minimalism will undoubtedly soften at some point as the consumer confronts the performance and versatility limits of these products… From a performance perspective, elite outdoor athletes are not winning the big races in minimalist shoes (while they are in oversize shoes) and any shoe that requires both an instruction manual and a training regimen has some obvious versatility limits. – TOM BERRY, VP SALES, MARKETING & MERCHANDISING, TECNICA SPA I can say that there is a place for minimalist footwear in many runners' "bag of training tools." But -and it's a big but -- for many runners, there are limits to how much it should be used without, in fact, increasing the risk of injury. – CHARLIE HOOVER, SHOE TECH CONSULTANT & FORMER PHIDIPPIDES ENCINO OWNER I don't think it will be a long-term trend. Many vendors will dabble in this but in the end few will stick it out. There will also be people who want these types of shoes but most will try it and go back to a more supportive, cushioned shoe – JERICKSOBIE, BOARD CERTIFIED PEDORTHIST, FOOT SOLUTIONS – – – FRAN ALLEN, SVP GLOBAL SALES, SAUCONY BRIGITTE LIEDKE, BUYER, SUMMIT SPORTS COLIN TRUE, NATIONAL sales manager sports & OUTDOOR, PRO BAR "Is The Barefoot / Minimalist Movement A LongTerm Trend Or Short-Term Fad?." Sgb 44.3 (2011): 812. Business Source Complete. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. 25
  26. 26. Resources • Arita, Eriko. "Get your kicks in Japan." Japan Times 18 Sept. 2011: Newspaper Source. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. • Douglas, Scott. "Sales of Minimalist Shoes Plummet." Runner's World & Running Times. Rodale, 13 May 2013. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. • Douglas, Scott. The Runner's World Complete Guide to Minimalism and Barefoot Running: How to Make the Healthy Transition to Lightweight Shoes and Injury-free Running. New York, NY: Rodale, 2013. Print. • "Fast Forward." Men's Fitness 29.8 (2013): 48. Consumer Health Complete - EBSCOhost. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. • "Footwear in the US." Euromonitor International Passport. N.p., 14 Aug. 2013. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. <>. • Kumar, Kavita. "Famous Footwear emphasizes athletic brands for back to school." St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 13 Aug. 2012: Newspaper Source. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. • Megroz, Gordy. "The Clown Shoe That's Changing Minimalist Running." Outside Online. N.p., 03 Dec. 2013. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. 26