Move over Nike… FILA’s making a comeback

Paris Hilton for FILA

When considering our class discussion of product placement and the product life cycle, I wondered how that would apply to a company that was already established and looking to ‘revamp’ their image.  A newer company has the advantage of a clean slate and a fresh approach to whatever service or good they are looking to provide; yet a company that already has a reputation that they want to break free from must have a well thought out strategy to help them accomplish this.

I came across this article in the Economic Times that was a live example of what I was curious about.  How FILA’s Gene Yoon plans to build a strong brand presence in India The article’s focus was Gene S. Yoon, Fila’s global chairman, and his strategy to break away from FILA’s image as a non-aggressive brand and become successful in India’s marketplace.  This article was an interesting supplement to several of our class topics, but especially on product life cycles and product decision.

The Indian marketplace has become the focus of FILA’s strategic efforts at competitive advantage.  Bata was the original company that dominated the marketplace; however Nike and Adidas have found success in this marketplace and FILA is hoping they will as well.  While Nike is known for “Just Do It” and Adidas says “Impossible Is Nothing”, Fila’s first priority is to decide on a tagline that will effectively differentiate them from their competitors.

Fila’s main strategy for competitive advantage appears to be rapid response.  FILA is one of the only brands that allows each retailer to devise regional marketing plans.  Aside from the logo, FILA gives retailers creative freedom in regards to color, fabric choice and design allows them to tailor each product to local preferences.  This strategy will assist in the growth of the brand throughout numerous markets.  FILA is also focusing on differentiation and their general ‘cool factor’ by signing on celebrities, such as Paris Hilton, which aided in their success in outgrowing other markets in Korea.

FILA is currently present in 40 exclusive stores in India, and Yoon forecast’s the number to increase to 100 stores by 2014.  I believe in Fila’s strategy to succeed in the Indian marketplace, however I do think they need to have a more focused strategy.  I understand the idea behind regional marketing plans, I just think that they would be more successful if they have a definitive tagline and ensure that each product that is developed embodies what they are trying to represent.  FILA expresses their interest in being a lifestyle brand, and in order for them to prevail, focus is needed in all areas of product development.

Do you believe that FILA’s strategic plan will be successful? Or do you think that regardless of their attempts, they will not be able to break away from their reputation of being non-aggressive and not very “cool”?

3 thoughts on “Move over Nike… FILA’s making a comeback

  1. Your post brings up an interesting point. Often, international brands and markets will bring in Hollywood stars and celebrities to represent and model their respective brands in order to boost sales and interest specifically from the brand’s country and population and not the overall international market. This in turn ties in with regional marketing plans, that allow a brand to be tailored specifically to the interests of a particular region. If FILA hopes to jumpstart its sales and brand preference in India, then specialization is the way to go, particularly since it ties in with the differentiation aspect of competitive advantage, since not all competitors would allow creative decisions to be regionally tailored. By leaving the decline stage of the Product Life Cycle, FILA can possibly start its own cycle anew by relaunching as if it were in a new introduction stage.

  2. I agree with your thoughts on Fila’s strategy for competitive advantage in India. I think that sometimes allowing regional directors to take creative license when you are trying to revamp your brand can cause some confusion in the direction you are trying to take the brand. While it is a good idea to look at what the customer’s in a regional market want and need, allowing differing fabric choices, colors, and other brand images could create quality problems, like if the fabric isn’t up to Fila’s typical standards. They will need to find a balance between allowing creative license in their global markets and focusing their strategy for re-engergizing their brand.

  3. I like the idea of Fila letting their regional retailers have creative freedom on their products. The style and taste in one part of India can be drastically different than in another part. However, like the above comment said, Fila must be aware of the standards they are trying to provide. Fila could have a controlled creative freedom where they can choose their fabrics and colors from a sample that Fila has already looked over and deemed suitable. This may give retailers less freedom, but it could be a good compromise.

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