Fila, Inc. is an Italian-South Korean sporting goods company. It was founded in 1911 in Italy, and is one of the world’s largest sportswear manufacturing companies. Its primary competitors are Adidas, Nike, Puma and Reebok.
Our project proposal will be tailored for its U.S. audience.
Fila came to our team’s attention as a consistently underrated brand of sportswear. Since its heyday in the 1990s, it has fallen out of favor among a key demographic group—the youth—and became relegated to the shadows of Adidas and Nike. A preliminary social media audit also found that Fila has not effectively used social media platforms to connect with consumers.
We realized that recent trends in the fashion industry presented exciting opportunities to revitalize a tired brand. Two trends are particularly salient:
(1) The resurgence of retro-nostalgia among millennials and
(2) the rise of sportswear as class of fashion in its own right.
As a sportswear brand priding itself on heritage-focused designs, the climate is ripe for Fila to regain its relevance among millennials. The key to this is to carve out a distinct identity in the midst of a crowded sportswear landscape that will resonate with a niche target audience among the millennials.
Our research question
How can social media and nostalgia-driven communications help refresh a brand?
Academic & practical value
- We want to address a research gap in social-media enabled, nostalgia-driven communications.
- Research studying the efficacy of nostalgia-driven advertising (Noel, 2008) exists. However, there is a dearth of literature on how social media can be used to reconnect with millennials (via leveraging nostalgic sentiments) to revitalize a brand. Our project will attempt to address this gap.
- We also want to explore how brands can remain competitive by using modern tools to push old-school products—a subject we found interesting because the two appear to be contradictory in nature.
- We want to challenge the notion that communications theories are irrelevant outside of the classroom.
- Communications practitioners often dismiss or neglect the value of academic frameworks. Our project aims to dispel such notions by utilizing communications theories to inform our social media strategy. The final proposal aims to be both actionable and research-evidenced.
Our goal is to reestablish Fila’s brand relevance among millennials through the use of social media campaigns.
Social media will be the key medium which Fila needs to utilize to reach millennials. To achieve our goal, we will be pursuing the following communications objectives:
- To raise awareness of the Fila brand among Gen Y and Gen Z consumers and
- To carve out a niche identity for Fila as the alternative brand for the creative, independent community.
- Includes the building of an online community on selected social media platforms.
Our campaign strategy will build on Fila’s brand message of remain vintage, but never conventional. We will do this while riding on the waves of (1) rising nostalgia for retro designs among millennials and (2) the rise of sportsluxe fashion.
Building on this, we also intend to appeal to millennials’ love for individual expression and creativity.
Our key messages are:
- Fila is the voice of the independent creative spirit. Celebrating the individual, embracing unconventionality, Fila returns to a time where indie artists had true freedom of expression.
- Fila: both timeless and contemporary. Big brands are mainstream, ever-changing and transient. Only Fila embodies effortless heritage; anti-establishment in its rebellion against mainstream consumerism.
Who we’re going to target
We will be targeting fashion-conscious millennials. Academic theories which will be applied in identifying and justifying our choice includes social network theory, diffusion of innovation and stakeholder mapping theory.
We’re going to target millennials because…
Millennials are fashion-forward, early adoption consumers*, and will have increasing disposable income. This is a demographic group Fila, as a sportswear consumer brand, must capture to become visible and relevant again.
How we’re going to reach them
Fila needs to be where millennials are: on social media. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. The brand has some online presence, but it has a long way to go in curating content and building a community.
There are two things we want to measure:
(1) Brand engagement level
(2) Changes in brand perception/awareness before and after our campaign.
Measuring brand engagement
- of likes, increase in user base/followers, no. of active users on page, hashtags, comments and shares, views, reposts
- Sentiment analysis tools/social engagement tools
- g. SocialBakers
Measuring brand perception
- Before-and-after brand perception and awareness surveys
- Sentiment analysis/social engagement tools
- We selected Fila because we are excited about the opportunities present for the brand. The current industry climate is ripe for Fila to regain lost ground with a key demographic—millennials—and a robust social media is the way to reach them.
- At the same time, we will be exploring how social media-enabled, nostalgia-driven communications can revitalize a brand.
- In the coming weeks, our team will be working on expanding our research, refining our problem definition, understanding the psychographics of our target group, and developing an executable strategy for reaching millennials.