WHAT IS 361° (degrees)?
361° (degrees) originates in China, where it is known to be one of the country’s most successful sports and athleisure lifestyle brands (China’s version of Nike).
Infestation was tasked to launch the 361° brand to the rest of the globe with it’s hero Fall Winter 2021, high-performance running shoe - the Meraki 4.
Global markets, particularly Europe and America, are saturated with incredibly successful, big budget, world class running/sports brands.
There is globally a negative perception around the quality of Chinese products. They are perceived as being sub-par in quality and manufacturing standards.
Our challenge was to create a shift in perception - that 361°’s product quality matches that of the top global running shoe brands (Saucony, Brooks, New Balance, Asics, Nike etc).
Additionally we had to coordinate this global launch from our studio/home desks in Cape Town amidst the pandemic, with no travel or face to face time with the brand’s key stakeholders, distributors or retailers. Also a huge factor was that the brand’s agents and distributors could not attend the bi-annual regional buyers fairs and conventions to connect with retailers and take orders.
Communicating quality of 361° to it’s B2B audiences:
361°’s running shoes are designed and manufactured to the highest quality - from design, through to fabrication and manufacturing, the product really lives up to its promise of being a very comfortable, high-performance, beautiful, running shoe. One that truly rivals it’s world class competitors.
Our strategy was to market the high quality nature of the Meraki 4 shoe to all stakeholders, through the use of Technical Specification sheets and Catalogue, tailored to each global region. These communication pieces are used by 361° agents and distributors to share with retailers to encourage large bulk orders. The Tech Sheet and Catalogues had to work hard to bring the retailers on a journey through the ideation and design inspiration of the Meraki 4 all the way through to the technical details of the shoe, together with the benefits for the end customer.
Connecting authenticity with 361°’s B2C audiences:
High performance sports brands typically position themselves as brands for the successful athletic achiever, celebrity sports personalities and influencers, using the credibility of these incredible athletes to mirror the quality of their products.
We tailored 361°’s brand position to be more focused on accommodating all levels of sports audiences, be them young or old, fast or slow. They may be starting out by doing their first 5km run or they are competing in the Tokyo Olympics. This gave the 361° brand a more authentic and relatable voice in communicating that a healthy lifestyle, through sports, enables our audiences to live a more fulfilled life.
Videography and Photography is key to creating engaging and relatable content:
Being the global brand managers for 361°, Infestation conducted a video and stills shoot, to create relatable high-performance running content for all regions to use in their marketing channels.
Utilising digital marketing channels to promote retailers:
The strategy to push customers to try on and feel the quality of the shoes in-store has been very successful and facilitated a huge global partnership/network between 361° and thousands of regional speciality running stores across the EU and US. Where many sports brands are promoting sales on their own digital platforms, 361° markets our retail partners platforms. All social media paid and digital promotions drive customers to find their nearest store. In-store retailers are equipped with point of sale assets and sales teams are trained to help educate customers on the quality and benefits of 361°’s products.
AMBASSADORS AND SPONSORED ATHLETE
Continuing the relatable brand position, 361° uses brand ambassadors and sponsored athletes who all promote the essence of sports giving more to life. 361° ‘s athletes all have extraordinary stories of how they have gone one degree beyond in their lives, and are an inspiration to all who follow them.
Instead of focusing on running only events, 361° focuses on triathlon events. These events not only speak to our brand tagline of going “One degree beyond”, but are also not so saturated by our big budget competitors.
THE INFESTATION TEAM
After thousands upon thousands of hours on Zoom calls, remote and in-studio working, this project (whilst still in operation) has taken our team over 2 years to ideate, strategise, design, market and implement.
Infestation continues to be 361°’s global brand agency, and we are now focussing on the next 2 years ahead.
Team: Christo Maritz, Nix Harwood, Anton Pople, Sarah Bryen, Amy Bradbury, Ferdi Rohrbeck.
Also see how we branded Cape Town’s Open Design Festival. See how we helped clamp down on single-use with the V&A Waterfront plastic-free campaign. And discover the story behind the ‘Love Cape Town’ identity you know so well With our Cape Town Tourism rebrand.
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