Page 1: Introduction
In order to gain market share and attract new customers, a business needs to be distinctive in the marketplace. It needs customers to think about its products in a particular way. This helps them distinguish its products from those of competitors.
A business seeks to combine all the positive characteristics and attributes of its products in a single brand image and message. This gives the brand a unique place in the minds of consumers and is known as positioning a brand.
In the past, Hi-Tec shoes were only associated with sport. However, today its shoes are promoted as an outdoor brand associated with a leisure lifestyle. More than 500 styles are available throughout the world. Hi-Tec develops attractive and comfortable shoes which are lightweight and high quality. They are sold in the mid-price market segment.
Founded in 1974, Hi-Tec Sports is a privately owned British company. Its products are sold in over 100 countries worldwide. It is the global number two outdoor brand in terms of sales value.
Hi-Tec shoes have always had a high technology focus. However, the brand's unique selling proposition (USP) now also emphasises the company's four core values:
- Proud, as Hi-Tec delivers more than the competition
- Honest, as products deliver on their promises
- Fun, as it works creatively to provide positive solutions
- Hungry, as there is always a desire to improve products.
To deliver these values to the consumer, Hi-Tec offers high-quality shoes at a price that represents good value for money. The same technologies that are used to produce sports shoes are used to create lightweight and comfortable outdoor footwear.
Over the last two years Hi-Tec has undertaken a market research programme. The company wanted to know how best to encourage consumers to engage emotionally with Hi-Tec products. It wanted its brand to be recognised both for sports and also for an outdoor lifestyle.
The brand theme behind the new market position is that Hi-Tec products are 'inspired by life'. For example, in targeting holidaymakers with high technology cushioned sandals, the emphasis is on having 'happy holiday feet'. Trail shoes for runners promote the ethos that 'feet feel free', with runners being encouraged to think about 'where next?'
This case study illustrates how Hi-Tec Sports developed a new approach to promoting its brand positioning and engaging with customers through a viral marketing campaign.