Over the years Bata has consistently widened its product range and launched multiple international and local brands catering to different ages and needs, like Bubblegummers, Leena, Marie Claire and Weinbrenner. However, the communication for all of these brands has been limited to print, outdoor and in-store promotions and has mainly been occasion- or season-centric.
This year, however, Bata launched its first full fledged corporate campaign in which the company finally seems to be positioning itself as a brand.
There is little doubt that a corporate campaign highlighting Bata’s brand values was a necessity in a changing shoe market. According to the Pakistan Footwear Manufacturers Association, the local shoe market is worth Rs 100 billion. Although the size of the market has remained unchanged for the last couple of years, the split between unbranded and branded shoes has changed significantly. In 2010 when Aurora last covered the shoe market, the split was 80:20; in 2012 it is 70:30.
The biggest factor in the growing popularity of branded shoes is the rapid increase in the presence of branded shoe retailers in the last few years; these include Bourjon, Charles & Keith, ECS, Ecco, Fayva, Hush Puppies, Nike, Pretty Fit, Stylo, Urban Sole and Vincci among others. And while Bata still has the largest share of the branded shoe market (around 60%), the new players are quickly claiming their customers.
In spite of this increased competition, persuading Bata to do a corporate campaign was not an easy task, according to S. Amir Rizvi, Account Director, JWT Lahore.
“It took us two to three years to get the go-ahead from Bata,” he says, explaining that budgetary constraints were a major reason.
JWT, however, finally managed to overturn these concerns by arguing that rather than segment the marketing budget across separate sub brands (Bata has 12), the more profitable proposition was to invest in the parent brand.
As Ali Mirza, Creative Director, JWT Lahore put it, “Once the parent brand is promoted the sub brands automatically get recognition.”
This was the idea behind the TVC as well; to show that there are multiple brands under the Bata umbrella and each one caters to the entire family’s needs on different occasions. This was translated in the concept by depicting the cycle of life with Bata’s role at every step of the way with the tagline ‘every step, everywhere’.
Brand equity apart, promoting multiple brands in one TVC is useful in at least two other ways. Firstly, it reminds consumers of the presence of Bata’s flagship stores in 10 cities, all of which carry the entire range (non-flagship stores usually carry school shoes and a limited range of fashion footwear). Secondly, the TVC will be adapted for other products and seasons to derive maximum mileage from the costs incurred.
Now, whether this new approach will be able to counter the regular campaigns launched by Bata’s competitor Servis (which launches five major campaigns every year), or to stem the growing list of competitors, remains to be seen.