[Blog]

Power of Fans: ASICS Changes the Conversation


ASICS' athlete Queen Harrison assumes her place at the starting line as 50,000 energetic fans cheer from the stands. In this whirlwind of excitement, she remembers one moment specifically. "I was at the starting line and I heard a fan scream my name," Harrison recalls. "It's things like that that make you realize how much the fans affect your race that day." It was this seemingly small moment that transformed her nerves to adrenaline, allowing her to perform to the best of her ability. Harrison is not alone on the list of extraordinary athletes who credit their fans for keeping them motivated and excited about what they do.

Every four years, the world comes together to recognize dedicated athletes, such as Harrison, in the biggest competition on the biggest stage. It's also an exciting time for these athletes' sponsors, as they can capitalize on the opportunity to gain brand recognition. However, for a brand like ASICS, positioned outside of the event sponsorship roster, Rule 40 places a strict limitation on marketing content. Facing this challenge, ASICS tasked Red Door, its social media & SEO agency of record, to develop an innovative campaign that would allow them to be part of the consumer conversation, and in accordance with the restrictions.

ASICS and Red Door worked together to devise a unique strategy that would differentiate the brand from its deep-pocketed competitors. The resulting campaign flipped the conversation around by focusing not on athletes and performance, but instead, the phenomenon that fuels them—their fans. Throughout the campaign, athletes also shared their personal motivations and experiences that drew them closer to their goals. These shared experiences worked to further excite the fans and motivate them to share their passion for their favorite athletes. Ultimately, the Power of Fans campaign extended a relatable concept to the broader community of ASICS followers, weaving a story that brought fans and athletes together.

Goals:

  • Build a best-in-class social experience around the ASICS brand leading up to and during the Rule 40 period
  • Highlight and engage ASICS elite athletes on a global level

Deliverables:

  • Campaign concept and strategy
  • Global campaign landing page design
  • Global social media content
  • Influencer and athlete guidelines and training
  • Real-time social media content based on social listening data
  • On-the-ground social media and event integration planning
  • User-generated content contest
  • Social advertising strategy

Approach/Strategy:

1. Mobile/Social-First Execution
Reaching consumers where they already are.

The Power of Fans campaign was designed with a “mobile-first” approach, making it unparalleled by any other ASICS campaign. Knowing that the ASICS online audience—and those that would be engaged with the global event—would be turning to their mobile phones to gather information and updates, as well as interact with other sports fans, that’s where we needed to be. To reach people on their phones, ASICS had to be part of their social media feeds. Spearheading UGC (user-generated content) with a hashtag photo contest and seeding the concept to ASICS elite athletes sparked the conversation naturally. Additionally, all media for the campaign was targeted on mobile through Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

2. Social Listening & Data-Driven Insights
Using a digital campaign to start the conversation.

The digital nature of Power of Fans allowed us to engage in social listening, giving us the ability to gather further information regarding consumer behavior and how to best engage with this audience. Before creating our landing page for the campaign, we worked to generate awareness surrounding Power of Fans so people engaging with the campaign were informed beforehand. To add even more fuel, the ASICS athletes were encouraged to engage with fans using the #PowerofFans hashtag on their own social media channels, sharing their personal fan stories and motivations. The athletes' influence ultimately helped us gain 5 million impressions before the campaign had even officially launched.

3. Consumer-Centric Story
Focusing on the consumer to get the fans excited.

By focusing on the fans, the consumer became the hero of the story, and simultaneously differentiated ASICS from its competition with such a unique concept. Collecting data about fans from an emotional and scientific point of view provided insight into the fan experience as well as the fans’ impact on the athletes.
The Power of Fans campaign marked the first time ASICS was able to enter into the conversation during the blackout period of Rule 40, as well as the first time ASICS activated several sponsored athletes in a global campaign. The consumer-centric idea encouraged user generated content and worked to generate more hype for the campaign, increasing its success overall. By changing the story to focus on the fans, we differentiated ASICS from its competition and transformed this marketing constraint into a brand opportunity.


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