Fila Just Missed the Mark in Tokyo Olympics
It’s been three weeks since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics ended and YouTube’s algorithm daemon seems to be recommending fewer and fewer clips about them. However, the Games’ euphoria will remain imprinted on the minds of everyone who saw the athletes’ passion. Among them, let’s talk about men’s fencing, which made a lot of headlines because of the number of gold medals Korea brought home.
If you take a close look at the male Korean fencers, you’ll see that their shoes were made by FILA, a Korean brand (let’s discuss later whether FILA is actually a Korean brand or not). Consumers recognize FILA as an affordable and fashionable brand, the kind that might be sold in multi-brand stores like ABC Mart or Foot Locker. But much to everyone’s surprise, FILA was there at the Olympics to maximize the athletes’ performance in events with some of the most dynamic footwork!
FILA was once seen as being old-fashioned or a copycat among sneakerheads, so it’s hard to believe that FILA was there in the most extreme moments, improving the athletes’ performance (and performing well in their fight against Nike and Adidas). It was a great moment for FILA to prove its potential to move beyond its current situation. Fencing is a dynamic sport that requires rhythm as well as horizontal and vertical movement. The fact that athletes with world-class skills were wearing FILA is proof that the shoes contained advanced technology.
FILA should take full advantage of this opportunity. First off, it needs to revamp the negative parts of its image. Although successful rebranding can lead consumers to choose FILA once again, the future of whether it is a well-loved brand with a dedicated fandom is unclear. This is their opportunity to quickly reverse their current image. Consumers will cheer for the brand and join them in the process of striving for technological development despite its design issues. In the process, many stories arise that move consumers and help them grow more emotionally connected to the brand.
Next, they need to create new business opportunities by adding a portfolio of performance products to their existing lifestyle portfolio. Right now, FILA only offers running and cycling performance shoes, but the brand can start aiming for the training shoe market. The most well-known training shoes are differentiated by weight, so FILA should introduce lightweight and casual training shoe product lines. Top-selling CrossFit shoes such as Nike Metcon, Reebok Nano, and Inov-8, excel in stability rather than movement, so FILA should introduce lightweight and casual concept shoes to capture niche markets. It could also provide a meaningful challenge in the hiking and trail shoe category that is now in vogue.
But all this is just my imagination so far. Like the YouTube algorithm daemon, FILA seems to have forgotten about the Olympics. Despite FILA making promotional posters featuring the fencing team, they’re hard to find if you don’t look for them. FILA’s increasingly successful rebranding has raised controversy over whether it’s a Korean brand or not. To fly higher and grow bigger, FILA should examine their existing resources and leverage them to find a new path to success.