The sports brand, New Balance, distributed by the Royal Sporting House,
is hunting for an agency partner. While the company officials declined from divulging the names of the agencies in the fray, agencyfaqs! has learnt that the first round of presentation has already taken place.
The second round, which is going to be the deciding round, will take place next week. "I must add the agencies in India are so competent that is difficult to decide. However, by next week, we would have appointed an agency," Bhupendra Nagpal, CEO, Royal Sporting House.
In fact, a print campaign with Lee will break in October coinciding with the India-Australia test series, which starts from October 6, 2004.
In addition to the promotional plans of New Balance, the company has chalked out its retail expansion for the calendar year 2004. To the current 40 retail outlets across the country, Royal Sporting House will add another 12.
Besides the agency shortlisting process, what is keeping New Balance on its toes is Australian pace bowler, Brett Lee. He was in the capital yesterday to launch
the new range of New Balance autumn-winter 2004 footwear and apparels.
Giving the rationale for the association for Lee, says Nagpal, "He is one the fastest bowlers in the world and has been wearing the New balance shoes for performance and fit. The New Balance range of products depicts fitness, performance, reliability and confidence which blends with the personality of Brett Lee."
Besides Lee, there are other sports persons, both Indian and international, who use New Balance not because of its brand appeal, but for its superior technology. Some of them include Khalid Khannouchi, winner of the London Marathon in world-record time, former cricketer Steve Waugh and VVS Laxman. "Fit over fashion aptly describes New Balance and it is primarily for this reason, why many sports people opt for New Balance."
As the company fine tunes its advertising and retail strategy, in the face of stiff competition from the likes of Nike and Reebok, registering as a popular brand for New Balance is, indeed, going to be a challenge.
Nagpal does not subscribe to that point of view. "New Balance is the fastest growing sports brand in the world since the last five years. Despite the low growth rate in major international sports brands from negative growth to 8 per cent, New Balance has constantly grown by 20-25 per cent for the past five successive years with last year's revenues at $1.3 billion. And more importantly, New Balance speaks for itself." © 2004 agencyfaqs!