Shreyas Kulkarni

"The shoe will help you seamlessly transcend from gym to street": Sunil Gupta - Brand Director, Reebok India

From the versatile nature of the Zig Kinetica to the TG the company intends to target, here's what Sunil Gupta told afaqs!

Reebok India showcased the Zig Kinetica shoe, its newest and most innovative product of the year, at the Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2020. The shoe and apparel company tied up with designer Sohaya Mishra who presented her label 'Chola' at the event while Bollywood actor Aditya Roy Kapur graced the ramp as the showstopper for the evening.

On its website, the brand said, 'Reebok Zig Kinetica is designed to revolutionise the way we move our feet with each technology element doing its part to support your stride.' It had also released an ad featuring their global ambassador and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) superstar Conor McGregor.

Sunil Gupta, brand director, Reebok India, told afaqs! that the Zig Kinetica is the biggest shoe launch for the company in 2020. When asked what makes the shoe so special, he says, "The Zig tech fuses innovative sports tech with street style, that's the whole premise of the shoe." He adds that the shoe will help a wearer seamlessly translate from gym to street.

When we heard that last statement, it made us wonder about the target audience (TG) Reebok was aiming at. Was it the audience which considered Reebok a lifestyle brand or the one which considered it a hardcore fitness brand? Says Gupta, "We're going after anybody who is looking for a highly functional shoe that looks great anywhere - right from the gym to the street."

Zig Kinetica
Zig Kinetica

While that settled the dust on who the brand was aiming at when it came to the Zig Tech, Gupta also mentions that Reebok plans to team up with influencers to reach the said TG. However, when questioned why they didn't consider the reach a Bollywood star could offer vis a vis an influencer, he answers, "We collaborate with influencers because of the connection they have with the millennials. At the end of the day, Reebok's mission is to be the best fitness and lifestyle brand in India and we want to inspire people to a fitter and better life."

"While we have collaborated with the likes of Varun Dhawan and Katrina Kaif, we've also worked with targeted influencers like Shivoham, Neha, and Bani. For instance, in January, we launched the HIIT TR (shoes) and we went with these influencers to lead our conversations on the right platform. These influencers are seen as opinion leaders within a closed community. Depending on the situation, we choose the appropriate influencer," he says.

Because the brand will target millennials and perhaps Generation Z using influencers, the point about digital becoming the de facto lead communication channel did cross out minds. While Gupta didn't exactly tell us the brand's media mix, he says they have a great product that they will market with great storytelling. Digital will help Reebok reach the right audience but the choice of communication will, in the end, depend upon the type of audience to be reached.

The conversation also touched upon the point about engagement with a customer after he / she purchases the product. Gupta says, "At the centre of everything we do is a great product and we have to be confident that the customer will become a brand loyalist after buying it. Selling one footwear or T-shirt is not the end objective. I want to get people onto a fitter and better lifestyle. Through on-ground events and activations, the brand will go back and give these people the right experience around fitness and athleisure."

We quizzed Gupta on where the shoe will be sold. Will it go the online-only way or be found at Reebok outlets? He replies that the product will be found across channels. "We'll have it at our stores and website, partner websites, and multi-brand channel stores," he says.

About the brief to his agency partners, Gupta says, "The product is at the core of everything we do and you have to round that up with strong storytelling. The entire story has to revolve around what the product stands for."

"The showcase at the Lakme Fashion Week was centred around amplified energy, it's what the Zig stands for," he concludes.

The Reebok Zig Kinetica will be launched in India on February 21, 2020.

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