25 JUL. 2018
Going Deeper than the Buzz: UNIQLO the Apparel for Life
On 2nd July 2018, with the official start of the Championships, Wimbledon 2018, Roger Federer, considered as the greatest tennis player of all-time, walked into the court wearing UNIQLO’s sportswear announcing the partnership with UNIQLO to become its new global ambassador.
It is said that UNIQLO would pay $30 million a year for the endorsement of Federer, totalling $300 million in 10 years, which created a new high in sponsorship fees in professional tennis history.
Source: Getty Images
Now let’s take a closer look at UNIQLO using our 4 Facets of Brand Positioning to see whether this is a well-tailored brand action for UNIQLO.
Truth – Practicability
UNIQLO provides practicability to its consumers from 3 main perspectives – simple yet quality design, high-tech and useful functions and affordable price.
Simple yet quality design
UNIQLO puts Japanese values of simplicity, quality and longevity on its apparel and products. With simple but elegant and well-tailored clothing, UNIQLO advocates the basic classic creation to match the infinite possibilities of aesthetics, making clothing the building blocks of each individual’s style. Meanwhile, this basic principle also leaves room for creativity. You definitely remembered the collaborations between UNIQLO and KAWS, Jil Sander, Undercover, J.W. Anderson or Doraemon, which were sold out in about 5 minutes after being launched.
High-tech and useful function
UNIQLO is well-known for its industry-leading technologies in their HEATTECH, ULD, Dry-EX and AIRism series, which bring more warmth, more lightness, better design, and better comfort to everyone’s life. With HEATTECH, you don’t need to wear traditional thick underwear to keep warm in winter; with Dry-EX, the quickly-dry fabric, you will not be bothered by the annoying sweat after sports.
Source: UNIQLO Website
Most of UNIQLO’s clothes can be purchased with $30 even less which are almost affordable to everyone. Fair price with high-qualified apparel and services forms the core competitiveness of UNIQLO and engages mass customers.
Vision – Being the LifeWear
UNIQLO is committed to making innovative high-quality clothing that is universal in design and comfort and made for everyone, everywhere and everyday. It is approachable and open to everyone, no matter which social groups you are in, how old you are, male or female, student or businessman. Moreover, its clothes range a wide spin of types, from workplace dress, sportswear, underwear, swimsuits to pajamas to satisfy the dressing needs for all kinds of daily occasions. Its clothing is not in a unique fashion, but a standardized one – the staple of fashion with few ornaments, so you can freely wear UNIQLO’s clothes in your own style and even easily match them with luxury fashion brands.
UNIQLO also shares its belief with consumers – Being the LifeWear that is standard and staple – by the way of designing its shops. The shops of UNIQLO are like a warehouse with a rainbow color range and organized clothes which are all prudentially and remarkably labeled with sizes to ensure everyone can find their sizes and favorite colors easily.
Occasion – A Happy Stroll in the Alley
On the way home, you walk into a UNIQLO’s shop along with brisk in-store music, stroll among the neat and organized display shelves and enjoy the soft tactility that colorful and well-tailored clothes bring to you. Without urges of garrulous shopping guides, you can indulge in the good mood of shopping and wander under bright and various colors and downy lamplight; fatigue of whole day’s work seems to disappear without a trace.
Source: Getty Images
Personality – A Regular Guy
An apparel brand as it is, UNIQLO is more like a regular, easy-going guy than a modern girl. Thus, you can find that the UNIQLO stores are well-organized and warehouse-like, offering clothes in all sizes and colors. This guy always tidies his room up and makes his friends feel comfortable staying together with him.
Why did UNIQLO decide to partner with Roger Federer for 10 years? Is it a good choice that aligns with its positioning?
As a popular sport worldwide, tennis sport shows its great charm and influence. Simplicity, comfort and freedom which athletes pursue in sportswear consist perfectly with the truth of UNIQLO. More importantly, keeping the partnership even after Federer’s done playing echoes with UNIQLO’s practicability for life. The rigor and organization of professional tennis also remind us of the brand occasion – the well-organized clothes shelves with the white lines and geometries in the shop.
However, we never see Federer as a “regular guy” regarding both his fashion taste and personality. This action, choosing to sponsor Roger Federer, seems present a conflict with UNIQLO’s brand vision and personality. There’s no doubt that this newly-built partnership will increase the brand’s impact around the world while expanding its business into sport gear with more expressive and high taste association. But it is not a uniquely tailored set for UNIQLO that perfectly fits its brand positioning.