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361° becomes a new player in the battle to capture young customers

By Yutang Sports 04 Jan 2018

Nowadays, more and more brands are switching their marketing strategies to target younger people who they see as potential customers. For example, AirAsia recently joined forces with the Ultimate Fighting Championship with the aim of getting closer to younger people, while LaLiga have launched new marketing strategies towards younger Chinese fans. 

Now, a Chinese sports brand has come up with a new plan to achieve this goal by activating its marketing campaigns for the 2018 Asian Games. 

On December 26th, the 361st day of 2017, 361°announced that they would carry out a series of marketing projects for the 2018 Asian Games, which will take place in Jakarta, Indonesia from August 18 to September 2. 

At the press conference on December 26, the brand announced that 361°and Taobao’s content department would work together to carry out the online selection of torchbearers for the 2018 Asian Games. Additionally, they will also jointly stream the 2018 Asian Games torch relay and create more Games-related content, in order to engage more young people to follow the Games. 

Another strategy taken by the brand to attract more younger fans, is to recruit sports and entertainment stars who are popular with the younger age groups. At the press conference, 361°unveiled ambassadors to promote the 2018 Asian Games, including Shanghai Sharks star Jimmer Fredette, Team China swimmer Liu Xiang and Chinese singer Wei Chen.

In recent years, the cross over between sports and entertainment industries and the appointment of entertainment stars as ambassadors has been a popular strategy for sports brands. The reason behind this is easy to identify. To attract more people, especially young people, to follow their brands, sports events and brands have  integrated entertainment into their sports content and 361°does not want to miss this chance to get closer to young people.

However, 361°has its own reasons for bringing ambassadors from the entertainment industry. As the 361°Brand Management Center’s General Manager Wang Lei told Yutang Sports, 361°is still a young brand and has always encouraged an active lifestyle. As a result, 361°needs an ambassador who reflect their brand character and Wei Chen is a good choice because of his positive lifestyle and reputation. 

Despite the brand tapping into the entertainment sector for this current promotional campaign, 361° has always been a die-hard fan of international mega sports events ever since it signed its first sponsorship deal with the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. As Wang Lei pointed out, 361°is the biggest enthusiast in conducting marketing campaigns among all Chinese sports brand, for international mega sports events and it has become a steady part of the 361°marketing strategy.

Having sponsored the 2011 Shenzhen Summer Universiade, the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and the 2014 Nanjing Summer Youth Olympics, 361° became an official sponsor of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, making the brand the first ever Chinese sports brand to sponsor the Games. 

Based on these sponsorship deals and other marketing strategies, 361°established a global business network in 2014 covering North America, South America, Europe and Asia. In Wang’s opinion, sponsoring international mega sports events has become a huge plus for the brand’s global marketing campaign. 

And now with the 2018 Asian Games cycle becoming one of the main priorities of the 361°marketing strategy in 2018, their sports marketing campaigns will help to make its products suitable for young people and so seek more global business opportunities. 

Given that today’s marketing campaigns are different from previous sponsorships, because today young people are using social media rather than traditional media, 361°will come up with different promotional methods based on social media. Despite this, however, Wang admitted that the brand is facing a bigger challenge. 

In Wang’s opinion, young people are only concerned with what they are really interested in and the Asian Games may not be on their radars. However, the athletes competing in the Asian Games are also young. So, the brand has decided to make use of this connection to conduct their marketing campaign during the 2018 Asian Games.  

With a clear identification of its brand image and specific marketing goals for the 2018 Asian Games, 361°has taken its first step in delivering its marketing campaigns for  upcoming events. As to whether these campaigns will work out, time and the brand’s future financial figures will give us the answer.

Proofread by Raymond Fitzpatrick

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