Almost a year ago, Reebok made a pretty big move under the radar: they appointed Silvia Tallon, the first woman and first non-Indian to act as Reebok's Senior Marketing Director in India since Reebok's entry in the country back in 1995. Tallon's, who has experience at both Adidas and Le Coq Sportif, placement is clear to those of us who have been paying attention: target women.
Tallon herself confirms the connection. According to Economic Times, "Since my appointment in April 2016, we have sharpened our fitness strategy with a special focus on women," says Tallon. And, almost a year later, we see how true that is.
With the rollouts of various campaigns aimed squarely at female consumers such as the Gigi Hadid headlined #PerfectNever initiative, a collaboration with jewelry goddess Melody Ehsani on one of Reebok's most cherished silhouettes, teaming with a number of lady-friendly boutiques for product revamps (including this awesome collab with Euro-retailer Titolo) and, most recently, inking a deal with Teyana Taylor to deliver a new take on this classic sneaker, Reebok seems to be all about that girl power - and that girl profit.
In addition to the wave of female-friendly media campaigns, Reebok is trying out something a bit different in New Delhi: a store at Select City Walk Mall in New Delhi which is the first of its kind staffed entirely by women. According to Tallon, this shift is equal parts lifestyle and numbers: "We aim to command a 40% market share in this segment by inspiring more women to adopt fitness as an integral part of their lifestyle."
To target women and have a woman head the brand, according to experts , is a smart move. Especially for Reebok which captured the imagination of a whole generation before many of us were born, says brand strategist Harish Bijoor.
However, the job of making the brand a viable contender as Nike, Adidas, and Puma continue to out shine may lie in how it can appeal directly to the female consumer AND answer a crucial question: Why should you buy Reebok and not the compeition? "Reebok appears to be struggling with differentiation," says marketing expert Jessie Paul
While personnel changes and saavy marketing techniques are one part of the equation, Reebok won't be able to truly flourish until they deliver the goods: shoes that a) don't look like a smaller version of a men's shoe and b) aren't the same classics we love, but have seen time and time again. . It looks like Reebok CEO Matt O'Toole is thinking along the same lines as Reebok readies the release of their Floatride silhouette coming this March.
An eye-catching shoe that, upon first glance, looks like an interesting hybrid between the Nike Flyknit Racer and the Adidas UltraBoost; could very well be a big one for Reebok. In terms of aesthetic, this is one Reebok shoe (not in the Classic family) that has actually caught my eye. It's also functional, according to O'Toole:
Needless to say, gven the resources devoted to cultivating their female audience, women will be a contributing favtor to the brand's success going forward. What remains to be seen consistently is whether or not Reebok can manifest the success of Nike, Adidas, and Puma by resisting the urge to give women leftovers from the men's brand and, instead, devote the resources to cultivating something of our own.