What happened

On, the Swiss performance running brand, launched their first lifestyle sneaker in collaboration with Roger Federer.

One of the world’s most recognisable tennis players, 20-time Grand Slam champion, Federer joined the privately held company back in November 2019 — as an advisor and investor. His unusually deep involvement in the business and in product development has been richly promoted on On social channels.

On has been doubling sales annually since the company’s launch in 2010. Still a niche brand, relatively speaking, it’s available in 6,000 stores across 55 countries, with substantial share in Germany (10%) and total domination in its native Switzerland (40%). Signing up a globally recognised athlete was one of the steps in the company’s recent push into the mainstream, which included placing one of its classic shoe designs on Dwayne Johnson during the last Super Bowl intro.

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Obvious consequences

An A-list celebrity endorsement will push the brand, currently available online, in selected performance footwear stores, and in progressive, upscale fashion boutiques like Dover Street Market, into the mainstream.

The more lifestyle, less performance-focused, design will expand On’s audience, costing the brand some of the cool only niche players enjoy, but dramatically expanding its revenue.

The limited edition drop approach will further bolster the aura of glamour, attracting fashion-forward consumers, inspired by product scarcity.

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Next level idea

According to the recent UK data:

  • 68% of adults said that noticing the nature around them (precipitated by the lockdown) has made them happy.
  • 55%, therefore, plan to make a habit of spending as much time in nature once things go back to normal.
  • 41% have already followed through, spending more time in nature after lockdown restrictions have eased, compared to this time last year.

Expansion into comfortable fashion aside, On’s core business makes it uniquely positioned to establish itself as the ultimate outdoor running & hiking brand — to champion the sport and develop a lasting bond with its enthusiasts.

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The Idea: On could engage consumers outdoors — with a light, mobile, brand/retail unit, hosted by an enthusiastic runner, parked in popular running/hiking locations like parks and heaths.

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Benefits

  • Brand and community building
  • Product trial by engaged consumers
  • Meaningful, continuous engagement

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Benefit 1: Brand building

On has a rich and authentic story, rooted in outdoor running and hiking as vehicle of discovery and self-discovery. It is a very personable brand that promotes lasting quality, slow thinking and pared down design, inspired by Alpine nature.

The trailer would allow for playful, immersive consumer engagement. A brand outpost, more than a store, it could offer a limited range of terrain-relevant products and, primarily, promote the lifestyle, inspiring and supporting consumers to discover and achieve more.

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Benefit 2: Product trial by engaged consumers

The trailer would put contextually relevant On products onto runners’ feet (if only to try for size), when hiking or running is at the top of their mind.

The open design of the trailer would make health and safety issues relatively easy to manage.

Shoes purchased could be offered in recyclable backpacks, allowing immediate use.

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Benefit 3: Meaningful, continuous engagement

On could encourage everyone to become an explorer by offering performance tips, gamified experiences and local hiking routes with sights & conveniences along the way (downloadable through QR on the trailer).

In addition to retail and brand promotion, the trailer would be a low cost platform for meaningful, continuous engagement. Consumers looking for diverse routes, could follow it across the weekly changing parking spots, meeting likeminded individuals along the way.

Supported by a digital programme, trailers would strengthen loyalty in otherwise increasingly disloyal market, opening doors to future consideration of subscription-based services.

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