HOW LONG HAS ASICS BEEN PRESENT IN SAUDI ARABIA?
We have been present through our retail partners for a few years now and the first mono-brand store in the country just opened in March 2023, and it has been such a rewarding experience. This has been the first opening as part of our expansion plan for Saudi Arabia in partnership with Apparel Group, with several more in the pipeline.
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DO YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT STRATEGY WHEN IT COMES TO SAUDI, IN TERMS OF MARKETING?
While we have a global marketing strategy that we consider our north star, it is important that we also focus strongly on creating local strategies, that are created and designed having local consumers in mind. Each country has its uniquenesses and we want to ensure that we speak the same language when addressing each consumer.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN PLATFORMS ASICS USES TO MARKET?
We have had Snapchat campaigns in the past, but mostly use Instagram and TikTok in Saudi. In fact, our TikTok account is mostly focused on the Saudi audience and we mostly share Arabic content.
HOW ARE YOU TAPPING INTO SAUDI’S HUGE YOUNG POPULATION?
That is one of the elements that makes Saudi so unique. It is a young population that is really connected and really interested in creating emotional connections with brands, not just buying what is trendy but looking for brands that reflect their lifestyles and values. Our Sound Mind Sound Body philosophy, and the fact that we are a Japanese brand really resonates with the Saudi market and youth.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE SPORTS SCENE IN SAUDI?
It has been amazing to witness the growth of the sports community in KSA over the past few years. Every month we see new running clubs starting, new gyms opening, and new races being announced. KSA Sports for All has been unstoppable in terms of creating unique sports opportunities for the Saudi community, and we are very proud to have recently signed a MoU with them and to be working together on empowering more people to lead better, happier lives, through the power of sports and movement.
YOU HAVE RECENTLY OPENED A STORE IN RIYADH – WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT IT?
The first ASICS Store in KSA is open in Riyadh Park Mall. It is the first time that KSA consumers will be having direct access to our full range of products, from running to tennis/padel, volleyball, etc. We obviously have the largest ASICS running shoe collection available, including the GEL-Nimbus 25, considered the most comfortable running shoes by the Biomechanics Lab of South Australia University and a huge best seller since we opened the store. The store also features ASICS Sportstyle, the athleisure brand, recently recognized as Brand of the Year 2022 by Hypebeast, the famous lifestyle and fashion platform. Our ASICS store also has our unique RunAnalyzer system, which allows runners to find out which running shoe fits their running style. We will soon be opening our second store in KSA, in Jeddah and there are much more to come. Amongst the plans is a big activation event to celebrate Global Running Day, together with Sports for All, and we are just getting started.
DOES ASICS WORK WITH INFLUENCERS IN SAUDI?
Absolutely, we have recently expanded our FrontRunner team in Saudi and are proud to have 16 members at the moment in the team. They are amazing individuals that truly represent the diversity there is within the running community – from the podium seekers that run every day, all the way to those that only run 1-2x a week as part of their fitness routine. We want consumers to be inspired by their stories, by their sense of Sound Mind Sound Body, focusing on the mental uplift that one gets from moving.
ASICS ambassadors are an integral part of spreading the brand’s founding philosophy of “Sound Mind, Sound Body”, supporting people to experience the transformative power of movement on the body and mind. These men and women share our values of spreading a message about the benefits of movement to everyone. This is at the core of what ASICS believes in. Our #SoundMindSoundBody philosophy has been a pillar since the Japanese brand was launched in 1949, and our ambassadors reflect this philosophy through the role they play in their communities.
By Ana Elisa Seixas, Head of Marketing at ASICS Arabia