The Björn Borg trademark was registered in the late 1980s and established in the Swedish fashion market in the first half of the 1990s. Since then, operations have grown strongly, including through new product areas and geographical markets.
The brand stands increasesingly on its own merits, distinct from Björn Borg the person, and a growing share of consumers associate the name with the brand’s products rather than Björn Borg himself. At the same time, Björn Borg’s legacy as a tennis player and his celebrity status off the court is the brand’s heritage and still provides a strong platform for international expansion.
Today, the brand has a distinctive identity and a strong position in established markets in its dominant product area, underwear, while newer markets are in a start-up stage. In its business plan, Björn Borg has an explicit goal to be a leader in sports fashion, and has therefore decided to focus on design and production of sports apparel.
With five product areas and sales in around 20 markets – mature as well as new and with different conditions and preferences – consistent, long-term branding is essential.
A new design, branding and communication platform, together with a new tagline, were developed and introduced in 2018. The positioning reflects the brand’s sporty identity and products that make customers feel active and attractive.
Björn Borg aims to provide the best possible service to its distributors and licensees, which commit to a specific level of investment in their markets. The aim is to create opportunities to build sales and brand awareness, while at the same time ensuring consistent branding.
Support for distributors and licensees includes branding guidelines and marketing support for ad campaigns, PR activities, media buying and Point of Sale displays – packaged for each market’s needs, stage of development and budget.
The Björn Borg brand is profiled through innovative marketing activities. The strategy is to build the brand and drive sales consistently over the long term. To achieve cost efficiency and broad impact, the Group focuses on integrated campaigns and activities mainly in spreadable channels such as PR, events and digital media, but also trade shows, fashion shows and Point of Sale displays.
Outdoor advertising and print ads are primarily used in established markets, usually through targeted activities in urban areas. The aim going forward is to focus on bigger campaigns with broader coverage in more channels to achieve greater impact.
PR activities and events are important components in the mix of channels used in Björn Borg’s integrated campaigns. Background material and guidelines are produced centrally as part of the marketing packages distributors have access to, while detailed planning and implementation are left to each market.
Social media have continued to grow in importance to the interaction between Björn Borg and consumers- The company sees these channels as both vital and cost-effective for branding and sales promotions.
Through the web shop at bjornborg.com, Björn Borg products are sold practically around the world. The website is also a key channel for international branding and to communicate with target groups.
The Björn Borg stores fill an important role as a marketing channel and to display the brand and current campaigns.
Campaigns, collaborations and events 2018
During the year Björn Borg continued to position itself in sports apparel through several campaigns, events and PR activities.
BJÖRN BORG’S DEAR RIVAL CAMPAIGN In February Björn Borg presented a campaign based on research showing that rivalries can help you perform better. Rivals can push you to run faster, play better and reach new heights – in the same way that Björn Borg and John McEnroe made each other better. With the theme Dear Rival, we challenged people to show their rivals some love. It began with a social media campaign where millions of people followed our social media ambassadors as they challenged their rivals wearing Björn Borg’s spring/ summer collection. The campaign also utilized outdoor advertising in Amsterdam and Stockholm as well as at gyms and events around the Nordic region, the Netherlands and Belgium. We increased awareness of Björn Borg as a sports apparel brand by over 100 percent during the campaign, which was seen by over 14 million consumers.
MARRIAGE UNBLOCKED Björn Borg teamed up with the blockchain company Superblocks to create a digital platform that allows same-sex couples to get married on the blockchain – even when it is illegal in their home countries. In this global campaign, Björn Borg took a stand on the right to love anyone you want just in time for the FIFA World Cup, where Russia and Saudi Arabia, two countries that do not allow same-sex marriage, faced off in the opening match. Saudi Arabia and Russia aren’t the only countries to prohibit same-sex marriage, however; it is currently illegal in 87 percent of the world’s countries. The campaign received widespread coverage online and in the media, generating PR value of 64 MSEK.
CHASE THE EXERHIGHS Many people see exercise as hard and boring. Björn Borg’s aim is to change that with a campaign called Chase the Exerhighs, which instead focuses on the joy and euphoria that comes with working out, which not only strengthens the body and mind but also has a chemical reaction not unlike the one from psychedelic drugs. By focusing on pleasure, the goal is to get more people moving and to stand out from the usual sportswear advertising. Chase the Exerhighs kicked off with films, images and moving content showing Exerhigh extremes and was rolled out in all Björn Borg’s markets: in-store, outdoors and digitally. The campaign reached 19 million consumers and increased the emotional connection to Björn Borg as a sports apparel brand by 14 percent.
BJÖRN BORG’S COLLABORATION WITH NAITO Naito is one of the world’s most widely recognized print designers. Adidas, Mont Blanc and The Kooples are just a few of the brands he has worked with. In late April 2018 Björn Borg was proud to present a collaborative collection with Naito spanning all our product categories. The collection was part of an integrated campaign that proved to be a bestseller in Björn Borg’s own channels, while also generating wide exposure through a combination of paid, earned PR and own channels.