The Björn Borg trademark was registered in the late 1980s and established in the Swedish apparel market in the first half of the 1990s. Since then operations have grown strongly, including through new product areas and geographical markets.
The brand increasingly stands 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 are the brand’s roots and still provide a strong platform for international expansion.
Today the brand has a distinctive identity and strong position in established markets in its dominant product area, underwear, while newer markets are in a startup stage. In its business plan, Björn Borg has an explicit goal to be a leader in sports fashion and has therefore decided to focus more on the 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 brand platform was implemented in 2019 and serves as a basis for both design and marketing communications. It reflects the brand’s sporty identity and mission to inspire others to reach their full potential through exercise.
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 such as ad campaigns, PR, 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 efficiencies 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.
PR activities and events are an important component 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 that 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 vital and cost-effective for branding and sales promotions.
Through the webshop 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 for exposure the brand and current campaigns.
Campaigns, collaborations and events 2019
During the year Björn Borg continued to position itself in sports apparel through a number of campaigns, events and PR activities. The benefits of exercise were underscored in all activities during the year.
COLLABORATION WITH ROBYN
In mid-February Björn Borg presented an exclusive collection in collaboration with internally acclaimed artist and fashion icon Robyn. The limited RBN collection, which was designed together with the stylist Naomi Itkes and Björn Borg’s design team, consisted of 23 unisex pieces in a combination of edgy sportswear with street fashion. The inspiration came from several of Robyn’s favorite garments as well as pieces from Björn Borg’s archive. As part of the launch, Robyn released her new music video, “Send to Robyn Immediately,” where pieces in the collection played an important role.
In the spring Björn Borg presented a campaign for people who want an expressive outlet for their energy. At a temporary Rage Gym, they could let go of their anger and find a sense of well-being through intense exercise. Unleased adrenaline helped guests to discover new levels of strength. The successful campaign was seen in social media and events, where ambassadors and customers worked out wearing Björn Borg’s Spring/Summer collection. The campaign was created together with Nord DDB.
Björn Borg wants to inspire more people to exercise, which strengthens the body, mind and soul in several ways. Research shows, for example, that exercise makes you smarter. The same is true of classical music. A campaign called Smartness, which was launched in September, combined exercise with classical music in a unique symphony – Symphonia Exercitii Et Intelligentiae – at the optimal beats per minute for exercise – 123. The symphony was created collaboratively by a fitness expert, a neurologist and a classical music composer– Jonas Valfridsson. It was recorded by Jönköpings Sinfonietta at the same time that employees from Björn Borg exercised to the music. The symphony was launched on Spotify, YouTube, at fitness events in all our markets and in social media. The AW19 collection fit in naturally with the campaign, which spread widely online and in the media. The campaign was created together with Nord DDB.
SPONSORSHIPS AND EVENTS
Björn Borg wants to be close to consumers and therefore works actively with fitness events. In 2019 we sponsored Tough Viking and Strong Viking in seven markets, where participants competed in obstacle runs wearing Björn Borg products. During the year nearly 250 events were held in eight cities under the name City Attack. Influencers and consumers both took part in workouts and other activities. These events were arranged in collaboration with local partners in fitness, health and nutrition. Every event was documented in social media. City Attack has quickly become a very important channel to spread Björn Borg’s vision and maintain direct contact with consumers.