Ask any youngster in India to name a few sports footwear brands. They will immediately come up with brands like Reebok, Nike, Adidas or Puma. Now ask them to name two or three Indian sports shoe brands. They’ll definitely take time and not many will come up with the answers.
Action shoes had used Sachin Tendulkar in their commercials. Don’t wonder how you missed it. That was more than a decade back when Reebok was just entering the Indian market. Bata India, country’s leading footwear manufacturer is content with in-store branding for its Power sport shoes in their retail stores. Liberty another major Indian footwear player’s Force 10 brand is also not a household name in the segment. Aero group’s Woodland shoes are quite popular in the outdoor and casual wear category but they are not known for their sport shoes.
Nike had bid around Rs 200 crores beating rivals Reebok and Adidas to sign a official kit sponsor deal with BCCI fie years back. With that kind of huge money involving, it’s not easy for the Indian brands to beat the global brands to get the sponsorship deal with BCCI or other IPL teams.
Sports shoes are most commonly used for casual wear. So it’s not necessary to look out for cricket or other major sports events, they can very well target youth centric programmes in TV to get better brand visibility.
Even if the Indian brands are not ready to fight with Nike and Reebok and content with the price-conscious consumer segment with their affordable prices, a better marketing strategy will help them strongly in becoming a mass market player.