In his interview, Garceau asked Nasard about the company’s new direction, and the focus on “Angela,” Bata’s target customer. Nasard explained Bata’s strategy in terms of its new collections, and areas of innovation, highlighting the way in which Bata continues to remain on trend in each country in which it is present around the world.
Below is an edited version of the article:
There’s a buzz inside Bata Philippines’ flagship store inside SM Megamall, and it’s not just because of the celebs gathered around. True, the racks are lined with summer sandals and athletic gear, pumps and loafers that have made the century-old Czech shoe brand popular enough to open 3,000 stores in Asia alone. But it’s when I talk with Bata Group CEO Alexis Nasard that I realize what the buzz is about: It’s the shoes, baby.
While many generational brands lose the thread of modern fashion, Bata stays on top of trends. A look at the Spring/Summer offering confirms this: for women, there’s the Summer Glam collection, with styles like Coachella, Full Bloom, All That Glitters, Classy and Pretty Pastels offering relaxed hues decorated with bling, flowers, denim, lace and metallics. And for guys, there’s Boy Next Door, a “rugged yet sophisticated” line, and Sorrento, inspired by relaxed Mediterranean comfort.
Nasard notes that legacy brands are sometimes perceived as too traditional. Not this brand. “We have a marketing slogan: ‘Bringing the swagger to Bata,’” he says. The colors and styles are sassy and young, and they’re right on trend with men’s styles these days. “For men, athleisure is increasingly gaining ground globally. We still have dress shoes and sandals, but athleisure, and comfort-related technology, is where we’re growing.” A glance at Bata’s cool dress sneakers in rugged, sporty shades confirms this.
For women, Bata has a new game in mind: “comfort technology” via Insolia. “It alleviates a lot of pressure from the back of women’s high heel shoes,” says Nasard. “When you wear high heels, 80 percent of your weight is at the front of the foot, so the back has to offset that. Insolia balances that weight 50-50, back to front, so women can walk straight. Our goal for women is to make sexy comfortable and comfortable sexy.”
I ask how they manage to pinpoint market research for so many countries, from West to East. “Part of our marketing is to attract our target consumer – whose name is Angela, by the way,” says Nasard. “We have a very clear definition of Angela. Once you design for who she is, you start putting yourself in her shoes. Otherwise, she becomes just a statistic.”
Bata knows Angela’s age (she’s 35), her marital status, that she has two kids, works at a government administration, and she chooses public transportation to go to work. That’s a pretty specific consumer profile. “She represents 30 percent of our business today, but we only represent 20 percent of her wallet: shoes! So we have plenty of opportunities to grow with her.”
Not only that, but she likes to talk about her shoes. “We have an opportunity to grow because she’s an advocate: she’s a very social person, she’s going to talk about our brand to other people.”
Nasard clues me in on another fact about marketing, this time concerning men: “We know Angela has a high influence on the purchase patterns of her husband, because in that socioeconomic category, men are highly influenced by their wives. This is the kind of guy that the wife buys their clothes. When you go into the super-super-premium category, that is never the case.”
True, Bata shoes are not so high end that you won’t want to buy more than one pair. “We call it ‘smart pricing.’ We make sure our shoes remain surprisingly affordable,” say Nasard. And this much is also true: women do, indeed, steer men in their purchases, as I learned a few days later, when my wife came along to help me select my own pair of Bata shoes.
The full article is available to read here.