Transforming a Global
Athletic Apparel Brand

Business Challenge

A global apparel company was facing the following brand health issues:

• Stagnated sales

• Margins lower than competitors

• Marketing spend ineffective at boosting sales

• On-going regression of the brand tracker

• Diminished appeal from wholesale partners

The Director of Insights hired Hotspex to deploy behavioral science-led market research to better understand the root cause of its brand health issues.

The brand was lacking a unified voice and was sending mixed messages to its consumers. This caused confusion with younger audiences and resulted in a loss of market share with this fundamental demographic.

Even when the company decided to increase their marketing spend, sales were not responding. Without a consistent brand voice, short-term conversations were unpredictable, and advertising was only harming their long-term brand image.

The On-Brand Index (OBI)

Our tool helps systematically understand how concepts are building/hurting your brand by using thousands of emotion-bearing words and phrases across six layers of the human psyche, with each stimuli receiving a score based on how well it performs.

The Director of Insights selected Hotspex because of their unique ability to refocus brands by identifying a Brand’s Right Space. The Brand Right Space is identified using Hotspex’s proprietary Emotional Mapping technology, which uncovers an emotional territory that acts as a distinctive, ownable, and profitable brand positioning.

This customized Brand Right Space testing tool is based on this personalized emotional territory and allows the apparel brand to test any stimuli. The testing tool determines (within 24 hours) if ad campaigns, product designs, and even personalities on their celebrity roster are on-brand.

This allows the marketing team to evaluate impact before making an investment, driving up their marketing ROI and significantly reducing missteps. By relying on the emotional territory, the marketing teams could ensure the delivery of consistent messaging across touchpoints and regain market share of the younger demographic.

By delivering actionable insights and providing the team with easy-to-use testing tools, Hotspex helped turn the brand around quickly.

The Brand Right Space tool provided guidance and recommendation to agencies and in-house marketers on various touchpoints across the organization, including:

• Which tone, language and graphics would be best suited for in-store and digital promotions (e.g. selecting e-commerce banners that call-out a sales’ annual or semi-annual nature, versus banners that allude to an “always-on” events).

• Point of sale communications, merchandising, and the design of store mannequins (e.g. placing mannequins in active-wear poses versus inanimate poses to build performance-focused mental associations at the point of sale);

• Which product colors and layouts to feature in print and online advertising (e.g. focusing on specific “pop” colors);

• Which celebrity endorsers should be kept or added to the brand roster and how to activate them more effectively.

Within 6 months of Hotspex delivering the first insights, the brands’ market cap increased by $3.2 billion and their stock price rose by 50%.

The key to driving maximum impact was getting the entire organization and partner agencies aligned to this distinctive brand positioning.

Hotspex ran deployment workshops to over 1000+ marketers globally, to efficiently educate cross-functional teams on what the Brand Right Space is.

These workshops demonstrated the new custom testing tool Hotspex built for the apparel company and how it improves efficiency and consistency by offering immediate feedback on any stimulus.

The customized testing tool was also used in optimizing a new, global campaign, which had the highest testing scores the organization had ever seen. The testing scores helped identify on-brand marketing materials, confirming that the creative was resonating with audiences the way the brand intended.

Since the start of this project, the global athletic apparel brand had already made an enormous leap forward, and this global ad campaign will be critical in the continued reinvigoration of the brand.

“I can’t believe how excited our entire marketing organization is to use this new quick testing tool. The biggest benefit we anticipate is the ability to quickly determine if marketing collateral is motivating to consumers or not and whether it is on or off brand.The simple output measure lets us know immediately if we have a great idea on our hands, but also gives us a warning when might need to optimize further.”
Senior Marketer, Global Athletic Apparel Brand