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Uniqlo rallies its marketing around core values of diversity and R&D

Uniqlo has enlisted tennis star Roger Federer for its Lifewear campaign

Uniqlo’s latest campaign for its Lifewear range stars sporting names Roger Federer and Anna-Carin Ahlquist and artists such as Futura, but the focus on R&D and diversity is driving the strategy. The Drum finds out what’s behind this action.

Uniqlo’s mission is to “improve the lives of everyone through clothes,” according to Singapore marketing director Joyce Tan, and this is the crux of its current marketing strategy. The result of this is a major campaign for the Lifewear range of clothing, which centers on the message of ‘made for all’.

“Innovation is heralded as Uniqlo’s number one priority. Our Lifewear is high-quality, innovative clothing that is universal in design and comfort. It is our mission to improve the lives of everyone through clothes,” explains Tan.

As a brand, this means understanding what customers want out of products by using the connections the company has created with people online. This is then fed into the R&D cycle.

“We leverage today’s increasingly digital world to communicate directly with customers and quickly transform their desires into actual products. Our R&D centers constantly research the latest in new materials and global fashion while developing products to satisfy customers’ evolving needs. Some of our innovations include producing clothing made from recycled down, as well as polyester made from recycled PET bottles, as part of our partnership with Toray,” she adds.

In terms of how this translates into a marketing campaign, Tan says the guiding principle of good design, and communicating the core values of the brand, has taken center stage.

“Lifewear epitomizes Uniqlo’s belief that rational and excellent design, as well as the best in modern production techniques, creates perfect high-quality and affordable clothing that meets the needs of everyone’s daily lifestyles. This practical philosophy underscores how Uniqlo views the world, and Lifewear guides the company in everything it does – from creating thoughtful, life-improving clothing to its efforts around sustainability and community engagement,” she says.

The brand has enlisted the help of some famous names to do this, as well as some core talent from within the business. The selection process, overall, was underscored by diversity. The range of personalities and backgrounds of the selected talent was intentional, to show that this range is something that anyone can wear.

The campaign features tennis legend Roger Federer, renowned NYC artist Futura, Uniqlo Team Sweden’s table tennis champ Anna-Carin Ahlquist, Uniqlo U artistic director Christophe Lemaire of the Uniqlo Paris R&D Center, Uniqlo’s European director of sustainability Maria Samoto le Dous, the company’s social mission partners, and other voices from all over the globe.

“Individuals from all over the world and from differing backgrounds are invited to share their thoughts – a testament to Uniqlo’s promotion of diversity and inclusivity. Through their eyes, this shows how Lifewear is relevant to everyone, everywhere, in ever-changing everyday situations,” explains Tan.

As for what’s next for the campaign, the goal will be to share the philosophy around R&D and diversity. A new part of this will be a bi-annual Lifewear magazine, which will tell stories behind the brand’s manufacturing, aesthetics, product functionality and design.

While many brands are looking to diversity and purpose-led strategies for marketing to build relationships with consumers, the key to succeeding is to act on these themes. Using the story of its R&D development alongside this could be smart as it shows Uniqlo is investing in areas such as sustainability.

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