Surprisingly Bata: The transformation of the ‘nostalgia’ brand journey

It has utilised three thrusts in evolving its brand value and perception.

Heritage footwear brand Bata has been in Thailand for more than 96 years, providing good quality footwear to almost everyone in the country especially the famous school shoes and comfy sandals. Over the period of time, the brand’s utility products, pocket-friendly pricing, and mass distribution strategy helped Bata establish brand value and personality.

Despite this long existence, however, the brand has been facing challenges in its perception and image to associate highly only amongst the mature group of consumers.

As such, the company deemed the need now more than ever to evolve and stay in tune with the times, consumers, and markets. It needed work to be done to lead the brand from “awareness” to being at the top of mind when it comes to footwear. This led them in launching the Surprising Bata campaign to uplift the brand image and perception.

Bata’s strategy and tactical plan fall into three thrusts: revamp the brand communication across touchpoints, especially at the direct-owned stores, drive for the best consumer experience via omnichannel tools, and relaunch the CRM program to retain the loyalty fans.

Under the first objective, the brand positioning has been reviewed and recalibrated to meet the demands of new and emerging consumer profiles. The proposition is crafted and sharpened as 'style with comfort,' which has been expressed and exposed across channels with the new brand mood and tonality.

Along with the new social media strategy to generate perception-changing influencer content on digital platforms, the new concept at the stores has also been introduced to make the point of this brand shift. This resulted in the brand reaching #1 amongst footwear brands in Thailand, and an uplift in store footfall by 67%.

Meanwhile, Bata has worked on making its brand offering to be digitally and contextually relevant. The brand has involved deploying artificial intelligence, automation, and preferences to make personalised recommendations to digital shoppers.

The pandemic led people to explore digital means to fulfil their shopping needs, and now that the lockdown is easing and hybrid shopping behaviours are observed, Bata responded by strengthening its digital capabilities and employing an omnichannel approach to reach the customers.

Lastly, its CRM has also been refreshed to offer more relevant and attractive loyalty programmes on the more convenient platform at LINE chat. The retention has increased from 45% to 70%, and sales also grew ahead of the market to +56% YTD23.

The success of the brand’s Surprisingly Bata campaign has been recognised by the Retail Asia Awards, as Bata took home the Brand Transformation of the Year - Thailand category win. The prestigious awards programme gathers the region's best retailers and recognises major breakthroughs, innovations, and key players in the Asia retail industry.


The Retail Asia Awards is presented by Retail Asia Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2024 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's exceptional products or initiatives in the retail industry, please contact Jane Patiag at [email protected].

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