Wilson is accelerating its growth in performance tennis

The launch of Roger Federer’s new Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph racket has re-energized the Wilson tennis brand. The launch of the BURN series for Baselines and the BLADE line for Attackers have been highly successful. What’s next? New racket technology for All-Courter segment. 

However you want to measure it, the launch of the Roger Federer´s new racket has been a tremendous success.

”This racket has outperformed all of our competitors´ rackets. Since we launched it in the fourth quarter of 2014, we’ve shipped approximately 175,000 units”, says Hans-Martin Reh, General Manager, Wilson Racquet Sports.

“Working with Roger was a unique opportunity for us. Players at his level rarely switch rackets and I give him a ton of credit for making a racket change at this point in his career. We worked in very close proximity with Roger throughout the process and he collaborated with Wilson on every single detail.”

”To that point, we understand that in order to lead the performance racket market, we need a close working relationship with all of our Wilson players. They give us valuable insight and feedback that inform our line of performance rackets. Simply put, at Wilson the athlete is the heart of the brand and we understand the deep relationship between the athlete and their equipment.”

The result of this deep player insight-based approach is paying off. Sales of the Pro Staff RF 97 line are strong across the globe and product demand is high.
To keep the momentum going, Wilson launched the BURN racket franchise in early 2015.

”Our BURN racket launch has been one of the most, if not the most, integrated launch in our history. We have been very intentional with every aspect of this franchise -- from the construction, to the design, to the graphics, to having Kei Nishikori as the franchise’s ambassador. Every decision about this racket franchise was made with the primary target consumer in mind: the competitive teen player.”

BURN Challenge takes on-court demo to the next level

While the launch of the new Pro Staff RF97 racket utilized social and commercial media at its core very effectively, the launch of the new BURN racket for “baseliners” has been different. This launch emphasized the experience of playing with this new powerful tool.

“We launched a Burn Microsite, supported with digital advertising, to build mass awareness, but our real emphasis has been on our court demo, which we took to the next level. Think of it as a “rock concert” like tennis experience. It´s called the BURN Challenge. All the people who participate in the challenge compete to win a day with Kei Nishikori, current #6 player in the ATP ranking.”

Wilson has a goal of conducting 3,000 BURN Challenge events in 2015.

If you haven’t taken a look at the BURN, you should.  It is youthful, bold and sleek in its design and use of colors. The BURN was engineered for athletes who predominantly play from the baseline; a style of play more and more common among competitive teen players. 

Simple segmentation guides product 
development and marketing

The introduction of the BURN and the BLADE collections follow Wilson's new PlayerID segmentation.

“We have identified three consumer segments that represent today’s players: Baseliner, Attacker, and All-Courter. The system represents a sharper, narrower, more precise approach to product development. It also marks the beginning of a more consumer-centric attitude for Wilson. It is simple, it is consumer friendly, and it speaks the language of tennis. That is why it builds buzz amongst consumers. It really helps them to find the right racket.”

Teen players, who play from the back of the court and want to hit with tremendous power and add a lot of topspin to their shots, will find the BURN, an aggressive racket, particularly exciting.  For Attackers, those big-hitting, attacking-style players seeking aggressive control, the BLADE is their weapon of choice. Current top-ranked players and Wilson Advisory Staff members Serena Williams, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils, David Goffin and Madison Keys play with the BLADE.

The next big product launch in 2015 will be addressed to All-Courters.

“In the second half of 2015, we will introduce an enhanced All-Courter racket that features new technology. The rest of the product family will follow suit in spring 2016.”

Growth from the softgoods

”Our vision is very clear: to be the undisputed leader in tennis. In order to get there we need to lead in performance rackets first -- and we’re getting there. I’m absolutely convinced it will spillover onto our softgoods offerings. We want to build off the consumer’s emotional connection with the brand. And when they think of tennis, we want Wilson to be the first thing that comes to mind.”

“The role of softgoods is very important because the softgoods market is significantly bigger than the hardgoods market. So, telling a 360-degree tennis story is paramount for us and from what I see for us in 2016-2017, we have great innovations in the pipeline and we will come out with good stories.”

Source www.wilson.com/en-us/tennis/  ©

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