Li Ning - Anything Is Possible

4305 Words Apr 25th, 2011 18 Pages
LUC WATHIEU GAO WANG MEDHA SAMANT

Li Ning - Anything is Possible

Sharing Zhang’s belief that a superior level of category leadership was within reach if the Li Ning brand could somehow acquire elements of brand strength equivalent to those associated with the Nike and Adidas names, vice president of marketing Abel Wu was pursuing a marketing strategy aimed at establishing in people’s minds, just in time for the Olympics, a uniquely differentiated position for the Li Ning brand. Chief among Zhang’s concerns at this point was how to integrate Li Ning’s decision-making to ensure that new opportunities could be seized while making the most of the company’s current competitive advantages.

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1 Li Ning 2005 Annual Report, p. 18.
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In 2001, the company announced a conscious decision to become more customer focused, and increased the resources allocated to consumer research and marketing. In June 2004, in preparation for its initial public offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange, Li Ning intensified its efforts to achieve transparency and adopt a coherent vision and system of company values. Brand internationalization was incorporated in the business strategy. Company growth was driven by overall growth in the domestic economy and supported by investments in R&D and a stream of new product launches. With significant improvements in design, especially in footwear, it became possible to extract a price premium, and footwear gained increasing importance in Li Ning’s product mix (Exhibit 3).

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The foundation period was followed by one of high-speed development from 1995 to 1997, during which Li Ning became the dominant domestic sports brand. Over time, the product mix was consolidated and distinct organizations were established around the major product categories of sportswear, leisurewear, and sports footwear. Company headquarters was moved from Guangdong to Beijing. Sports sponsorship remained the main vehicle of marketing communications, and distribution was expanded continuously throughout the PRC via the company’s system of franchised outlets.

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