Uniqlo: A Marketing 50 Case Study

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Photo: Tony Pettinato
Establishing a logo-averse Japanese clothing brand takes some ingenuity. Doing it on a shoestring budget in the world's most label-conscious country also takes guts.

That's the mission of soft-spoken Jean-Emmanuel Shein, marketing manager of Uniqlo USA. Japan-based Uniqlo has more than 700 stores but only one in the U.S. -- its global flagship store in New York's SoHo. The retailer had a hit this year with "Uniqlock," a digital-clock widget featuring a series of Uniqlo-clad dancers; it won the cyber and titanium Grand Prix at Cannes.

"We don't do it to win awards," says Mr. Shein, a 12-year veteran of Uniqlo. He says such wins are simply nice validation. "The goal is to energize customers and generate sales."

Such innovations are key to advancing the Uniqlo brand, since the marketer doesn't plaster its apparel with the huge logos so common among other retailers in the U.S.

Mr. Shein, 43, also has helped drive word-of-mouth with a futuristic robot in the New York store. The idea is to encourage visitors to stay longer and buy something. "Our last research showed 95% of customers said they'd come back again," he says.
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