Novak Djokovic's shirt? That's not a Nike swoosh. And it's not an Adidas striped logo. No, it's the logo of a company that's clawing its way to higher visibility, one celeb endorsement at a time: Uniqlo, the Japan-based retailer of clothing that is in the middle of a multiyear marketing plan for international expansion.
Golfer Adam Scott, winner of the 2013 Masters, also wears Uniqlo's red patch, along with top athletes from Japan. These high-profile athletes make appearances on behalf of Uniqlo and lend cachet to the company's value-priced, chicly basic tops/bottoms and performance apparel.
A decade ago, Uniqlo's global expansion hit some bumps in the US and China, but today, the company has a fresh start in both markets. It is about to build its largest flagship store in Shanghai, part of the push to expand beyond 200 stores in China.
Uniqlo's long-term goal is to become the top retailer of casual clothing in the US, an audacious goal supported by the deep pockets of parent Fast Retailing. With a handful of suburban mall stores and a growing downtown presence, plus a US e-commerce site, the company is aiming to boost US sales dramatically during the next couple of years so it can achieve profitability in this market.
Watch for Uniqlo all over the world. It already has a joint venture to open in Bangladesh and a separate joint venture for Indonesia.
For more, follow Uniqlo's US marketing messages on Facebook (384,000 likes) and Twitter (20,000 followers).