Albin Johansson, co-founder and CEO of the Swedish sneaker brand Axel Arigato, is ready to break the mold.
In a panel discussion at the FN CEO Summit in Miami today, the young entrepreneur talked about changing consumer habits and how footwear brands should adapt their marketing practices to tap an increasingly distracted consumer.
Originally launched in 2014 with a direct-to-consumer model, Axel Arigato has since expanded its presence and is now carried by select retailers like Net-a-Porter. Though Johansson sees benefits in strategic retail partnerships, he also spoke of the pros to adapting a direct-to-consumer format. “You can offer a more accessible price point, and you’re more flexible to make quicker decisions,” he said.
Johansson touched on how the brand tapped social media to grow an organic audience, utilizing platforms like Instagram and Facebook. “By the day we launched our product, we had 3,000 followers on Instagram,” he said.
In a digital age where consumers are inundated with content, Johansson also said footwear brands need to constantly reinforce their story and product. “The average attention span in 2015 was 8 seconds,” he said. “If I were marketing to a goldfish, I would have nine seconds.”
To counter consumer distraction, Axel Arigato recently launched a Drop of the Week program, where new product is launched on the site weekly. “By doing this, we’re giving customers a reason to come back,” he said. “You need to constantly show what you stand for, because you can be sure your competitors are.”
Johansson also spoke of the luxury climate today and the need for eye-catching packaging and in-store services.“Luxury is scarcity,” he said. “Consumers want something that not everyone can get.” His stores in London and Stockholm are focused on offering an experience — there are no tills — and they often serve as event spaces for other brands, too.