Background

Launched in early 2017, Bara Sportswear is the culmination of almost three years of research & development to find the perfect blend of style and women’s activewear. Bara’s signature features and benefits are based on what the active women wants, blended with Bara’s unique design, while inspired by the natural allure, beauty, and mystery of the Arctic areas of our planet.

In a sector that is becoming increasingly competitive, more saturated, and more promotional than ever, Bara Sportswear’s story is one of true success.

With a vision for unique aesthetic, higher price points, and a sophisticated demographic, Bara’s founders bootstrapped the brand using student loans, and sold all of their stock, consisting of 3 product lines at that time, in the FIRST month after launch, thus validating their product in the market.

Their talent, creativity, and understanding of their market enabled them to showcase their products in beautiful, aspirational photography & video content, telling a compelling story that resonated with their audiences.

After several in-depth discussions with the co-founder of Bara Sportswear, and detailed reviews of Bara’s Facebook ad account & Google analytics data, we uncovered their pain points and advised to begin working together on what we call a Discovery stage.

This is a 3 week trial period with a defined ad spend budget & KPIs. The objective was to market test, in a limited risk approach, if we could truly deliver the return on ad spend (ROAS) Bara was looking for, along with discovering if both sides felt we were the right fit for a long-term engagement.  

As I simply could not drive conversions through Facebook ads anymore, I felt that I wanted to work with North Star Digital from the first moment we talked together, when they outlined their highly logical approach

Bjorn Johnsen - Co-founder - Bara Sportswear

In the first three months of our engagement, we were able to break every one of Bara’s sales records, including daily, weekly and monthly sales. 

The best part? Bara’s sales have reached a stable level WITHOUT investing huge amounts of money in Facebook marketing or relying solely on promotions.

Let’s analyze how we achieved these big wins for Bara Sportswear!

Goal

In the onboarding process, we aimed to:

  • Understand the status quo of Bara’s marketing efforts and their pain points
  • Understand Bara’s unique selling points and the market we would be targeting
  • Analyze the best performing competitors in Bara’s niche
  • Understand where the brand wants to go and provide projections on KPIs/timelines
  • Demonstrate how to achieve the KPIs.

After detailed consultations with the Bara team, we defined the project goals as:

  • Reconstruct and maximize the campaign’s ROAS (return on ad spend) focusing on Bara’s primary market of Norway, with a secondary focus on the rest of Scandinavia
  • Achieve a steady ROAS in the primary & secondary markets that would empower us to penetrate other key markets across the globe at a low cost

With all of this data taken into consideration, we proceeded to create a custom paid ads strategy, set up a/b & multivariate testing to test our visual, copy & audience hypotheses, and gather the data that would inform our future creative design and technical campaign/audience set up.

This would enable us to construct the strongest possible conversion and remarketing campaigns for Bara, allowing the Bara team to focus on what they do best: continue to develop their strategic vision, build an incredible brand, and focus on creating amazing activewear product lines for their customers.

Challenge

1. Understanding the client’s target market

More companies than ever now understand that women want both fashion and function in their gym clothing, and affordably-priced alternatives are everywhere. At North Star, we are data driven decisions makers, so we were further encouraged to tackle this challenging project after initial research indicated that the activewear market had grown 7 percent over the previous year. In the same time, the general apparel market grew only 1 percent.

When considering Bara’s audiences, we asked ourselves, “Does the clothing we wear influence our own behaviour and the way we think and act?” According to a 2012 study, the answer is a firm yes. The researchers coined the term “enclothed cognition” to describe the mental changes that we undergo when we wear certain clothing. “It’s all about the symbolic meaning that you associate with a particular item of clothing,” the researchers said. And they think the study’s results can be applied to many more fields, including activewear and fitness. “It makes sense that when you wear athletic clothing, you become more active and more likely to go to the gym and work out”

We concluded that our target demographic was most receptive to genuinely unique products, displayed in emotional messaging that evokes a desire for encouraging & inspirational experiences. For us, determining the most effective way to combine all of that brought us to the confluence of; messages of encouragement, unique design, limited stock, inspirational experiences, and of course, highly targeted audiences.

2. How did this understanding help us develop campaign strategies?

We had to answer the question of “What kinds of messages, activities and fitness experiences do Bara’s audience want today?”. Our experience in marketing scenarios like this tells us that audiences engage and convert when our client’s brand is defined by experiences.

3. Understand why Bara’s sales campaigns were not being maximized, then reconstruct the conversion and remarketing campaigns based on data-driven decisions

The premium women’s activewear market is notoriously challenging to gain traction in due to the saturation of major & niche competitors. We recognized that Bara’s campaign setup was severely restricting their potential reach due to inefficient campaign structures and audience setup. At this stage, it was about identifying the problem areas and then implementing our best practices to set ourselves up for success.

4. Aggressively test our hypotheses for ad copy, design & audiences to find out what messages resonate with Bara’s audiences and lead to conversions

As a relatively new player in the activewear scene, a major challenge was to bring Bara Sportswear to the attention of the best converting audiences on Facebook. In order to ensure our engagement was successful, we needed to reach our conversion goals. Finding the right audience, with the right messages, and serving them in the right way, was vitally important to the success of the project.

 

Let’s see how we solved all these complex challenges.

Solution

1. Discovery Stage

First off, we started the 3-week discovery stage that would provide us with market acquired data, enabling us to determine the feasibility of a long-term engagement based on results. We leveraged our proven strategies to achieve near-term conversion wins, while also setting our client and ourselves up for long-term success based on the data obtained in the discovery stage.

2. Transition to Ongoing Facebook Paid Ads Management

At this point, it was clear we could make a significant positive impact on Bara’s bottom line. Together, we reviewed the paid ads approach, set new goals and plans for upcoming product lines, promotional periods & major events. Just as important as the hard numbers, it was clear we also really enjoyed working together on such a cool project.

3. Assessment

Thirdly, we frequently assessed the plans, problems and progress of the campaigns together.

Here’s the key testing items:

  • Test different copy/ banners/ videos
  • Test different ad formats & languages
  • Test different platforms (IG, FB, Messenger) and audiences
  • Test different countries for International market penetration

Here’s the key data points we uncovered:

  • Mobile was the primary source of Bara’s conversions, this follows the trend Facebook is shifting to
  • Carousel ads & Instagram banners worked best for promotion campaigns, whereas video campaigns showed best results in times off-promotion
  • Recurring promotions played a key role in attracting new customers that will then have a huge lifetime value (LTV)
  • Bara’s high-quality product lines & customer service result in repeat customers, some customers returning to buy up to 7x a year
  • January/ New Year turned out to be an even more lucrative time than the pre-Christmas time
  • Demographic audience played a crucial part in penetrating the very limited Norwegian market and limited lookalike audience size
  • Every market/ country works different

Let’s see what kind of results we were able to achieve.

They are not only experts in Facebook marketing, they are also really nice to work with. We would recommend North Star Digital to anyone struggling with Facebook ads

Bjorn Johnsen - Co-founder - Bara Sportswear

Results

You can the see incredible impact Facebook marketing has had on Bara Sportwear’s website traffic from the report below. Over %50 of all Bara’s traffic comes from social media, %100 of that is from Facebook!

Within only 12 weeks of work we were able to:

  • Break Bara’s sales records for units sold in one day
  • Break Bara’s sales records for units sold in one week
  • Break Bara’s sales records for units sold in one month
  • Break Bara’s sales records for units sold in each of these promotional periods (for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Years, January Sales)
  • 32% increase in sales in the first 3 months of our campaigns vs the 3 previous months of their in-house campaigns.

Our paid advertising started to turn in the right direction immediately after North Star took over

Bjorn Johnsen - Co-founder - Bara Sportswear

 

The Future

With an established customer base, smooth production/distribution, and marketing that works, Bara Sportswear is now in an incredibly strong position to accelerate their success. The main challenge is to replicate their success in international markets by focusing on strengthening their brand, providing an even easier shopping experience, and creating even more excellent products.

For us, we’re excited to continue executing and improving our repeatable process for deploying Facebook ads that drive Bara’s sales in their established markets and beyond!

North Star helped get us back on track with our advertising. Working with these guys has been an awesome experience.

Bjorn Johnsen - Co-founder - Bara Sportswear