Following on from the last article, here I’ll explore 3 examples of consumer brands in the sports market that have been able to nail their brand engagement strategies. All of them have the same issue; the bulk of their sales are made through retailers, while only a small percentage of sales are made via direct consumer contact. Each brand has innovatively introduced strategies to augment their core value offering to include extras that link their consumers back to the brand.
Professional sport has experienced a significant increase in technology use to measure sports performance. Now the weekend warriors want a piece of the action too. Adidas has responded to this relatively new area of sport marketing, and has introduced technology to enhance the sporting experience of amateur athletes.
Adidas miCoach is a suite of hardware, online suites and apps that compliments a range of compatible Adidas products. Users sign up for miCoach via the Adidas website, which is free to use. The miCoach system is basically a juiced-up online fitness journal, which tracks your workouts and runs and measures it against your profile. You can keep track of your progress, participate in training programs posted online and publish your results to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. One of the most recent uses for miCoach is the Speed_Cell technology which is compatible with the Adidas football boot range, with an insert being placed into specially designed football boots that measures data that can be downloaded to your computer post match. This has also been extended to other sports like Basketball and distance running. Adidas has utilised its impressive stable of worldwide professional sports stars to really drive the marketing communications behind the miCoach offering.
The miCoach system would require a significant investment to maintain, and to a certain degree is a market following response to the release of the similar Nike/Apple product. miCoach provides an added point of engagement for Adidas and enables the brand to deliver longer term value to consumers and perpetuate the initial consumer relationship.
Along a similar vein to the miCoach product, Nike id essentially extends an offer to consumers that was initially reserved for professional athletes. Responding to consumers’ willingness to pay for products and services that they see on their professional role models, Nike id enables buyers to personalise their products online.
Nike id is a part of the Nike online store, and can is an ordering program that personalises colours and places names and/or emblems on Nike shoes and apparel. The existing online Nike store charges a premium for its products when compared to retail. The Nike id target market is those passionate Nike fans who would be prepared to pay higher prices anyway, who already browse the online store. Therefore, introducing a price skimming product extension to this set of consumers is a relatively low-risk play, as you would expect this segment to take up any new opportunity to make the brand even more personal.
Nike is one of only a small set of brands that elicits a strong connection with consumers, and you would expect that offering a personalisation service to this consumer segment would only drive close brand affiliation further. Nike id offers the added benefit of providing consumers an incentive to purchase directly from the Nike itself, and therefore opens up new channels for engagement.
Callaway Colour is the golf brand’s personalisation service for its new ‘Razr Fit’ Driver golf club. Callaway offers golfers the opportunity to custom-order their drivers to come in a range of different colours. This offer of non-traditional colours from Callaway offers a unique point of difference for the brand, and again cannibalises in-store retail sales for the benefit of generating more sales directly via the brand’s online store. This in turn offers up new engagement opportunities and advertising channels to further entangle golfers in the target market, who traditionally by equipment exclusively from one brand.
Callaway offers users an online ordering platform that reinforces the exclusivity of the customised driver. The colour customisability has also been perpetuated across the other products across Callaway’s product range to further fuel the perception that the consumer is creating his/her own brand identity.
These are all examples of brands embracing a growing trend towards developing deep consumer engagement plans. The marketing activation space is going to continue to develop as brands implement new ways to keep their target markets hooked into the brand over the long term.