Under Armour is gearing up for the evolving digital era. The company is reshaping its marketing strategy to actively test out consumer-centric and digital features, especially user-generated content, in an effort to build a stronger bond with customers. Here’s how the makeshift marketing method could help Under Armour stand out in its industry.
While flashy celebrity collaborations can be effective and often winning methods, as Genius brands Nike and Adidas have experienced, that doesn’t mean they’re always the right fit for your brand. Under Armour has been putting a lot of work into building a muscular method of this sort in past years, complete with YouTube promotions featuring high-profile celebrities like supermodel Gisele Bündchen. While these videos certainly garnered tons of views, any brand could do with a dose of authenticity that comes from consumer-led content. In fact, for consumers, “the opinions of their peers and the athletes donning Under Armour’s performance-driven sportswear hold infinitely more weight.” says Patrick Grissinger, senior digital product manager of global e-commerce for the brand. In 2018, Under Armour dipped back down to Gifted from Genius. That said, its new technique, which favors consumer content over celebrity content, including Instagram posts, reviews, and videos, could add to the brand by giving it a more authentic and trustworthy appeal, and thus, a deeper connection with customers.
After $710 million dollars of fitness app acquisitions, in Q3 2017, Under Armour wrote off $45 million dollars in operating expenditures for its connected fitness business—all of the capital that had gone into creating the hardware, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Activewear. The situation reflected an evolving shift in the activewear industry where brands went from betting on hardware (connected fitness wearables) to betting on software (fitness apps). Though the connected fitness investments can offer a trove of customer data, the speculative investments that went toward them were just too much, even for some industry leaders. Under Armour’s new method of recruiting user-generated content would be much more affordable.
While attention-grabbing celebrity partnerships and flashy wearable tech can get brands tons of attention, sometimes what you really need was there all along. Brands looking for a chance to stand out and get a boost on a budget should explore the creativity, wisdom, and guidance of their own consumers.