ACTION SPORTS / MOVING BRANDS

We’re in the lucky position of being able to combine what we love doing with how we earn a living. Some of our favourite projects are where we’ve also combined personal interests with interesting projects – the work with Carhartt and Dare2b for example. We started thinking about the case for why other action and lifestyle sports brands (we’re mostly thinking board sports and bike sports here) should embrace video as part of their marcomm’s and brand building strategies.

Dedicated Consumers

The audiences for the brands in the action and lifestyle sports are dedicated and passionate about the equipment and apparel that allows them to participate in their chosen sport. Because action and board sports are largely individual pursuits the brands that occupy the heartlands of these sports have become incredibly savvy at building communities around their products, their brand ambassadors and their chosen disciplines. These communities are helpful and valuable to the action sports consumer – offering a forum to share and discuss their passion with likeminded people. In forums such as these, ‘social currency’ such as video, whether UGC or professionally produced – as long as it indulges the passion for the sport, for the adventure and for the particular DNA of the associated brand, will be lapped up by the dedicated consumer.

Here’s a few of what we think are good examples of board and action sports brands building strong communities. Look how central video is to how they keep their fans coming back for more

Mullaghmore Head 05/10/2010 from Peter Martin on Vimeo.

Committed brands

Clearly, building strong communities of dedicated consumers is not easy and doesn’t happen quickly. It takes long term commitment, and needs to demonstrate the genuine heart and soul of the brand. Speaking in the right language, knowing what your story is and how you differ from the competition is essential. Establish your brand’s DNA and then commit to building a community around that. It’s this dedication that will ultimately drive the brand (look at Howies, still Cardigan Bay based despite having been bought by, and ultimately bought back from, VF Corporation – and still stitching in the distinctive Cardigan Bay shape into the pocket of their jeans) and it’s why the consumers, and wider public, keep coming back for more.

Why is video so important?

As social media evolves, it’s clear that it’s usage is now much more about ‘sharing’ than simply ‘connecting’. ‘Social currency’ – the value associated with being the first of your group to share a video, a joke, a tip etc – is a major driver in becoming an influential participant in any social network. In this way, brands that curate other videos and social content earn a place as a ‘go-to’ resource for the committed social influencer. Content is king in social media, and video is more likely to be viewed and shared than any other content. And remember, whilst keywords are, well, key, to a strong SEO strategy, YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world after Google, meaning a steady stream of video content will boost your organic search results, and help those who aren’t yet dedicated to your brand to find you.