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Actionable insights and meaningful metrics form the foundation of all great marketing campaigns. With this in mind, we headed to the home of Red Bull in London and brought together some of the most important names in the sports industry to share how insights drive their own brand strategy and how we as marketeers, can use data to really take our marketing to the next level.

Core themes presented on the day:

  • No Rules Marketing – presented by Brandwave
  • Using Gen Z Insight to Drive Brand Strategy – shared by Les Mills
  • A Year in Sport, Utilising Data to Create Successful Activations & Campaigns – shared by Strava
  • From Napkin to National News, Turning Insights Into Great Partnerships – presented by Red Bull

We were joined on the day by 80+ people from over 60 brands within the sports and outdoor industry, including:

These six principles can be summarised below: 

  1. Ask Stupid Questions – Assumptions are not effective. Use actionable insights and meaningful metrics. The better we know our audience, the better we can tailor our marketing. 
  2. Be Obscure – You don’t always have to be logical. People buy 80% for emotional reasons. Great marketing campaigns tap into the way a product or brand makes us feel. Use what you know about your audience and think “hearts before heads”. 
  3. Fail More – Fear of failure is the biggest inhibitor of creativity. A certain level of failure is an inherent part of success. The greatest risk is not to fail, it is not to try – so fail fast, learn and move on to better things! 
  4. Cheat at all Costs – Prioritise growth hacking and using other people’s audiences to boost reach.
  5. Start a Fight – Customers want to align with brands who share their values. There’s no point defining your values unless you are prepared to articulate them. Purpose led brands can stand out, even if their product is undifferentiated from their competitors.
  6. Do Less – Channel your focus. Don’t spread your budget too thinly – advertise for PR. 

Next up on stage was Jak Phillips – Global Content & PR Director & Amy Smith – Global Head of Club Marketing (both seen above) from Les Mills. The subject? Gen Z Fitness: Cracking the Code.

Highlighting the challenge for brands within our industry, Jak shared the reasons as to why Les Mills, like many others, wanted to crack the code of the new buying generation and explained how they set about trying to understand the Gen Z landscape, how Gen Z are working out and what Gen Z want and need from a fitness experience.

Some of the key learnings drawn from this survey around Gen Z and their behaviors were:

  • They are globally conscious and care deeply about diversity, equality and inclusion.
  • They’re digitally connected and trend-savvy. 
  • 55% of Gen Z spend more than 5 hours a day on their phones.
  • They crave connection and community.

And here are some quick statistics:

‘Gen Z Fitness: Cracking the code’ Report

Amy said she quickly gleaned how “Gen Z are arguably the most active generation ever… and they’re only just getting started”.

Looking at insights around barriers, Les Mills have shown that there is a need for an “Omnifitness” approach to suit the needs of this generation, with 72% of regular exercisers working out at home and at the gym. This justifies a requirement for both live and digital workout options if we are to reach exercisers anytime, anywhere. 

With any quantitative / qualitative data, it’s all well and good having it – but how it’s used can really make the difference. For Les Mills, they highlighted five key areas that have evolved within their marketing strategy as a result of their study: 

  1. Brand Platform – insights showed Les Mills that a high percentage of Gen Z related them to ‘a body pump class their mum might do’ – so they worked on a new platform which would resonate with this new target audience. 
  2. Product Innovation – how they create and deliver products. 
  3. Partnerships – working with a broad range of partners to win Gen Z attention e.g. Meta and adidas.
  4. Influencers – how Les Mills show up through Gen Z relevant Influencers.
  5. Event Strategy – keeping them authentic to locations and communities.

After the success of an earlier Brandwave Coffee Bar in partnership with Strava, we welcomed Evelina (pictured above), Director of Brand Partnerships at Strava, back to share some more insights for us from the latest Strava Year in Sport Report. 

Traditionally a cycling app, Strava shifted their focus to running and now find themselves being a true multi-sport application, with a community of over 120 million users across 190 countries. With 40 million activities logged each week, it’s safe to say they have one of the largest data sets of sport enthusiasts out there! 

Some of the most interesting statistics shared from their data can be seen below: 

‘Year In Sport Trend Report: Insights on the World of Exercise’

Annual report aside, Strava offer brands and businesses the opportunity to connect with their audience via sponsored challenges, sponsored segments and branded content across the platform, email and social. But its not all about the formal agreements! Brands can also use Strava to gain their own insights via clubs, gear, ambassadors and integrations. 

Evelina also shared some interesting examples of how brands have used their platform to create awareness. Take Chipotle’s ‘Run for Burritos’ campaign, where they sponsored a handful of Strava segments outside of Chipotle restaurants across the US, for example. The message was simple, Run to Chipotle and finish the segment and you’ll receive free guacamole with your order. The sweet kicker though… run it more times than anyone else and you’ll get free Chipotle for a year. The campaign unsurprisingly resulted in a huge uplift for the brand. 

And that’s a wrap. A massive thanks to each and everyone who made the event so successful.

Special shout-outs to our speakers for giving us a glimpse of how insights drive their own brand strategies and how we can do the same within our own brands.

Finally, a huge thanks to Red Bull for letting us take over their London HQ for the day and for providing an event space that’s without doubt, second to none. 

Josie Fabian