3 secrets for building brand loyalty among athletes

4 minute read

Choosing a pair of shoes is not an easy task. You’ve probably already found yourself standing in front of a mirror in a shoes store for long minutes with a different shoe in each foot. During this fateful moment, you are certainly asking yourself these two questions:

“Do I look good? Do I feel good?’’

For the sport community, the choice is often much more complex. From shoes to helmet, athletes are demanding and need to consider criteria other than comfort or style. Except that a demanding customer generally becomes a loyal customer when he is won over… and customer loyalty allows companies to significantly reduce marketing costs, according to a study by Jamali Nejad, a researcher at the University of Tehran, quoted in the International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences.

What makes an athlete fall for one brand over another? What are the most important criteria for sportsmen and women?

Building a reputation in a sport or community is a big task. It requires time, investment and consistency.

Here are a few secrets for your brand to build loyalty with an athlete. 

1. Choosing worthy representatives

What first and foremost convinces a sports enthusiast is very often the influence of a renowned athlete. 

The world of sports sponsorship can sometimes be a real jungle. Every athlete wants to be sponsored to receive free products, but brands must choose their worthy representatives wisely. An athlete with a solid reputation will certainly take the brand to another level. This is true in any sport. Professional snowboarder Sébastien Toutant, before he himself was sponsored by Nike, O’Neill and Oakley, was influenced by the skaters he idolized.

‘’The athletes who inspired me certainly played a big role in the brands I would choose,” says the gold medalist in the Big Air event at the last Olympic Games. The shoes of the skateboarders that I liked, I definitely tended to want to wear those brands.” 

Maxim Garant-Rousseau, a former pro longboarder and cycling veteran, believes the same thing. According to him, the reputation comes through legitimacy. And a famous sportsman can instantly put his certification on a brand.

‘’If a rider is legit and starts using a product that I don’t know, but the guy is super famous, I’ll probably want to try it,” he says. 

2. Quality and safety

Having participated in numerous races across America under the iBike boutique’s colours, Garant-Rousseau believes that security is one of the most important criteria to consider in order to gain the loyalty of a potential customer. Especially in the world of action sports.

‘’If you compare Chinese carbon bike parts versus parts of a strong brand like Easton, for example, the choice is clear,” he explains. I wouldn’t buy a handlebar from a brand I don’t know at half the price, because I would be afraid it would break.’’ 

“A helmet company is another example. I had a concussion, so the helmet I bought afterwards was a lot safer. The same goes for all the parts, in fact… imagine your wheels dropping at 80 km/h! It’s just not an option.” 

3. Style AND comfort

Obviously, style is very important. Whether it’s in terms of equipment or clothing, the look can help convince a sportsperson to choose you over another brand. After all, “when you look good, you feel good! “.

Except that style and comfort go hand in hand.

‘’Of course, style and comfort are very important,” says Toutant. When you’re playing sports, the comfort and feel of the shoe is really important in terms of performance. But when it’s more about lifestyle, I like to have shoes that stand out from the rest, with unusual patterns and colors.’’

Being able to seduce a sportsman or woman takes a perfect storm. 

Whether it’s specific equipment or everyday products such as telephones, snacks or even services, athletes are demanding, but they are loyal. Then, as mentioned earlier, a loyal clientele can significantly reduce marketing costs.

You have to be able to offer stylish, yet comfortable products. You have to offer quality and safe products. And above all, you have to find the right faces to make your brand shine to match your ambitions.

Speaking of faces from the world of sports, we’re planning a big surprise for you next week. We’ll have the chance to introduce you to new characters in a very special context… yes, it’s vague, but subscribe to our newsletter to find out everything before anyone else!