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In the last year I’ve taken the time to analyze brand websites and look to see where some changes could enhance the platforms. I’ve been extremely critical of Under Armour. The brand has a stable of athletes at its disposal yet the marketing team who created the #UnlikeAny campaign can’t be the same team who handles the website and content creation for the brand overall.
There is a small detail that has always angered me when I look at UA’s drop off in interest. It’s a detail that Nike and the other brands seem to understand that everyone seems determined to ignore. Not just UA, but most brands. Brands have left the marketing and voice of their campaigns up to social media and influencers. The brands that are gaining ground and performing very well in this difficult retail environment are the brands who have taken a serious effort to control their narrative. In the last year or so these brands have used their website as the foundation of information about the brand:
Nike created air.jordan.com (from 103K in May to 223K in the last 6 months, the site was launched just this year) and Nike News (1.38 Million visits in August) as well as SNKRs. All sites that are indexed and searchable on search engines. These indexed websites allow for the organic growth of traffic on the company platforms.
ASICS created Onitsuka Magazine (183K visits in August), VOICES on the ASICS Tiger (660K visits in August) and Onitsuka websites and these content creators are becoming destination sites for the brands.
New Balance added Pressbox. It’s not garnering considerable traffic as the blog was just created last year and it is being heavily under utilized. BUT it’s there. They are also using a Lifestyle section for their main site featuring releases and IG pics.
adidas started their News site (200K visits in August) and GamePlan A (168K visits in August – this site was just launched this year)
I could continue to analyze this by looking at Saucony and smaller brands like Newton, but you get the picture. Brands that are controlling their narrative and using the website as the foundation of the information are reaching more people. This is about UA and what I noticed in the last two weeks.
I wrote that the brand could be more effective at marketing by utilizing their athletes, and focusing on the niche categories available to them. They have done this very well. They’ve focused on their boxing stars a lot more. Instead of relying on stale, stylized pics of models in the UA gear their homepage is featuring the athletes in the gear. Note the picture above of Anthony Joshua. They have also updated the homepage with a feed from PIXLEE. Now I would usually have a negative comment about a brand utilizing software from a third party when they are a billion dollar company, but this is an instance where I’m just happy to see the changes. UA recently listed a position for Copywriter which leads me to believe that they’ve seen how GamePlan A has worked for adidas and they will be launching a platform soon. This is a good thing. Check out the job listing by clicking this link. UA seems to finally be gearing up for some solid longterm moves and now is the time. The opening at retail left by Nike’s Consumer Direct allows for a serious merchandising and marketing opportunity for UA. Their website is primed for growth if they begin to take the development more seriously. It looks like they are going to start capitalizing on both aspects.