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UA HOVR is Finally Here and It Should Win

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Learn about UA HOVR, our latest shoe cushioning technology. It’s the zero-gravity feel that makes these the best cushioned running shoes you’ve ever put on.

Source: UA HOVR | Under Armour

I’ve been hearing and seeing HOVR for over a year now. I haven’t had my chance to physically see the shoes so I can’t provide my judgment in regard to that, but the roll out of this shoe has been symptomatic of the problems with UA. The brand dropped the shoes into the hands of the running community first. There have been reviews of the product over the last few months and some bloggers and vloggers have had them for as long as a year. There wasn’t anything available on the UA website or the social media channels during the process although runners loved the tech.

During this time the tech specs and story wasn’t available anywhere. It hasn’t been featured in the most successful shoe for the brand in the Curry (I guess that’s okay though since the tech is new and most new tech is dropped in running shoes first), but for Under Armour they don’t have the ability to wait to bring great tech to their best sellers. Which is another discussion point.

Now that the shoes are finally being advertised on the site, there isn’t any discussion on the creator of the tech. Even if the creator was by committee their story isn’t being told. The brand did something that they thought would cater to sneakerheads and performance. They gave pairs to people at Complex and Weartesters, and to guys like Jacque Slade. They also gave pairs to the running community who then shared the performance of the shoes, but still there wasn’t anywhere for the brand to connect with the consumer. There should have been small roll outs of information on the shoes in outlets and via short videos throughout the year. Something to build the community around a GR release.

The sneaker unboxing vlogs earned considerable views, but without a landing page or info page for sign up or opportunity to purchase early for members of an app, there was a considerable missed opportunity.

Now this video arrives and it’s a standard “insert music with running people who are all beautiful and shoes that shine,” but there isn’t any substance. I will be the first to admit, that with the Curry 4, Drive 4 and Slingflex Rise and Threadborne, Under Armour’s footwear has been hitting more than missing.

A quick look at my E.N.D.E.A.R.S© will show how and where UA is missing and how they could fix this launch quickly.

Educate the consumer and the athlete about the process that is being started (internal education and external education).

Notate and document the creation process and the discovery process (the athlete is educated and shares via their social a more informed story and the company shares the story via their site).

Designer is just as important as the athlete. The story of how the idea was generated is shared and analyzed by the company’s content creators (designer and athlete create a three headed content distribution team).

Entertain the consumer with important facts. The assumption that the consumer can be influenced with a poster or by the word of the athlete is a myth in today’s environment. The consumer is smart and if they are treated as such then they gain respect for the creation.

Athlete or artist or advocate whoever the person is in the development process all have to deliver the message. This is an extension of the Notate process.

Reason with the consumer and by giving the reason, what has been created is important and the consumer might buy it. At least you(the brand in this instance) creates the likelihood that the consumer will be engaged.

Story is vital. The entire process is the story and the end result whether a product, mission or idea is conveyed via the process and the story the process has created.

If we use this checklist to see if Under Armour has entered the market correctly we see that they’ve only met one area with their presentation of HOVR: Reason.

That simply isn’t enough in an environment where the consumer is the smartest that they have ever been. I think that this shoe is actually more athletic and casual than any shoe UA has created, but we don’t know that and we aren’t being shown that. I do like that they are finally utilizing the splash page as they have traditionally failed to do so, but this is a brand that has been downgraded by analysts on the stock market. The brand is ignored by consumers as an option for buying and the premium lifestyle is undermined by the discount locations the brand is sold. When you consider that a brand that has the greatest players in every sport is failing to utilize these guys and women, it becomes clear Under Armour is listening to people who think that product wins by itself. It doesn’t and it’s a shame because this may be the best looking product to ever come out of UA.

Note: When Roger Federer won his 20th Grand Slam he immediately changed into the Nike Epic React Flyknit; Nike’s newest running shoe. Under Armour endorses the two Super Bowl QB’s and neither has been photographed in the HOVR.  Product launches are about timing, product, timing and marketing.