Fitness Brands: How to Translate Offline Actions to Online Engagement

 By Alexandra Ostrow

Your sneakers are built for support and speed? Yes.

Your clothing promises all-season protection? Yes.

So you're all set; your brand is guaranteed widespread consumer attention and the word-of-mouth (WOM) endorsement of your current customers, right? Not quite.

In a crowded space where brands are constantly competing for customers' attention, how do you ensure you stay top of mind for consumers? More importantly, how do you keep them engaged with your brand and touting its benefits to their friends?

1. Appeal to your customer on a personal level. Repeated studies have shown the impact that emotions have on customers' purchase intent. In fact, emotionally connected shoppers are four times more likely than a satisfied consumer to shop a particular retailer (Techcrunch, 2012).

2. Create an experience that ties into your customers' everyday routines. Brands that maintain a presence on Facebook can seamlessly integrate within the everyday user experience of over 901 million+ monthly users. This is one of the main reasons marketers are so successful on the platform.  However, there are countless other opportunities to reach your customers in the course of their everyday lives. Focus on providing value at multiple touchpoints along the customer journey. Examples include motivational Instagram images; healthy recipe boards on Pinterest,  in-store digital kiosks featuring workout tips and customer reviews, and more... The possibilities are endless and every one of them can be socialized.

3. Leverage your customers' networks to reach new audiences Another reason for Facebook's success? Its impact on consumer consideration. When a customer interacts with your brand on Facebook, a story is shared across their network of friends. With 69% of Facebook users reporting having liked a brand just because a friend did (Mashable, 2012), your presence on Facebook ensures direct contact with your consumers' audiences.

So... who's doing it right? What fitness brands are creating innovative experiences that seamlessly reach both current and new customers on a personal level?

Saucony: Run4Good Run4Good is a mobile application that allows users to aid in fighting child obesity. By tracking the miles that they run, users are able to raise funds for organizations that keep kids active and healthy. With the launch of this app, not only is Saucony responding to runners' desires to track their physical activity, but they are also empowering them to make an impact on their communities. And through it all, leaderboards and collective goals create a supportive social community with a healthy level of competition.

Nike+ Experience Nike released Nike+, a product that measures users' physical activity, while allowing them to set goals, track their progress, and identify patterns. As they track their movements, they accumulate Nike Fuel, which in turn unlocks awards, trophies, and surprises. To socialize the experience, Nike partnered with Facebook so users could share updates on their workouts, tag friends, and more. In essence, they created a virtual running club, while also acting as an insightful workout partner that rewards users for their actions. Nike Mexico went one step further, when it allowed Facebook fans to bid on Nike products in an auction application, using their Nike Fuel points as currency.

What other fitness brands do you think are doing it right?