How sports brands are leveraging UGC to stand out in a competitive industry

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How sports brands are leveraging UGC to stand out in a competitive industry

The sporting goods industry has grown consistently in recent years. So, it’s safe to say it’s a great moment to be selling sports equipment online. But the growth of the industry also means an increase in competition including the growing need to innovate within the eCommerce space to attract more customers. 

Digital savvy shoppers need more from online brands to trust that their products are worth investing in; this means more information, more engagement, and more compelling content. But in an industry that inspires people to consistently compete and by their personal best, how do brands up their game and improve both their products and strategies?

It’s important to emphasise your reliability, accessibility and practicality to your potential customers – people need to know that they can trust your products during their outdoor expeditions or sports matches as they push themselves and your products to their limits. Furthermore, with so many competitors, sports brands need to inspire customer longevity and brand loyalty. Customers tend to really rely on sports brands that serve them well, trusting that they’ll deliver high-quality products every time. 

Luckily, we know of a strategy that’s already helping sports brands overcome these issues and appeal to their audiences online. That strategy is User Generated Content (UGC), and we’re excited to present 4 examples of sports brands that are successfully using it. 

In this article, we’re going to take a look at how 4 sporting goods brands have adapted their digital marketing strategy to celebrate their customers with UGC so that you can apply a similar strategy to your online marketing actions.

TERNUA: Create a customised shopping journey with UGC

For sustainable outdoor clothing brand, Ternua, their challenge has been not only showcasing a large range of products but demonstrating how effective each is when it comes to outdoor adventures. 

Rock climbing? Mountaineering? Hiking? Skiing? Jogging? Ternua has you covered for all sporting needs. But with such a variety of products, Ternua wanted to demonstrate that the brand was the best choice by showing that their products are thought of as reliable and practical.

So the brand encouraged real customers to share pictures from their outdoor experiences so that they could proudly showcase these photos on their website, displaying a plethora of products in the process. The perks of this are that Ternua can show off their product catalogue in action, as their adventurous customers prove the suitability of the products in all terrains. Nothing is more convincing than seeing a product being used by real people in real situations. 

“We’re a sustainable outdoor brand, but inside of that concept we touch a lot of distinct targets. For example, people that are interested in sports that are more technical like rock climbing and mountaineering, as well as those that enjoy hiking in the mountains or just the use of outdoor style in the city. We’ve made use of the Flowbox Collections so that each target can find the User Generated Content that best fits and tells the story of their specific outdoor passion.”

Asier Balza – Digital Marketing Manager at Ternua Group 

Their UGC strategy was a proven success for Ternua: Asier Balza, Digital Marketing Manager at Ternua Group, reports that without it “only a small part of our content library would reach our customers, bringing with it a consequent loss of business.” And the figures really speak for themselves: Ternua has experienced a 17.19% conversion rate increase and a 6.16% interaction rate increase since integrating UGC.  

While customisation is a huge part of the online buying experience today, there’s another aspect of shopping online that can really funnel customers to purchase: The power of authenticity. In this case, authentically capturing sporting goods in action. 

SCICON SPORTS: Authentically capture sporting goods products where they belong – in action 

Sporting goods brands encounter a notable challenge: traditional professional photos of products against a white backdrop, on models in a studio (or even staged images of them being used in action) lack the ability to accurately capture the level of passion and joy that authentic images do.

Italian sporting goods brand Scicon Sports offers a wide array of top-quality products for cycling enthusiasts, including eyewear, bags, and apparel. Renowned in the cycling industry, the brand boasts the endorsement of esteemed cyclists like Pogacar, Nibali, and Froome, among others. Scicon products are trusted by four UCI Men’s WorldTour teams and two UCI Women’s WorldTour teams, with over 150 professional cyclists, making it the most popular eyewear brand at the Tour de France. 

Cycling is a sport that has an especially devoted and passionate community surrounding it and the authenticity and genuine enthusiasm captured in UGC are unparalleled. This makes it a powerful tool to foster genuine connections and engagement with customers in this particular niche. Whether it’s content featuring professional athletes or amateurs, sporting goods products belong in action. 

This type of content resonates strongly with potential customers, as it reflects genuine experiences and endorsements from fellow sports enthusiasts as well as offering social proof of both product quality and performance, making it more persuasive than traditional marketing content. Christian Pearce shared the brand’s perspective on the impact that real customer photos have in our case study with Scicon Sports:

“In terms of how UGC has changed our platform, it can provide a more dynamic and engaging user experience on our homepage and product detail pages. By featuring real customer photos, potential customers can see how our sunglasses look and perform in real-life situations, leading to an increase in conversions and loyalty.”

Christian Pearce, Global Brand Manager at Scicon Sports

With the help of Flowbox, this authentic consumer content featuring their products captured in action has been seamlessly integrated into their website, appealing to their customer base in a visually captivating and engaging manner. Take a look at the example from Scicon’s website below: 

MUNICH: Harnessing User Generated Content to bolster online community engagement

Unlocking the potential of User Generated Content can be a powerful strategy for sporting goods brands looking to build a stronger digital community. By incorporating content from everyday consumers, businesses can reach a wider audience, foster authenticity, and build trust in their brand. This approach not only amplifies their visibility but also empowers word-of-mouth marketing. Our case study with MUNICH provides an excellent example of how UGC that can be used to bolster online community engagement. 

Established in 1939, MUNICH is a renowned sports and fashion brand catering to both adults and children. The brand caters to those seeking casual athleisure wear shoes as well as those who play a diverse range of sports including, but not limited to, padel, tennis, futsal, handball, field hockey, and soccer. Brands that are attempting to appeal to a wide variety of consumers that are into different sports and activities are faced with the challenge of creating a range of content that speaks to each of those sporting niches.  

MUNICH leveraged well-known individuals like sportspeople, but their message lacked the desired impact. Incorporating content from everyday consumers filled this gap, reaching a wider audience and appealing to the different sporting niches surrounding their brand.

By distributing more content created by everyday people the brand serves to encourage more everyday people to create content featuring their products and tag the brand as well, upping online community engagement. This approach amplified their visibility and empowered word-of-mouth marketing, which in turn functioned to build a stronger online community around their brand. 

“People wear our products with enthusiasm, and we took advantage of all the content they uploaded on social networks to create a community. We have many images of professional players wearing the MUNICH shoes, so it gives the user confidence to see the products being used in professional games. The products can be seen in many different situations, on the street, doing sports, etc. We wanted all this movement to be reflected on the website.”

Andrea de la Mano, Digital Department at MUNICH Sports

Making MUNICH’s online community stronger was a top priority. By incorporating User Generated Content (UGC), the brand strategically focused on enhancing its online presence and showcasing its products in various contexts, ranging from professional athletes wearing them during sports games to everyday consumers incorporating them into their daily lives. This approach provided their digital community with a multifaceted experience, fostering deeper engagement with the brand at different levels. Take a look at the example of how MUNICH’s products are captured in a diverse range of contexts in the UGC below:

OUTNORTH: Collect and analyse valuable content and utilise it across various channels    

In the fast-paced and competitive eCommerce industry, gathering larger volumes of content is crucial for brands to stay relevant, maintain a strong online presence and engage customers effectively. Having a wealth of content allows sporting goods brands to consistently showcase their products, keep up with changing trends, and outperform competitors in the dynamic online market. 

Leading Scandinavian outdoor retailer Outnorth has established a resilient position in the eCommerce industry amidst fierce competition. Operating across multiple European countries and expanding its online presence, the brand recognised the value of leveraging User Generated Content to bolster its social media standing, making it a seamless part of their growth journey. Take a look at some of Outnorth’s stunning UGC below:

As Outnorth’s eCommerce business expanded, their marketing team sought a scalable and intelligent solution to generate content. Leveraging the User Generated Content found on social media was the ideal solution. Outnorth discovered that working with the Flowbox platform means that they can automatically gather larger volumes of this content at the pace needed to compete whilst maintaining time and resources.

By adopting the right UGC platform like Flowbox, eCommerce brands gain the advantage of gathering precise performance measurements for each customer-generated content piece. This attribution of performance metrics like conversion rates to specific images, widgets or videos not only enhances how well brands understand their customers but also empowers the brand to utilise the same content that performs well on their site for social ads, thereby improving overall performance.

“Previously, we haven’t been able to create visual content at a very large scale. With User Generated Content, we can save both time and resources. We’ve always been very data driven and tested different platforms and formats. We saw that UGC performed well on our website and in organic social media channels and thought that it would have a similar effect for ads too.”

Mattias Lund – Performance Marketing Manager at Outnorth

Outnorth are making good use of all of this extra content they can now collect and are wisely distributing it across multiple channels for optimal engagement. The Flowbox platform collects images that are then disseminated and showcased across Outnorth’s various channels, including the website, product pages, and organic and sponsored posts on Facebook and Instagram that are seamlessly integrated through Flowbox’s Facebook ads integration.

Embracing User Generated Content as a sports brand

As illustrated by the sporting goods brands discussed above, User Generated Content is a winning strategy for standing out in a competitive sector.

Through integrating this digital marketing strategy, you can engage with your customers, inspiring them to purchase your products and establishing your brand’s longevity by celebrating your loyal customers.

With such a simple strategy it’s time for you to try it yourself. And we’re here to help!

With Flowbox’s User Generated Content platform, you can easily collect, manage, publish and analyse your customer content for a truly killer strategy. With so many key benefits, it’s really a no-brainer for sports brands. Learn more about our solution by booking a demonstration of our platform.