BOCA RATON, FL: Building a network of in-house advocates and using innovative techniques to present research are among the ways Under Armour's consumer insights team has enhanced its status within the company.

Cassie Lopez, senior manager/consumer insight at Under Armour, discussed this subject at The Market Research Event (TMRE), a conference held by the Institute for International Research (IIR).

And she reported that the organisation's insights function, which was established approximately five years ago, faced a "daunting task" when it came to making an impact at the sporting apparel and accessories firm.

"This is a brand that was founded around people who were the consumers themselves," she said. (For more, including further tips for researchers, read Warc's exclusive report: How consumer insights strengthened Under Armour.)

Given Under Armour's executives possessed strong personal knowledge about their sector, with many having played sports professionally, the brand had typically relied "on gut" in creating or disrupting categories.

The task for Lopez and the company's insights department was to "build buzz" surrounding their work and "change the language" around the business to reflect the new lens being used to understand the consumer.

One part of that process involved fostering in-house advocacy, and a major component of this strategy was helping key leaders tackle pressing problems.

Footwear and marketing were among the units which the insights function prioritised, as they both had an extremely significant role at the firm.

"It's all about building these ambassadors that are going to start championing consumer insights, and if you create wins with them, it's really going to start to help," Lopez said.

Another important aspect of Under Armour's approach has been to present its research in ways best-suited to an internal audience, including designers and very creative professionals.

That has incorporated illustrating its findings with a coffee-table book and demonstrating a segmentation exercise with a physical installation showing the preferred type of room.

Data sourced from Warc