NEW YORK: New Balance, the sporting goods company, believes that reaching “gamechangers” – an audience mostly falling within the 14–24-year-old demographic – can have knock-on benefits in engaging other key consumer cohorts.

Pat Cassidy, Head/Global Gamechanger Consumer Group at New Balance, discussed this subject during a session at the ad:tech New York conference.

And he reported that alongside “gamechangers”, New Balance’s main targets are “metropolitan consumers” (city-dwelling adults who are socially minded and digitally empowered) and “style seekers” (a high-fashion, hipster crowd).

“Gamechangers”, he added, do “not want to be advertised at, or talked to, by a brand – especially one that they may or may not even know. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: New Balance’s secret for reaching youthful “gamechangers”.)

“They’re tough; they’re influential; they influence up to those other consumer groups that we have.”

On the one hand, Cassidy’s youthful target is comprised of “ultra-digitally savvy” individuals with a passion for sport, and who spend vast amounts of time using social media, mobile-messaging apps, and similar platforms on a daily basis.

In theory, that should present brands like New Balance with ample opportunity to reach them via paid-for and organic means alike.

But a major marketing hurdle exists: countless firms want to associate their products with this “young, fast and cool” customer segment.

“The average person sees between 5,000 and 10,000 brand messages a day. The younger, digitally-savvy kid who is also following thousands of accounts on social media, and is buried on the phone all day, probably sees way more than that,” Cassidy said.

Identifying tactics that can cut through this clutter successfully, Cassidy continued, is a far from simple undertaking for brands to achieve.

“It’s not easy … trying to figure out how to engage with these kids around the world and make them think that we’re a cool, cool sports brand,” he said. “What do I have at my fingertips that can start that conversation in an authentic way?”

In answering that question, New Balance has tapped its stable of thousands of athletes, from 30 sports, and told their powerful stories rather than solely focusing on its products.

“Traditionally, we had not really leveraged our sports-marketing investments in athletes to the extent we probably should have,” Cassidy said.

Sourced from WARC