Companies may choose to sponsor up-and-coming athletes for many reasons. Endorsements, even on a smaller scale, tend to bring new audiences to brands. Even the events that are not widely televised can attract large crowds of not only participants but also fans who are exposed to brand names on athletes’ shirts (Lesaule & Bouvier, 2017). The audience of fans can be influenced by the lifestyle that they aspire to lead because they trust the reputation of athletes whom they perceive as role models and influences. When receiving new and consistent information about a product, customers are more likely to exhibit an attitude change through direct experiences with the attitudes or objects, which may cause the subjects to behave in a different way.
By sponsoring prospective athletes, such as college football players. Under Armour raises awareness of the brand by making it visible. The brand logo becomes highly visible to fans, competing teams, and the media. The consistent and regular exposure to the brand enables an attitude change in the eyes of potential consumers, which are more likely to consider purchasing Under Armour.
The company makes sure that potential customers can see different models available to achieve high rates of relatability to consumers. It is crucial for Under Armour to be clear and concise with the models that it produces while also aligning with its mission statement of “making all athletes better.” Making the messaging of the brand clear also comes with the promise of Under Armour to fully refund customers if they are dissatisfied with products for any reason. While almost all brands refund unhappy customers, Under Armour makes the message explicit and visible to potential clients (Coursaris, Van Osch, & Balogh McKay, 2016).
As a result of that, consumers are more likely to trust the brand if they know that the company aims to improve the physical activity of its consumers and provide high-quality services and returns, if necessary. The company has shown that by giving consumers a guarantee that a company is dedicated to facilitating an improved quality of life of its customers.
Under Armour has been working on creating a community of customers who share similar approaches and attitudes toward athleticism. Drawing knowledge from the Consideration Set, the social component of wearing Under Armour allows consumers to narrow down their choice of the brand based on the increased brand exposure and beneficial company awareness. As a result, it is possible to attract new fans not only through sponsoring athletes, who tend to have a lot of fans but also with the help of the customer community that generates a lot of content surrounding the brand. User-generated content is highly beneficial for the brand because it contains customer ratings, review images, and videos, all of which create a sense of community.
Affective-cognitive consistency theory, which is one of the attitude change theories, suggests that it is possible to persuade customers to engage in the desired behaviors by offering consistent and positive information about a particular object. For instance, if the affective basis is highly positive while the cognitive basis is highly damaging, then the affective-cognitive consistency is on a low level. Persuasive communication in Under Armour represents the encouragement of the team spirit and the sense of community that potential customers share around the brand. The consistency of relationships within the community can change the affective component of an attitude system through changing the cognitive component of the attitude.
Building a community is vital for brands such as Under Armour because it allows for centering the strategy around bringing consumers together over a topic that they find important and valuable (Gazarkh, 2020). Affective-cognitive consistency theory can also be explained from the perspective of the psychology behind human beings’ need for community. Because people have an innate sense of connection, they are more likely to be influenced by their communities’ preferences and choices. In marketing, the sense of community has been imperative, and Under Armour should use the psychology of communities to promote its products and encourage customers to share their experiences to facilitate ongoing communication.
When it comes to episodic memory, Under Armour uses the trick through sponsoring athletes who wear gear with the brand’s logo, which fans see, remember episodically, and can recollect letters as they see the logo in physical or online stores. Social schemata, which entails the organization of information about social norms and collective patterns of behavior in society, is integrated by the brand by the creation of a sense of community among its customers (Jarymowicz & Szuster, 2016).
Elaboration is exhibited through communicating the value proposition and the benefits of the brand, such as the sense of community and the high quality of products. Finally, nostalgia entails evoking positive memories among potential customers to strengthen bonds between a company and prospective clients. An example of this is Under Armour’s release of athletic shirts that are similar in design to those its target audience would wear in their childhood.
Coursaris, C., Van Osch, W., & Balogh McKay, B. (2016). Informing brand messaging strategies via social media analytics. Online Information Review, 40(1), 6-24. Web.
Gazarkh, M. (2020). 6 strategies for creating value for your customers. Web.
Jarymowicz, M., & Szuster, A. (2016). Self-we-others schemata differentiation as a base for personal agency and social attitudes. Frontiers in Psychology, 7. Web.
Lesaule, M., & Bouvier, M. (2017). The role of athlete’s sponsorship on the marketing strategy of a sports brand. A qualitative study conducted at HEAD France. Web.