Skateboarders, in general, have always looked down on corporate companies stepping in and selling products in the skateboard community. Throughout the years, corporate companies such as Reebok and K Swiss have tried breaking into the skate scene to earn a piece of its market share, but have been unsuccessful in earning the interest or respect of skateboarders—until recently. What was once an elusive demographic that pushed away marketing efforts by “the Man” has now been courted. Somehow, a number of companies have figured out how to successfully enter into the skateboard industry and dominate.
Below is a graph comparing corporate company Adidas vs core skateboard company Emerica (specializing in skateboard footwear) on a global level. In 2004, Emerica was the go-to company for skateboard footwear, leaving Adidas in the dust, but now the tables have completely turned. The question now is, how did this switch in brand visibility occur?
Let’s take a deeper dive into how a variety of these corporate brands successfully acquired a piece of the skateboarding market share.
The first strategy several corporate companies have adopted is investing heavily into an influencer program to earn the respect and confidence of many skateboarders. Companies such as Nike and Mountain Dew have sponsored some of the most well-known skateboarders in the industry. Famous names such as Eric Koston, Paul Rodriguez, and Sean Malto have hugely helped these companies become the favored brands they are today. From doing flip tricks thought to be impossible, to grinding death-defying handrails, these influencers have positioned their sponsor companies as brands that are pushing skateboard abilities to new levels.
In marketing, they say “content is king,” and that’s exactly what these companies have established. They created pieces of content that have grabbed the attention of skateboarders all over the world. Corporate footwear companies such as Nike, Adidas, and New Balance have created visually appealing videos with the use of premium camera equipment, traveling the world to unique locations while incorporating talented skateboarding. And these pieces of content are being admired by skateboarders all over the world. For example, Adidas created a video titled New Stripes to help promote their new additions of skateboarding influencers. This video helped Adidas drive skateboarders deeper into the customer funnel to become huge fans of the brand. A variety of core skateboard brands have existed for years, but eventually were driven out of business because they could not compete with content creation of corporate companies. Excessive amounts of skateboarding content is created every single day, and with the constant stream circulating the skateboarding community, it’s only natural that top quality content resonates more with its audience—and this is what corporate companies have excelled at.
The use of Google on desktop and mobile devices is exponentially growing, and organic metrics are one way to help explain company performance. The following graphs compare the current organic performance of corporate companies Nike and Adidas, with core skateboard companies Lakai and Emerica. The graph specifically compares the amount of keywords organically ranked in Google search results (x axis) against the estimated traffic (y axis) each company would acquire through these organic search results. To even the playing field, only key phrases related to skateboarding were accounted for. The graph below shows that in the U.S. market, Adidas and Nike heavily out-perform Lakai and Emerica in both the amount of keywords ranking in Google, and the amount of organic visits acquired.
In addition, the same goes for the UK Market. Lakai and Adidas have about the same number of keywords ranking in Google, but when it comes to estimated traffic, corporate companies still out-perform core skateboard companies significantly. Also, to point it out, Emerica is not displayed on this graph because the company site does not rank well in the UK Market.
Corporate companies Nike and Adidas are owning the organic presence on Google, contributing to their overall performance of their market share in the skateboard community.
By no means do these analyses exhaustively capture the trends, tactics and metrics of corporate companies entering the skateboard industry. But, we can say that the adoption of influencer marketing and quality content have at least aided these corporate companies to successfully step into the skateboard market and become favorable brands for skateboarders all over the world. That said, the tables could turn once again and core skateboard companies could make a comeback. Or, a variety of other corporate companies could make their attempts at entering the skateboard market. All we can do now is wait and see how the future unfolds.
Who have you seen use an influencer program to enter a new vertical or industry? Tweet us @reddoor and let’s chat!