Outdoor vs. Fashion vs. Sport Oriented Men’s Brand Positioning
Messaging — Outdoor Enthusiasts vs. Fashion Forward vs. Sport-Centric: There’s a clear delineation between men’s activewear brands that orient their messaging to align with these three distinct audiences:
Outdoor Enthusiasts: Brands that fall under this category (Arc'teryx, The North Face, Patagonia) target thrill seekers, who look for high quality products that will overcome harsh weather conditions for extreme outdoor sports. These brands are seen as more of an exclusive community, which is also reflected in the higher price points of their products. Social and environmental issues are a core part of their brand identity and are often the main topic points on social media.
Fashion Forward: Brands that fall under this category (Bonobos, J. Crew, Club Monaco) are not direct competitors in men’s activewear, however more and more menswear brands are producing activewear products as athleisure has become a trend. These brands are selling a lifestyle, rather than the performance of the product.
Sport-Centric: Sports and fitness are the main pillars of their brand identity. The main messaging of these brands (Nike, Adidas, Under Armour) are focused on performance, and motivating their audience to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. Unlike brands in the “Outdoor Enthusiast” category, sport-centric brands are seen as accessible to the everyday consumer.
Within the Men’s Activewear category, most brands fall under three primary categories:
Brands in the “Outdoor Enthusiast” category tend to focus on environmental issues, adventure, gear, and how-to’s.
The top performing content categories for outdoor-focused brands are landscape photography, action shots, and environmental issues.
Brands in the outdoor enthusiast category most often partner with professional athletes in outdoor sports (ice climbers, rock climbers, skiers) and landscape photographers.
Brands in the “Fashion Forward” category tend to focus on lifestyle and styling rather than on performance and fitness. Activewear is often not the main focus of the brand.
The top performing content categories for fashion forward brands are product shots, memes, and influencer posts showing the entire outfit.
Brands in the “Fashion Forward” category most often partner with lifestyle, fashion, creative (artists & photographers), and dad influencers.
Brands in the “Sport-Centric” category tend to focus on athlete performance and overall health and fitness.
The top performing content categories for sport-centric brands are professional athlete spotlights, new product launches, and action shots.
Brands in the outdoor enthusiast category most often partner with professional athletes, fitness coaches, and professional gamers.
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