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Under Armour’s Melissa de León Bets on Female Athletes to Engage Her Target Consumer

Portada talks with Melissa de León, Senior Channel Marketing Manager at Under Armour about how the brand is leveraging female athletes to meet its goal of reaching a target audience between 16 and 25 years old.

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“We have been focusing on the theme of women for years,” explains Melissa de León. “Under Armour is intensifying its efforts by sponsoring more female athletes globally, not just in Latin America. It’s been a priority for several years, but this year it has gained greater momentum,” she adds. Under Armour aims to include these women in its campaigns, content, and experiences, identifying their needs and how to foster their growth. That’s why this year Under Armour signed Mexican athlete Diana Flores as its brand ambassador.

Melissa de León: Under Armour bets on female athletes to reach its consumers
Melissa de León, Senior Channel Marketing Manager de Under Armour.

This is How the Market has Received Under Armour’s Commitment to Female Athletes

Campaigns featuring female athletes have received significant acceptance among consumers of the sports brand. “We see greater acceptance when we showcase a female face that inspires and tells a story. This applies to both genders,” notes De León. This strategy has not only captured the attention of female consumers but also the male market, contributing to breaking the gender gap in sports.

Under Armour Female Athletes: Social Media as a Primary Channel

For Under Armour, social media is crucial. “Social media today is the most important because that’s where the consumer is all day long,” says De León. The brand focuses on platforms like TikTok, Twitch, and streaming, targeting a young audience aged 16 to 24. These platforms have become spaces where young people seek brands committed to gender equality and social awareness.

Under Armour focuses its marketing efforts on what the young Latin American consumer seeks: social media, streaming, TikTok, Twitch. “The experiential aspect is very important,” De León asserts. However, she acknowledges that their past efforts were not necessarily resonating with these young individuals through their experiences. Therefore, the marketing team is exploring new events and activations strategy proposals to make them more relevant for the youth.

Social media today is the most important because that’s where the consumer is all day long.

Moreover, influencer marketing plays a crucial role in their marketing budget management. The brand concentrates on collaborating not only with influencers with millions of followers but also with those who have smaller followings yet very loyal communities.

Melissa de León: Under Armour bets on female athletes to reach its consumers
Under Armour

Measuring Success and the Future of Marketing

When measuring success, brand awareness remains crucial for Under Armour. Although digital marketing is key, out-of-home advertising continues to be effective in Latin America.

“We observe that out-of-home advertising continues to work in our Latin American market because that’s where the mass audience sees us. One might think it would become a thing of the past, but no. These are things we are adjusting. It may not necessarily be the area that brings us the highest return on investment; it depends on what KPI we measure it against, but OOH is something we are reassessing to see how to re-enter efficiently. Not always is the new the answer, but rather sitting down to analyze what the market reality is. What does the market need?

Looking ahead, Melissa expresses both enthusiasm and concern: “What scares me? All this artificial intelligence stuff… Something that excites me is the topic of women, which we see is gaining more and more relevance.”

Under Armour is intensifying its efforts by sponsoring more female athletes globally, not just in Latin America.

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Quick Read: Under Armour

Year founded: Under Armour was founded in 1996, and just one year later, in 1997, it introduced its famous ColdGear cold-weather fabric, which keeps athletes warm, dry, and light, as well as AllSeasonGear, so athletes can maintain the same conditions in changing climates.

Technological innovation focusing on sports performance: The company has been known for incorporating innovative technologies into its products, such as sweat-wicking fabrics, muscle compression, and other features designed to improve sports performance.

Your marketing key: Partnerships with athletes and influencers. The brand has carried out effective marketing campaigns, partnering with renowned athletes and sports teams, contributing to building a solid and aspirational image.

The same strategy adapted to the different regions: Under Armour has reinforced its brand presence with proposals to recruit Diana Flores, the first global ambassador to emerge from flag football; and the diver Carolina Mendoza, the judoka Paulina Martínez and the rowing athlete Kenia Lechuga, to name just a few Under Armour female athletes.

Under Armour’s value proposition translated into profits: In 1996, the year it was founded, Under Armour earned $17,000, and less than a decade later, in 2005, it had its first listing on the stock market when it sold its shares to the public and managed to raise 153 million dollars. For 2018, revenues exceeded $5 billion, and by 2023 a profit of $5.9 billion is expected.

How much does Under Armour spend on marketing? Media Radar reports that Under Armour has spent in 2023 “less than $100 million on digital, print and national television advertising over the past year. “They invest in premium ad units and have advertised on over 250 different media properties over the last year across multiple media formats.”

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