Wilson Sporting Goods Co. believes there are few stronger connections than the bond between an athlete and his or her equipment. The company’s new branding campaign, “My Wilson,” aims to demonstrate and celebrate the role that equipment plays in an athlete’s pursuit of excellence. Wilson also hopes this campaign will get the company back on track.
Vice President of Marketing at Wilson Sporting Goods Co., Amy Weisenbach (@aweisenbach) claims, “No other brand in the sporting goods industry has studied and understands the relationship a tennis player has with her racket, a quarterback with his football, a first basewoman with her glove, or a golfer with his driver, than Wilson. Together, an athlete and his equipment chase dreams, celebrate personal achievements, face adversity, feel the sting of defeat, and rise to the occasion.”
Wilson Plans to Tap into the Power of Social Media
Wilson plots to use digital and social media as the driving force behind the “My Wilson” campaign. The company created a 60-second video, called “Nothing Without It,” which depicts amateur and professional athletes sharing their stories of success and defeat alongside Wilson equipment. Established competitors such as Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Dustin Pedroia, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Brendan Steele and Grigor Dimitrov all make cameos, along with young, aspiring athletes.
Wilson’s sponsored athletes have shared the video on social media platforms promoting the #MyWilson hashtag. #MyWilson is an open invitation for athletes to join the conversation by sharing a picture or short video portraying their interaction with Wilson equipment. Furthermore, between September 8th and December 31st, 2015, Wilson announced that the company will provide $1 in new sports equipment for every original consumer video and photograph posted to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter tagged with the hashtag #MyWilson.
Why the Big “My Wilson” Push Now?
This marketing campaign was not simply created on a whim. An analysis of market data shows “My Wilson” is a calculated campaign to reverse negative market share trends. The campaign comes to fruition after a decline in the percentage of consumer unit purchases of Wilson tennis racquets, footballs, basketballs, baseball mitts, and golf clubs from 2013 to 2014. Tennis racquets and balls, along with footballs are Wilson’s three largest markets.
Wilson’s Tennis Racquet Trouble
While Wilson’s tennis ball sales have remained steady, the company has dealt with a decline in its market share of tennis racquets since its peak in 2011 at 62.3%. With Serena Williams and Roger Federer headlining the tennis side of the “My Wilson” campaign, Wilson hopes to use their star power to negate 2014’s 4% decrease in percentage of tennis racquet purchases in the next fiscal year.
Wilson’s Problem with the Pigskin
Along with the announcement of “My Wilson,” Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, has joined the Wilson Advisory Staff. The Advisory Staff program was created over 85 years ago and is constituted of 10,000 professional athletes, coaches and sport experts across numerous sports around the globe. As a part of being on the Advisory Staff, Russell Wilson will be able to share Wilson products with his youth programs and community outreach partners.
“We've gotten to know Russell very well over his collegiate and professional years in football, and believe he embodies the performance values that are important to our brand and the athletes we serve,” said Kevin Murphy (@kmurphy3691), General Manager of Wilson American Football.
Signing Russell Wilson is an attempt to reverse the trend of Nike and Spalding stealing football sales from Wilson. Wilson experienced a 9.1% decrease in the percentage of football purchases, while Nike and Spalding saw growth of 10% and 4.8% respectively.
Social media is a powerful tool when used effectively, and Wilson has poured a lot of resources into this particular marketing maneuver. “My Wilson” has the potential to be one of Wilson Sporting Goods Co.’s most effective advertising campaigns in company history. Only time will tell how much influence the campaign has on market share, and ultimately, the bottom line.
In my opinion, the ‘My Wilson’ campaign has a great advantage over its competitors because of the company’s use of the everyday athlete. I believe that this will draw in more participants not only to sports, but to the Wilson brand as well, which is their goal. The connection of the athlete to his or her equipment is not only a physical relationship, but a mental one too, so I think that this idea will progress Wilson’s brand greatly in the near future.
Overall, Wilson Sporting Goods Company’s aim to unite professional athletes and amateur athletes with their equipment is an excellent idea that many sports brands have yet to consider. With the new push of #MyWilson, Wilson is likely to gain followers and consumers of the athletes promoted and their product.
This blog post was written by Samford University students Alex Matthews and Makenzie Pendergrass.
Wilson Kicks Off Major Branding Campaign. (2015, September 8). Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.sbrnet.com.ezproxy.samford.edu/Article-Detail.aspx?id=236978
Wilson Signs NFL Quarterback Russell Wilson To Advisory Staff. (2015, September 10). Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.sbrnet.com.ezproxy.samford.edu/Article-Detail.aspx?id=237085
Tennis Racquets: % of Consumer Unit Purchases by Brand. (n.d.). Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.sbrnet.com.ezproxy.samford.edu/researchRC.aspx?ResCode=tenr9
Footballs: % of Consumer Unit Purchases by Brand. (n.d.). Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.sbrnet.com.ezproxy.samford.edu/researchRC.aspx?ResCode=fbcx9
Image From: Serena Williams Instagram Page, @serenawilliams, http://ink361.com/app/users/ig-15503147/serenawilliams/photos/ig-1069620538222129906_15503147 [Link broken as of 6/11/18]