“vote or die,”eat your heart out…

At the risk of stating the obvious – things have really changed in the last decade. And this will really blow your mind – they’ve also really changed in the last two.

A younger version of myself remembers MTV’s “Rock the Vote,” and whatever P Diddy was calling himself then’s “Vote or Die” campaign.

What’s interesting is how many BRANDS are now getting involved in the 2020 election.

Perhaps the boldest statement is Patagonia’s “Vote the Assholes Out”. But other brands like Foot Locker are converting stores into voter registration locations, Under Armour has created a voting microsite, “Run to Vote” where Americans can request an absentee ballot, and allegedly Snapchat is even giving people a mechanism to cast their vote from within its app.

Why It’s Hot

We’ve been talking about the importance of brand values for years, but now it seems it’s no longer an aspiration, but perhaps a necessity. What’s really interesting to see all these brands so active in (arguably) the most politicized election in US history. It’s one thing to support social issues and causes, but would seem quite another to be helping citizens register and vote. In fact, in a survey published this past June, only around 1/3 of consumers thought companies should share their position on voting/voter registration. So, it will be really interesting to see how this swell of activism will continue to apply to other, future issues.

How Under Armour is linking fitness data with customer loyalty

Under Armour and MapMyFitness are working with sports equipment retailer Sports Authority to link workout activity with customer loyalty programs in a data play that is part of Under Armour’s efforts to become a technology company.

The companies are working together to create a new set of “challenges” on MapMyFitness, the workout-tracking app that works with phones, Jawbones, Garmins and Fitbits to track calories and workouts. Under Armour purchased MapMyFitness last year.

The 150 million people within the “Under Armour Connected Fitness” group will get a set of challenges (for example, “run 10 miles a week”), and if they complete it, they can win gift cards and points within “The League,” Sports Authority’s loyalty program.

Warren Kay, vp of advertising at Under Armour said that Sports Authority is looking for a way to invest in technology to strengthen their market position — and using Under Armour’s verified activity feed is a way to get data on those customers and marry it with the rewards program.

MapMyFitness challenges you.

Kay said Under Armour differentiates from competitors because it has opened its API and platforms to other brands and hardware manufacturers like Fitbit or Garmin — and lets its customer play across platforms — instead of creating its own hardware. Still, it requires a lot of resources, and a lot of money.

Under Armour, for example, bought nutrition- and workout-tracking leader MyFitnessPal earlier this year, plunking down $475 million for the company, and also put down $85 million for Endomondo, a social fitness network. Connected Fitness is the part of Under Armour that houses the technology to help its athletes and users: MyFitnessPal, Endomondo and MapMyFitness all live within Connected Fitness unit.

The payoff for Under Armour is partnerships like this one with Sports Authority. Active people that use fitness trackers are likely to buy apparel and footwear. And hopefully, they’ll buy yours.

Why It’s Hot

This is a really smart way for a retail brand to think smart about how to grow itself.  They are transforming the brand to own fitness in general- by providing the clothes people wear when working out along with the apps they need to track performance.  People could soon associate the brand or the apps they bought as more of a lifestyle choice than a simple tool or piece of clothing…which adds brand equity.