The age of consumer has started. Also Champs Sports has seen a shift in how they present themselves to the media, in addition to how they approach consumers. Champs Sports, a member of the Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE: FL) family, is a mall-based specialty athletic footwear and apparel retailer in North America. Its product categories include athletic footwear, apparel and accessories. Its more than 540 stores are located throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Recently, the brand partnered with Under Armour, NFL player Brandon Marshall, Rappers T.I. + Quavo to launch their We Know Game campaign. Additionally, the second phase of the campaign included DJ Khaled, and NFL Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley + Nike has been launched. Here, Patrick Walsh, VP Marketing Champ Sports, talked about their new campaign and why influencers are so important for the brand.
Can you explain “We Know Game” and your marketing strategy, please? “
We Know Game” is a declaration of Champs Sports’ shared values with its consumers: Perseverance, Achievement, Growth, Community, and Optimism. Champs Sports is committed to equipping its consumers for the win, no matter the landscape they face in life. We will continue to provide platforms for athletes and other celebrities to share their personal stories of perseverance, achievement, growth, community, and optimism. Our core consumer is the high school student who has a passion for sneakers, sports, and music. He/she is driven by the desire to win in the game of life.
And what do your customers expect from you?
Our consumer expects consistent newness. They want to be inspired and energized in their pursuit of the most innovative athletic footwear and apparel at Champs Sports.
How do you communicate with them? Which channels do you use for communication with your target group?
Gen Z and Millennials are inseparable from their phones and stay connected with each other via social media. We make sure to communicate with our consumers via social media (Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Periscope, etc.). However, social media is only one part of our communication strategy. We also communicate via an ever expanding array of consumer touch points—i.e. in-store, event activations, mobile app push notifications, and online.
How important is the cooperation with influencers for Champs Sport in this context?
Our tagline is “We Know Game.” The “We” encompasses more than Champs Sports—it also includes our consumers, their friends, their idols, and our product vendors. Partnering with the “right” influencers is essential. We recently launched The Monday Night Sneaker Watch with WWE’s Enzo Amore—On Mondays Enzo takes over Champs Sports’ Snapchat account and unveils a new sneaker. Shortly, we will deliver music mogul and former Champs Sports employee DJ Khaled his personal Champs Sports store. As a leader in sneaker and apparel culture, we will use Khaled’s store as a platform to inspire our consumers with exciting product stories and celebrity visits.
How do you stay in touch with the wants and needs of your customers?
Listening is the key. Yes, we conduct marketing research studies and subscribe to reports, but we also listen to the “We” in “We Know Game.” We monitor (via social media) what our consumers say about Champs Sports, our key product vendors, and their influencers (athletes, musicians, fashion trendsetters, etc.). Since we are a collaborative brand, we also speak directly with our consumers and influencers to stay informed about wants and needs.
What makes your store different and in what ways does your store excel beyond your competition?
Remarkable people, product, and storytelling. We develop great employees who are committed to offering premium service to our consumers. We work hard with our product vendors to offer an incredible assortment of athletic specialty footwear and apparel. Last, but not least, we are aggressively renovating our stores to deliver an exciting store experience. Next year, Champs Sports’ first flagship store will open in Chicago, IL.
Which is the most important ingredient for successful retailing today?
Advocacy is the most important ingredient for successful retailing today. At Champs Sports, we are tirelessly focused on advocating for our consumers. We understand the expectations of our consumers, and we work with our product vendors to exceed those expectations and deliver unexpected, remarkable product moments.