Does Brand Loyalty Get in the Way of a Perfect Fit?
In the sports retail world we often hear a Mom or Dad say “They'll only want a (insert brand) Glove.” or he/she wants X because their favorite player skates in them. So, the Marketing Gurus at the Manufacturers have done their jobs well, and securing a Connor McDavid or Sid the Kid has worked its magic, but is this process having a negative effect on finding the proper fit and maximum benefits that a piece of equipment has to offer you or your child?
We’ve all grown up on the “Blind Taste Test” or the “4 out of 5 Doctors Recommended” commercials. It would be so much easier if we approached all fitting in that manner. A veteran Rep who recently visited us extolled the benefits of having completely blacked out demo models at events and letting Field Hockey players try each and see what worked best for them based on playing style and position. Not color, brand name or graphics.
[Keep in mind for this Blog we are taking features and not price.]
Equipment, Sticks, Skates, Shoes or any product for that matter in this day and age have become so specialized that there are a number of subtle nuances between models and brands (not necessarily better than one another, just built differently) Case in point: Hockey Skates – let us take the “Big Two” Bauer and CCM. Each offers 3 unique models of skates. For Bauer it’s the Supreme, Vapor and Nexus Lines and for CCM it’s the Jetspeed, Tack and Ribcor. While the general philosophy of both Manufacturers is to present equal / similar type fits to consumers, “This is our wider skate to match up with their wider skate.” You cannot however just narrow this down to,” I need a wide skate, I like Bauer, so this is the one for me.” Well really you can, BUT there are so many factors that contribute to the right fit for each player. In the world of skates Toe Box Room, Heel Fit, Profile, Tongue Comfort and Blade Pitch are just a few that come into play.
No one is immune to the brand loyalty bug. For years I wanted to squeeze my foot into a PUMA Soccer Cleat because that’s what my favorite player wore and I loved the look of them. Later (Much later, way to late) I switched to a Nike Cleat when they introduced the High Collar Design and finally I realized my playing style was best suited to the adidas Predator Series, which I am happily in now. Making that leap away from PUMA was tough though. It was dramatically tough.
Look, there is (as we have mentioned previous Blogs) a certain validity to the “Look Good, Feel Good, Play Good” theory, but we ask you to open your mind Jedi Warriors. Don’t always be beholden to marketing claims and “influencers”. Remember, the athletes (for the most part) are being paid thousands to wear what they wear. A true story is that back in the day some players would be paid to wear X but actually wear Y. They would then cross out Y and replace it with an X Logo. It’s not all that uncommon today to see sponsored athletes wearing “Blacked Out” gear.
Fits, like people change. Truth be told we as providers are not here to push you in one direction or the other. We want you to get what you want and what you need, you’re never going to get a hard sell from this crew. For you Harry Potter fans it’s all about the Wizard, not the Wand.
No one customer support team member here at 2nd Time Around Sports plays EVERY sport but a quick look around the room has me seeing multiple Hockey Players, a Lacrosse Player and Coach, a Baseball Player, several Soccer Players, no less than two Wrestlers and three avid Snowboarders. Ok, so the Kayaker doesn’t count (Not yet, but we’re working on it)
So get the fit that will bring you the biggest benefits in your gear and be sure to ask us about the features that will work best for you. To answer our title question “Does Brand Loyalty get in the way of a Perfect Fit?”, In our opinion, the answer is Yes, but the solution consists of a combination of 85% Features+ Fit and 15% and Brand + Graphic + other. The final decision should be based on Features and Fit, Not the Logo. We say go in thinking “Blind Taste Test” you’ll be happy you did.