MARKETING GOLF BRANDS TO GEN Z

4 STRATEGIES TO BUILD BRAND RELATIONSHIPS WITH A GROWING GENERATION OF YOUNG GOLFERS

WHY WE WROTE THIS REPORT

Golf equipment and apparel brands have an opportunity to build on momentum with Generation Z.

Gen Z participation in the sport is way up. Early estimates show that the COVID-19 pandemic may have bumped up the number of junior players (age 6-17) by as much as 20% throughout the summer of 2020.

Perhaps less obvious is the fact that the cultural conversation about golf has become more positive. Our analysis of media coverage of golf indicates a decline in the number of negative articles from the top media outlets. Specifically, the previously routine portrayals of golf as exclusionary and backward, have all but disappeared over the last several months. We think this sunnier media context will make it easier for golf brands to attract brand-savvy teens.

Ultimately, we're optimistic about the prospects to grow lasting brand relationships with the youngest generation of golfers. We hope you find the following recommended marketing strategies useful and inspiring.

  • PLEASE NOTE:
  • The following data and recommendations are the result of distilling thousands of pages of recently published articles, trend reports and media content. Sources are noted throughout.
  • Download the report: There's no form to fill out — it's one click away.
  • Contact: If you would like to discuss any of the topics further, please contact Tom Neveril at tom@storybrandconsulting.com.
  • More insights: Lastly, please contact us to receive the findings from a Storybrand Consulting-sponsored, proprietary qualitative research study with Generation Z golfers, due in January of 2021.

 

THE NEWS MEDIA'S
NARRATIVE ABOUT GOLF IS CHANGING

UNTIL RECENTLY, ARTICLES ABOUT GOLF TOLD THE SAME OLD STORY; IT'S EXCLUSIONARY AND BACKWARD

SO, NEGATIVE GOLF COVERAGE WAS UNAVOIDABLE FOR GEN Z

59% OF GEN Z RANKED SOCIAL MEDIA
THEIR TOP NEWS SOURCE
IN 2019
(LEADING ALL SOURCES)

85% OF THE TOP 40 MOST ENGAGED ARTICLES
ABOUT “GOLF” WERE ABOUT
PRESIDENT TRUMP AND NEGATIVE
(DURING A 12 MONTH PERIOD, 2019-2020)

BUT IN 2020, AMID GOLF’S GROWING POPULARITY COVERAGE HAS TURNED POSITIVE

4 STRATEGIES TO ENGAGE GEN Z
THROUGHOUT THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY


Awareness


Consideration


Purchase


Loyalty

1. BUILD AWARENESS BY CONSISTENTLY SUPPORTING A SOCIAL VALUE

  • Golf brands should:

  • Demonstrate support of social values –not divisive political positions. This will attract Gen Z far more than competitors who merely offer quality products. Participation in the larger cultural conversation will counter media portrayals of the sport as out-of-touch.
  • Collaborate with brands from different categories in support of shared values. Golf brands that do so will be perceived as contemporary.
  • Be consistent with support for specific social values. Gen Z will proudly wear brands when they're widely perceived as consistent and authentic.

GEN Z IS LOOKING FOR POSITIVE SOCIAL EXPERIENCES

85% OF GEN Z SAYS THAT ALL BRANDS SHOULD DO SOME SORT OF SOCIAL GOOD / CHARITABLE WORK

85% OF GEN Z PARENTS BELIEVE GOLF TEACHES KIDS VALUABLE LIFE SKILLS

83% OF GEN Z WOULD BE MORE LIKELY TO PLAY GOLF IF THEY HAD A FRIEND TO TAKE THEM

A LEADING EXAMPLE OF SUPPORTING SOCIAL VALUES:

GEN Z RANKS THE NORTH FACE 9TH AMONG COOLEST BRANDS*

THE NORTH FACE ACTIVELY SUPPORTS THE VALUES STATED IN THE COMPANY MISSION:

"The North Face® fundamental mission remains unchanged since 1966: Provide the best gear for our athletes and the modern-day explorer, support the preservation of the outdoors, and inspire a global movement of exploration." **

 

Sustainability / Preservation initiatives:

  • Encouraging the public to drop off unwanted clothing and footwear at The North Face stores to receive a 10% discount through the Clothes the Loop program
  • Recycling with The North Face Renewed --a program that resells refurbished clothing donated by previous owners
  • Advocating for protection of tribal lands including Bears Ears and Cedar Mesa

Encouraging Exploration initiatives:

  • Funding and expanding a North Face female exploration grants program
  • Launching Live Your Dream Grant and Explore Fund Grant programs to create access and drive universal participation in outdoor activities
  • Sponsoring a program to make climbing gyms across the U.S. accessible to people with physical disabilities

2. ENCOURAGE CONSIDERATION BY USING A SEAMLESS, BRANDED OMNICHANNEL APPROACH

Golf brands should:

  • Offer in-store and online experiences to reflect and complement each other. Interaction in either realm should unlock exclusives and promotions that are accessible across all channels.
  • Provide the capability to shop anywhere and have the product show up anywhere.
  • Enable interaction with customer service using private social messaging apps.
  • Make smartphone camera/video capabilities more helpful at retail. For example, (QR) code scanning could immediately be stored in account history. Scanning could also retrieve inventory information, feedback forms, customer service functions, product suggestions, and augmented reality (AR) functionality for product fitting.

GEN Z EXPECTS TO BROWSE WITH THEIR PHONE
AND PURCHASE OR PICK-UP IN-STORE

81% OF GEN Z PREFERS TO PURCHASE IN STORES

AN EXAMPLE OF SEAMLESS OMNICHANNEL MARKETING:

NIKE IS THE TOP SELLING BRAND AMONG GEN Z*

NIKE’S OMNICHANNEL EXPERIENCE:

  • Nike store network recognizes shoppers upon entering, connects via in-store wifi.
  • Users scan barcodes for product (size, color, style) availability in their area and check out without waiting in line.
  • Users reserve products that can be retrieved from a store locker to try on before buying.

3. MOTIVATE PURCHASES BY PERSONALIZING
THE PRODUCTS AND OWNERSHIP EXPERIENCE

  • Golf brands should:

        • Enhance personalization through apps, allowing customers to establish virtual closets/lockers, swipe to rate products, track when items have been worn, take quizzes about preferences and make AI-driven outfit/gear suggestions.
        • Continue expanding customer input on colors and elements of design, for custom and made-to-order products.
        • Follow the lead of other successful Gen Z brands and offer limited / exclusive product drops.
  • [Nomad Customs on Instagram, accessed August, 2020]
  • Roly Padron has become the go-to-guy for pro golfers to get their shoes customized.

GEN Z AND MILLENNIALS WANT PERSONALIZATION AND GOLF IS EXPERIENCING A CUSTOMIZATION BOOM

78% OF 13-36-YEAR-OLDS SAY THEY
LIKE TO DRESS IN THEIR
OWN UNIQUE STYLE

75% OF 13-34-YEAR-OLDS SAY THEY’RE INTERESTED IN BUYING PRODUCTS THAT ARE CUSTOMIZED TO THEIR TASTE

GOLF CUSTOMIZATION TREND IS BOOMING

“The trend toward customized wedges, putters, even irons and woods has been growing for years. TaylorMade and Callaway have created custom shops to personalize and modify their clubs, while smaller producers have leveraged social media to become the golf equivalent of boutique winemakers: expensive, sought-after and elusive."

A LEADING EXAMPLE OF PERSONALIZATION:

GEN Z IS LIKELY TO EMBRACE PERSONAL STYLING BRAND STITCH FIX

 

STITCH FIX PERSONALIZES APPAREL WITH DATA:

  • Customers fill out a Style Profile, specifying their measured sizes, favorite/rejected styles and fit preferences.
  • "Trending for You” is a tool that gives customers targeted looks based on their style profiles, rather than what they’ve purchased.
  • “Shop Your Looks” will suggest items that "go" with a piece of clothing bought through Stitch Fix.
  • “Style Shuffle” shows customers prospective products one at a time and lets them vote on each.
  • Stylists review customers’ social media and Pinterest boards, allowing customers to add photos of fashion looks that they like.

4. BUILD LOYALTY BY DESIGNING COMFORT THROUGHOUT THE SHOPPING AND OWNERSHIP EXPERIENCE

Golf brands should:

  • Emphasize the enjoyment that comes with being comfortable throughout the golf experience.
  • Develop a wide array of styles and designs that are comfortable for different body sizes. Brands should avoid designing women’s products by applying a “shrink-it and pink-it” approach. Instead, they should offer more custom fit options, particularly in footwear.
  • Offer more casual apparel styles, that can be worn comfortably in non-golf settings.
  • Provide shopping and physical retail experiences that emphasize customer comfort, privacy and security.

GEN Z LIVES IN COMFORTABLE CLOTHES AND HAS A CASUAL ATTITUDE ABOUT ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE:

AN EXAMPLE OF COMFORTABLE DESIGNS:

GEN Z IS LIKELY TO EMBRACE THE COMFORTABLE 'VIBE' OFFERED BY TRAVIS MATHEW, AT A MORE ACCESSIBLE PRICE POINT

TRAVIS MATHEW’S COMFORTABLE “SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE”:

  • All apparel and footwear features comfortable fabrics and fits.
  • Product styles are versatile for wear on or off the golf course.
  • Retail stores have comfortable seating (and sometimes bar) areas, several large TV screens, comfortable fitting rooms.
  • Retail stores encourage hanging out with games including Ping Pong, arcade console games and Pop-A-Shot (varying by location.

ASSESS YOUR BRAND’S CURRENT GEN Z STRATEGY

WITH THE FOLLOWING CHECK LIST

The company behind the brand...


  • Has a publicly-available, written vision/mission that explains how the company believes the world can be a better place for its customers.
  • Invests resources in specific efforts designed to make the world a better place.
  • Has issued press releases, engaged in PR or launched marketing campaigns to publicize efforts / investments.

  • Provides online services or mobile tools (or both) that unlock additional benefits or services while in-store (e.g. QR code scanning).
  • Provides in-store experiences that unlock benefits or services while online (e.g., onsite check-ins for special access, rewards, etc.)
  • Provides customers with ability to interact with customer service using private social messaging apps.

  • Provides customers with the ability to create accounts that track all of their brand interactions, purchases, etc.
  • Provides customers with the ability to contribute to the design of products and / or personalize the ones they purchase.
  • Gathers detailed feedback on product preferences while shopping and detailed feedback on purchased products.

  • Designs products with innovative materials and fitting technology to provide golfers with comfort on par with the best brands.
  • Provides a shopping experience both online and in-store is that is easy, comfortable, safe and respects privacy.
  • Respects Gen Z’s experiential approach to golf, where being comfortable and having a friendly competition are the top priorities.

How many of these are true for your company?
Would your colleagues have the same answers?
Most importantly, would your Gen Z customers agree with your assessment?

THANK YOU