Helping A Fitness Wearables Company Find It’s Heart In Competing In A Crowded Marketplace
Mio Global is a fitness wearables brand that develops and distributes heart rate wearables for athletes throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2014, against a backdrop of new fitness wearables flooding the market (looking at you, Apple Watch & FitBit) Mio’s brand was facing new pressures to compete and retain relevance.
When Magnetic came along as an agency partner, we worked with Mio’s leaders to refocus and reposition the wearable tech brand for a rising market of fitness fanatics. What followed was a heart-racing journey.
Finding Mio’s Pulse Through Market Research And Human Interaction
To grasp Mio’s brand perception both externally and internally, MAG’s brand strategy team examined a cross-section of focus group results; trends in fitness, wearable tech, and personal health data; and interviews with key Mio stakeholders. What we learned boiled down to three key insights:
- Mio’s product portfolio was structured for different tiers of athletes from peak to casual, but its marketing was not. We needed to segment product messaging and creative to align with these audience segments.
- Casual fitness seekers (at least those in the U.S.) are likely seek out well-known brands. Based on Mio’s product strength, heart rate accuracy, our best chance for market growth was running with intermediate and dedicated athletes.
- As an early OEM of HR tracking, part of Mio’s cross to bear was being an ambassador of category. It wasn’t enough to build great fitness wearables. We needed to educate fitness communities on the advantages of heart rate training.
Humanizing Fitness Wearables with aFired Up Brand Persona
Aligning Mio’s products with various tiers of runners, bikers and swimmers meant immersing ourselves in the portfolio. For several days, our office was crawling with heart rate wristbands. We counted steps. We tracked our health data. Some of us even took up running again. Emboldened by our research, we connected each product feature with the emotional wants and needs of Mio’s audiences, and laid the foundation for more relevant messaging.
Oftentimes MAGNETIC will develop a custom brand persona for our partners – a personification of the brand that gives both clients and creatives a lens through which to think, write, and create. It gets a little ethereal, but damn if it doesn’t help the process. For Mio Global’s brand persona, we conjured up a competitive, intelligent, and intensely motivating brand persona who could identify with dedicated performance athletes.
“ The Coach Within is respectful and flexible, impassioned and encouraging, single-minded and celebratory. Everything we say sounds like a performance athlete’s inner voice. It digs into you, pushes you, doesn’t let you off the hook. Why? Because real life doesn’t let anyone off the hook. But the Coach Within lends you the willpower to muscle through. He knows the harder you sweat, the sweeter the payoff. She shows intensity with the purist intentions. When you’re in your zone, Coach is there with you chanting, this life is yours to conquer. ”
True North Emerges With A Pitter Patter
With a clear understanding of Mio’s brand strengths, a grasp on the challenges ahead, and our athletes segmented into different heats, our race was ready to begin.
While there were plenty of heart rate competitors, no brand did it with more accuracy and precision than Mio’s optical heart rate monitors. By placing “heart” at the center of our brand experience, we could own Mio’s core strength while honoring the emotional fortitude it takes to be a performance athlete. From this core idea, we discovered Mio Global’s True North - "To empower athletes to improve training and performance".
Pumping Life Into Mio’s Visual Design Language
To enliven Mio’s photography assets, we produced multiple product and lifestyle shoots showing hardcore athletes reaching successive heart rate zones. We even had one of our own step into the spotlight. To promote awareness, we built a short-run campaign of paid media placements, still focusing on product but from a performance athlete’s point of view.
To improve sell-through at retail, we redesigned Mio’s packaging with relevant feature-benefit callouts based on audience segmentation.
Arming Mio with New Brand and Product Videos
The concept for Mio’s brand video follows a variety of performance athletes through intense workouts. As the story progresses, MAG’s video team used sound engineering to mimic the beat of their pounding hearts. Along with a custom percussion track and a minimalist VO, the video quickly ramps up to a fever pitch.
We also created a series of individiual product videos to use across Mio’s retailers, the website, YouTube channel, social media, paid placements, tradeshows and assisted sales tools.
Training Mio’s Website to Run with the Top Dogs
Rolling out our Train With Heart mentality meant re-tooling the look, feel, and content of Mio’s entire website, not to mention all the behind-the-scenes optimizations. While MAG’s web developers sweat the details of ecommerce UI and user flows, our content and creative teams whipped copy, imagery, and search terms into shape.
We tapped into Mio’s brand ambassador program to highlight performance athletes tracking their heart rate data. We even developed the Heart Rate Zone Calculator, which helps fitness seekers at all levels to understand and calibrate their specific heart rate levels.
“ It’s always a privilege to be entrusted with creating someone else’s personal brand. In order to do so successfully, I think it’s critically important to understand who the person is on a human level first, and then to build up from there. ”
Partner, Creative Director
Activating Athletes and Distributors Through Event Marketing
In support of Mio’s ongoing sales initiatives, the MAG team devised a way to engage their audiences before, during, and after trade shows like CES and Interbike. We started by designing a branded booth experience using Mio’s new aesthetic and big bold messages. Requiring a simple, low-cost solution for compiling CRM contacts, we equipped Mio’s booth with a custom iPad app to collect emails and feed visitors with product education.
To educate passersby on the Mio GO app, we created a looping video to run throughout their events. And to keep Mio top-of-mind after the event, we designed an all-new brand brochure as a high-impact handout.
Driving Web Traffic with Email, Digital Assets & Retargeting
Our clients often ask us how they can create their own digital assets using the look we’ve established. In Mio’s case, we delivered a set of customizable email templates their marketing team can use in any given scenario, from sales promotions to event outreach.
And to cap it off, MAG’s design and content teams deployed a series of web ads with a retargeting strategy that drives traffic back to Mio’s new website.
- Research & Discovery
- Brand Development
- Brand Strategy
- Creative Strategy
- Creative Development
- Asset Creation
- Video Production
- Analysis & Definition
- Marketing Strategy
- Campaign Execution
- Measure, Report & Iterate