March 5, 2014

4 Ways to Get Athletes to Buy Your Sports Drink

4 Ways to Get Athletes to Buy Your Sports Drink

There are as many sports drink brands as there are sports. If your sports beverage is going to compete in this cutthroat market, it’s going to have some quality that differentiates it from the pack. But what? An endorsement from a famous ex-athlete? An as-yet un-FDA approved performance enhancing ingredient that prevents chafing? Flecks of pure gold? Maybe a bottle design that delivers longed-for beverage consumption solutions? Bingo.

Sports drink bottle design is essential to sports drink marketing, since active people and athletes need to consume their drinks while in the throes of rigorous activity. As such, sports drinks really shouldn’t be in glass bottles or containers that can’t fit into your average elliptical cup holder. Nevertheless, there are still several packaging options above and beyond the obvious that could directly appeal to the running, toning, shredding, and Zumba-ing community.

1. Activity-specific bottle design.

The needs of weight lifters, in terms of sports drink bottle technology, are somewhat different than the needs of hula-hoopers. Think about the kinds of athletes that your brand speaks to and engineer your package in a way that is appropriate to their type of training.

For example, this sports drink bottle prototype is great for runners, but fitness enthusiasts who prefer to work on stationary machines or with hand weights might find it a bit inappropriate.

2. Athlete-specific bottle design.

Watching the Winter Olympics is a great introduction to different sports cultures. We expect athletic gear to be suitable to the particular athlete’s activity in terms of providing the athlete with the best wicking properties, protection from injury and the elements as well as the optimal speed and general performance. However, one look at the slopestyle snowboarders and skiers tells us that many of these athletes place fashion and image slightly above efficiency or even dignity. This being the case, your bottle design must appeal to the target market’s aesthetic principles as well as their practical needs.

In much the same way practitioners of certain sports are attracted to equipment that either helps (or at least doesn’t interfere with) their performance, certain sports attract certain types of people. We don’t mean to indulge in gross stereotypes, but the type of person who indulges in ISHTA yoga is different from the mixed martial-artist.

So, what sports drink bottle design features would be important to the hiker as opposed to the modern dancer? Will a rhythmic gymnast respond to your beverage’s shape? Will the slopestyle skier be able to carry your energy drink in his or her giant pants? These are all important questions that must be answered if you want a successful sports bottle design.

3. Environmentally specific bottle design.

Where is your target athlete likely to train? Will it be at home? In the gym? On the slopes? Will they be frolicking in public parks indulging in an insane fitness specialty of their own invention?

If the athletes that are the most likely to consume your beverage have a particular commitment to the environment (athletes whose disciplines are largely performed in nature), think about ways of highlighting your package design’s environmental responsibility. If your target athletes perform in extremely cold conditions, consider broadcasting how well your bottle design is adapted to extreme weather conditions.

4. Ingredient specific bottle design.

Most energy drink labels and bottles promote the energizing and electrolyte-delivering properties, but what about actual health – or even taste? Sports drinks are notoriously powdery-tasting and artificial, so if yours happens to actually taste good in addition to promising scientifically-advanced hydrating properties, you definitely what to make that a selling point.

Sports drinks shouldn’t be general; in order to establish brand credibility, your drink must deliver something to a specific class of athletes or fitness enthusiasts that others don’t. Sports drink bottle design is a fantastic way to distinguish what makes your beverage special and beneficial. If your drink also manages to keep the pants of slopestyle skiers secure, you’re probably sitting on a fortune.


by Kevin Smith
SmashBrand helps brands create, optimize, and launch successful products, services, and customer experiences. Our data-driven process is the key to accelerating sales and minimizing risks.

We use a strategic combination of market research, design, and consumer testing to solve complex brand problems more effectively, create differentiation, and forge more meaningful connections with customers.

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