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Evaluating the design of four major extreme sport brands websites:

December 2013


CONTENT


ABOUT THIS

REPORT The role of digital technologies and design in the implementation of contemporary marketing is the subject of our work. The report is analysing, evaluating, comparing and contrasting the four websites of organisations operating in extreme sports industry sector. Moreover, it includes some recommendations for the companies and also personal opinions of users.

MESSAGE FROM THE EDITORS Hi, We are Team IDC, we consist of a group of four advertising and digital communications students from Bucks New University. Our names are Anna Popa, Ewa Iglewska, Francesca Thomas and Chris Wells. Welcome to

our world!


Introduction Everyone

needs web design nowadays! Well... Almost everyone. It is absolutely sure that extreme sports brands do need this. In general, they have three different ways to show their image. First one is advertising: in magazines, TV or by sponsorship. Red Bull Snowscrapers is a perfect example of the other way in case of brand positioning – organising events. The last one is to built online engagement which is possible on their own websites. So the question is what exactly is the web design and if the brands can manage this correctly?

The website design is about reaching the business goals by producing the web pages which will be attractive and useful for the potential target audience. „Attractive” means friendly and simple to navigate, meanwhile “useful” mainly stands for accessibility, correct messages and right content. An excellent website will not only show high level of visits, but also will engage the person with the brand. Dave Chaffey simply is basing on mathematics:

Website design = Function + Content + Form + Organisation + Interaction

RED BULL SNOWSCRAPERS PAT MOORE BEATING THE WORLD HIGHT RECORD 2011

The four biggest and most popular extreme sports companies have been checked by us step by step, deeply researched and analysed in detail. Ladies and Gentlemen: Red Bull, Armada, Nitro and Extreme.com are “extremely” ready to show their web performance and results. And, as we know, there is just one winner in every competition... Therefore, how Zig Ziglar used to say: “Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize for what comes”.

We also believe that combining these elements, along with clarifying the key objectives and objectives, will enable a business to create a powerful engagement tool. This is why the report is divided into ten different sections!

Let the games begin!


The Market situation and analysis Market Issues

Positive points

Extreme sports, particularly sports

such as skateboarding, surfing, in-line skating and snowboarding evoke a lifestyle choice involving a certain way of ‘free thinking’ outside of normal rules, as well as strong links with dress, music and even language. The sports themselves also serve to provide an adrenaline rush and excitement sought to break the boundaries of normality. For many it is not just the participation or the interest but extreme sports has become a way of life, closely integrating music, clothing and even language.

The overall size of the market in the form of overseas activity holidays including sports such as skiing and snowboarding has been increasing steadily from the year 2000 where it was 3.5m to 4.8m in 2005 and the overall level of activity holidays being participated in in that 5 year period has increased from 14.7m to 16.1m.

Increase in demand will assist in encouraging the market to grow and improve the quality and the range of services provided.

Negative points •

With an increase in demand comes the issue of dealing with more people and implementing more safety features which could lead to the sports being perceived as less “thrilling” and “free thinking”

Levels of household incomes are not increasing at a rate that would allow these sports to be financially accessible to all.

In the UK there has been an increase in the use of the internet and the number of mediums used to access the web. According to the national office of statistics; • In 2013, 36 million adults (73%) in Great Britain accessed the Internet every day, 20 million more than in 2006, when directly comparable records began. • Access to the Internet using a mobile phone more than doubled between 2010 and 2013, from 24% to 53%. • In 2013, 72% of all adults bought goods or services online, up from 53% in 2008. • In Great Britain, 21 million households (83%) had Internet access in 2013. • Broadband Internet connections using fibre optic or cable were used by 42% of households, up from 30% in 2012.


Household income in the UK has been growing over the past 10 years due to lower interest rates and lower rates of inflation, however during the economic downturn the population increased its average propensity to save due to the high levels of job insecurity making spending money on unnecessary purchases such as activity holidays decrease. The table below shows the level of household disposable income over the past ten years according to the national institute of statistics

Cost of travel The cost of travel over recent years has fallen, this is due to an increase in the availability of information to the consumer. Using the “price comparison� websites has introduced and increasing need for flight prices and hotels to be more price competitive in order to maintain the business income. This will impact on the consumers ability to travel and participate in such extreme winter sports. Overall Looking across all sections of information a conclusion can be reached that the market for extreme winter sports has not yet hit its peak, despite increasing price drops in the cost of travel and figures showing a growing demand, the market still needs to open its doors to the people who are currently not willing to spend their disposable income due to the current position of the economic climate. It is our opinion that when the economic climate begins to improve in a degree to which people can see and feel safe, then the market will begin to peak and more people including potentially families will attempt the free spirited extreme winter sports.


Navigation data and segmentation Primary research


An eight question questionnaire was created and placed on Facebook; the results analysis was reduced to the people that answered “yes� for a question number 3.

50

Gender

40 femal e

30 20 10 0

Why do you visit those websites? I want to purchase some equipment I want to watch videos I want to check upcoming events I want to check the news

Summary Primary research shows that most of the visitors are male (66%), mostly aged 18 to 34 (81%) and they usually use those websites to watch videos (46%) and check upcoming events (33%).


Secondary research Red Bull

Statistics show that Red Bull’s website is mostly visited by male without college education, usually at school. 16% of visitors were redirected from Facebook, 11% from Google and almost 5% from YouTube. Daily page views per visitor are 2.25 and an average time spent on the website is 3:02 minutes.

Armada Skis

For Armada Skis’ website, an average number of page views per visitor is 3.30 and the usual time spend on a website is 3:19 minutes. A page is mostly visited by men with education on college level, mostly at work. 57% of visitors come from the United States and they usually simply Google “Armada” (58%) or “Armada Skis” (16%).

Extreme

Extreme’s visitors are usually male, with education on college level an browsing a website at work. An average user spends 2:02 minutes on a website and visits it 1.9 times. Most of them come from United States (17%) and Germany (15%), with the UK on fifth place (6,5%).

Nitro

An average Nitro website’s user is a male and he usually spends 2:41 minutes and visits the page 3.3 times. He is most likely Italian, has a college education level and visits this page at work. 68% of page visits come from googling a word “Nitro” and 11% from googling a word “Nitro snowboards”.


Customer Orientation d

The target audiencepeforars extotrebemeyospounrtig ngpeopanle

activity holidays ap are proven to be more aged 18-30; these people older, as they are still trend driven than those identity and choosing or developing a consumer ds they like and agree discovering which bran ds they dislike. The with, and which bran r each of these sites customer orientation fo ains in a similar age varies slightly but rem of these consumers to bracket. The importance ented in different ways; organisations are repres to covey its reputation Red Bull uses its website and representing “free of being on the edge in their quest to be the thinking� trend setters brand image they are best, by executing this who are in search of targeting the consumers feel represent a part of brand identities that they themselves. y of communicating the Armada looks to be a wa gs and videos that allow current trends using blo connection with the people to develop a rts. participants in these spo of use and satisfaction Usability is the ease mer, what may lead to experienced by the consu creating a brand loyalty.

Search

engine marketing is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages. Search Engine Marketing may use search engine optimization (SEO), that adjusts or rewrites website content to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results pages or use pay per click listings.


SEO and PPC SEO (search engine optimisation)

Search engine optimisation is the

process of making a site and its content highly relevant for both search engines and searchers; for example in the case of Armada or Nitro they would be trying to use search engine optimisation for searches such as skiing or snow boarding. SEO includes technical tasks to make it easier for search engines to find and index a site for the appropriate keywords, as well as marketing-focused tasks to make a site more appealing to its users. Successful search marketing helps a site gain top positioning for relevant words and phrases. PPC (pay per click) A performance-based advertising model where the advertiser pays a set fee for every click on an ad. The majority of text ads sold by search engines are billed under the CPC model.

Googles and Bing Paid search marketing section Shown right above the search results


The Objectives of Web design The main objectives of a website are to

carry out in a cost efficient manor, any and all of the companies strategic objectives. This can include to increase brand awareness, rebrand the products, launch a product or even to boost sales. Three of the main business objectives are to; • Retain customers • Acquire new customers • Extend the existing customers product range This means that they will be attempting to maintain the current customers interest by undergoing regular updates so that the product ranges and information doesn’t become obsolete. They can also retain existing customers by offering out membership to online deals through personal mail sent to email accounts offering loyalty rewards and discounts off future purchases. Making full use of search engine optimisation so that they can receive a healthy increase in traffic to the site consisting of new customers and revisiting existing customers, and extend and update the products and experiences available to maintain a cutting edge free reputation within the extreme winter sports industry!

Website Goals The Goals of a website are determined by the organisation, however they have to be seen from a consumer point of view to be giving something back in the way of a heightened experience or a special offer that the consumer feels makes them valued to the organisation and not just another sale. This can be some with the 5 S’s. Sell

Creating ease in the purchasing process

Serve

to assist in the consumers search for information

Speak

Create a medium in which the consumer can communicate with the organisation

Save

help the consumer save money

Sizzle

increase the stimulation in the experience the consumer has with the organisation

Design priorities Each organisation will have different priorities and expectations from its website, these can be defined into three categories; 1. Transactional E-commerce where the main purpose of the website is to boost sales and act as an alternative to the high street for purchasing 2. Service orientation, This kind of website focuses on increasing the experience of the consumer and stimulate purchases 3. Brand Building websites, these focus on reiterating the key beliefs of the brand.


l about al is te si l ul b ed R The nd image building on the bra its extreme r fo ns o ti o m ro p h it w music and sports events and with the games to interact e message th g in w lo al er m u ns co at the red to be put across th st a drink ju t o n is y n pa m co ll bu

Nitro uses its site as a combination of both a transactional ecommerce and a re lationship t ool providing help ful informatio n and a range of ways to fi nd what the con sumer is look ing for in a vis ually appeali ng manor.

Extreme is a brand that’s website is more about building a relationship and informing the consumer on the available experiences . They do this by posting videos and blogs so the consumer can relate to and communicate with the brand

Armada takes a more relationship building service and brand awareness approach to its site with blogs that consumers can connect to gain insight and assistance from the brand


Online Value Proposition Convenience C ost reduct T ion he 4 websites are extremely convenient in the same way that a majority of websites are convenient: the fact that all the information is essential in one place, so in terms of retail it is easy to compare multiple sources without leaving your own home, and it is possible to get the required items at the cheapest price as the user is not having to travel from shop to shop to find what they need; since the internet is a 24/7 hub of information even if the physical shop is closed the online version will still be active for the store to sort out the next working day and will ship it anywhere you want it in the world (delivery costs may apply) .

The pricing elem

ent of th websites e 4 is linked convince t o the aspect in the way th it is all at electronic internet a n d t h acts as a e global hu the webs b, ites will a lso alway to outdo s try the com petition deals m so ay b e o ffered if entire pa an ckage is bo buying s now boa ught (e.g. rd, cloth etc.). ing

Choice Red Bull offers a wide range of choice both in the content it offers and the products it supplies,

the supplies range, from clothing with the Red Bull logo on it to media of the various sports, and they also have a section of the website where they talk about a foundation that they have started/support. Armada offers a wide range of clothing and skies on their website which the website offers various sections about what the clothing/equipment is for and matches it the best they can for what the customer will be using it for, therefore eliminating any in depth knowledge about the sport. Extreme doesn’t have an opportunity to purchase anything on the website by they offer choice in a different way to the other 3 this is by the content of the webpage, they offer multiple photos and videos in 15 different categories including a user videos section. Nitro offers a range of clothes and apparel on the main page of the website, it is dived into men, women, kids and bags then when the heading is clicked it shows a subcategory of choices that vary between the men/women and the kids section as the different age groups will have different needs.


Customization

Content t around the e offers conten sit eb w s ll’ Bu ed provides do and also ey th at th ll, sports ucts that they se od pr e th t ou ab sting via information is visually intere ge pa eb w ll bu the red d videos ight colours an br of e ag us the website . throughout they and white inimalistic black m e th s se ili ut a k to Armad used for the blac is te hi w e th re scheme whe so have a ce versa, they al vi d an e or m t n stand ou t and informatio en nt co o de vi nd the fair amount of d the team behi an s er gn si de e about th the 4 website. edia content of m t os m e th rs fe ct that Extreme of down to the fa be d ul co is th s ey website store and that th e lin on an ve a news they don’t ha well, they have as l ne an ch TV have a rest. e for viewer inte sid e th n w do and d boar es of products ag im ng lli ro sc Nitro has arding; the aking in snowbo rt pa le op pe of videos retail. te is dedicated to si eb w e th of st re

R

Red Bull offers a newsletter in which the

user can select the information they wished to be informed about, they also allow the user to view a sample of what the newsletter will look like. Armada allows the user to modify the clothing skies that they intend to purchase off the website by firstly assessing the gender of the individual and then what the equipment will be used for and then offer information about it when the mouse is hovered over a certain item. Extreme offers very little in allowing the user to generate a customisable experience on the webpage, they only offer a generalised newsletter of what’s happening in the sports that they report on. Nitro allows the user when in the shop to modify the size of the equipment and also different criteria of the clothing such as colour and insulation.

Community Red Bull deals with the digital community well by posting photos and videos that will appeal to

them, as well as offering various ways to get more information about what they are doing via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest , Red Bull’s Facebook page has 41M likes, Twitter 1.21 M followers, 2.8M on G+. Armada doesn’t have a lot in terms of dealing with their online community, as it has a rolling Twitter board on their webpage to get up to date information that Armada posts about , they currently have just over 19,000 followers on Twitter. Extreme deals with communicating with the online community well; this is because they are also a TV channel they have the capacity to show what is being broadcasted as well as having live webcasts and videos about all the sports that they cover as well as events which they cover, they have links to their Facebook and Twitter page as well as allowing people to sign up for news letters on the webpage itself; Extreme currently has just fewer than 12,000 followers on Twitter and 28,000 likes on Facebook. Nitro does not have a lot in terms of video or photo content to get community interaction on the actual webpage. The webpage is used for a retail basis and use links to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Vimeo and Pheed for all of the photo and video content. Nitro has 43,000 likes on Facebook, 7,500 followers on twitter, 16,000 followers on Instagram, 350 subscribers on Pheed and 106 likes on Vimeo

18


Dynamic design and personalisation www.redbull.com

connect with Red Bull

upcoming events

role model’s quote

photo of the week


www.nitrousa.com

connect with Nitro

news and photos

find and buy

news and photos – full view


Twitter’s widget

find and buy

connect

videos selection

www.armadaskis.com


event’s timeline

TV guide

follow us

videos

www.extreme.com


Aesthetics

T

The style, in general, is very simple and the users are describing it as “not complicated” and “clear”. Actually, Red Bull website’s depiction is more professional and simply informative then sophisticated or aggressive.

he aesthetics in website design plays

very important role as it gives a purpose. And a website is nothing without its purpose. According to David Chaffey, there are five components which create the aesthetics: graphics, colour, style, layout and typography. All together they are creating a personality of the website. Red Bull represents market sector of energy drinks and it is perceived as a premium and high margin brand product. The company also implements sponsoring in their marketing mix strategy – this is where it connects with extreme sports. As “highclass brand” they decided to use “premium design”. All the pictures are in very good resolution, professionally taken. The photographs are generally showing moments perfectly captured in the right second. The logo is relatively small to the rest of graphics and, moreover, it even does not include written brand name. However, it can only mean that Red Bull is so well established and recognizable brand, that a small picture of the Bull is absolutely enough. The website colours are kept in dark blue (photos, links, background), grey (background, less relevant text) and red (titles, names of sections, distinguished text). The text is mainly white or black, depending on colour of its background.

The brand colours are used not only in the design, but also in products’ names.

NITRO website is slightly different in case of aesthetics. It is based on big sized photographs in the central part of the page, which are constantly changing every 7 seconds (together with short side description). The colours are aiming the target audience – blue and white (winter colours) together with black, grey and intense red (male colours). Full logo is visible in the top left corner, and also it is appearing in every picture presented (on the NITRO products).

The main photograph of NITRO website


The typography is regarding to the logo’s font – the titles and heading are in uppercase and are the letters are narrow and placed close to each other. Fascinating and interesting layout with many graphics makes the website comfortable and memorable for the potential customers. Nevertheless, the company’s focus on photographs can sometimes not be effective as they may be expecting. Designs based on photos are visually attractive but the meaning, information and message, which is obtained from text, can be blurred or even lost by visitors. ArmadaSkis.com may be called as design connection of Red Bull and NITRO. Why? It is enough to notice the impressive amount of graphics and photos along with loads of informative content elements. The first impression of the website design does not include many “extreme” feelings. White background, black text, the majority written in capital letters. However, the more time spent there, the more impressive it is becoming. Professionalism of Armada is located in plenty of materials available for the visitors, not in some kind of “innovative and complicated layout”. Their style is shown in the exclusive, colourful and original graphics. They do not hire designers, they hire artists. And it is visible not only in their products’ look but also on their website. Unusual thing is to connect the creativity in case of product and website so well.

One of the Armada graphics.

Simplicity is not the word to describe the last website – Exterme.com. The nature of the company is not allowing to have such a web design as Armada or NITRO. In fact, Extreme.com is more comparable with Red Bull site. Well structured and clear content written in grey/black/white colours, Calibri font. Interesting, dark grey background (kind of wood pattern). Small elements in red (as the logo is) - just to emphasise single words as subtitles or sections. What is interesting, different types of panels in dark colours are creating really nice, user-friendly design. Timeline is other element which is not common for extreme sports websites. The idea in this kind of sport is to live the moment – not to contemplate about the past. What about the graphics? Well, these are not very impressive or breath-taking, however still are relating to the sector. All similar size, mainly pictures taken during some events or presenting well-known extreme sports representatives.


Page Design

what should be where and why??

T

here are different page layouts which are

implemented within CMS – Content Management Systems. The most common definition is that every page template represents different sector and objectives. For instance: menus, submenus, logo or privacy information. Well used CMS also allows the web owners to easily add new information or update the website without mess or time wasting.

Moreover, the website’s attractiveness will increase among the viewers when the layout will be consistent. The eye-tracking studies show that online visitors eyes follow like this: 1. Start in the centre. 2. Move to top left. 3. Move to top centre. 4. Move down the right column or the navigation if present. 5. Move to the bottom of the page. (Chaffey, 2008)

Menu – different sport sectors Company’s logo ( but without the name)

Search option for quicker navigation

An aesthetic, visually pleasing layout

Copywright and privacy information in sepatated links at the bottem of the website

Social media following icons


News and latest updates - visual hierarchy showing relative importance of different content through size

Clear navigation options to a range of content, services and visitor engagement devices.

Logo and name – hyperlink to homepage

Shopping menu sectors

Social media following icons

Detailed shopping menu

Search tool (local shops and global distributors) Copywright and privacy information in sepatated links at the bottem of the website


Logo and name – hyperlink to homepage

Widely used standards and tools, for exapmle a video.

Menu (and submenus) for navigation.

Prioritization of marketing messages and calls-to-action for different audiences and products for persuasion purposes. Photographic regular squares instead of columns.

Twitter column and hyperlink icons of other social media Contact information

Copywtight information


Logo and name – hyperlink to homepage

Visual hierarchy showing relative importance of different video content through order.

Browse, Register, Login and Newsletter options

Menus and submen

Visual hierarchy of the latest updates o the website through size.

Timeline for live webcasts.

Clear navigation options to a range of TV and social media content, services and visitor engagement devices.

Information about cookies files used on the website.

Privacy policy


Navigation and structure The type of a website’s navigation and structure is defined simply by the number of clicks to get from one point to another. Both types have their pros and cons; for example, the broad and shallow one might be more useful on a mobile devices.

All of the analysed websites can be described as the ones having broad and shallow structure. To make the moving around on a website even easier and more efficient, all of the brands have used drop-menus. Moreover, Red Bull and Extreme websites, as the ones with a bigger amount of content have created sub-menus.


Types of interactions

There are various ways for people to interact with the webpages, such as: • Response forms - response forms allow visitors to give feedback straight from the webpage to help to company improve it. • E-mail addresses - click on an e-mail address and be able to email from there (tends to be outlook) • Web links – the webpage may have links to other sites. These can open new windows when the user clicks them, it can be used to link to documents and videos, PDFs and larger images where detail is to be shown. You can control the size of the new widow which opens. • E-commerce facilities –this function allows customers to buy straight from your site

Private areas - customers can be given private access to areas of the site using password protection to allow them to log in to specific information. • Interactive menu - all the menus allow visitors to easily find what they are trying to find on the site. The most basic one is a text based menu, which you can have horizontal or vertical. In addition, you can have CSS(cascading style sheets) menus, fully configurable The information about what the people are doing on your website can be gathered using Google Analytics.


Conclusions and recommendations 

Market situation

Extreme sports are now not only an activity, but a whole lifestyle; the market share for people getting engaged with extreme sports is constantly growing since year 2000.

Navigation data and segmentation

Both primary and secondary research show the same thing – there is a growing interest in extreme winter sports, although most of the customers prefer to watch videos or attend events rather than get actively engaged.

Customer Orientation and website objectives

Target audience are the people aged 18-30, the ones that state themselves as “free thinkers” and try to create a certain image or simply like the adrenaline. All of the websites are easy to use and very intuitive, what may create a strong consumer-brand connection.

Online Value Proposition

All of the websites provide quality content, although there is a slight difference amongst them: Red Bull and Extreme concentrate on creating a certain lifestyle, while Armada and Nitro are rather focusing on selling their goods.

Dynamic design personalisation

and

Each of the presented websites knows how important it is to adjust to the customer, they provide a wide range of different personalisation features, such as news, events or photo of the day sections. They also emphasize the need of connection with the customer by placing convenient links to social media sites.

Aesthetics

The role of aesthetics is simply to create a specific mood on a website and give it a personality. While Red Bull and Extreme are creating a young, fresh atmosphere and insert a lot of content at the same time, Nitro and Armada prefer a refreshing, minimalistic design. Red Bull and Extreme might want to rethink their strategy, as some potential customers might be overwhelmed by the amount of the information they are presenting at the same time.

Page design

Each of the four websites bases their page design on eye-tracking studies, placing a clear logo in a top left corner to make sure the customer will recognize the brand (as top left corner is the second thing that attracts the eye).

Navigation and structure

On every of the analyzed pages a broad and shallow type of navigation was presented; it seems to be well thought and convenient especially for the mobile devices users.

Types of interaction

None of the presented websites seem to be taking enough advantage by placing different types of customer interaction on their pages; only Red Bull provides private areas; at the same time, they tend to emphasize the meaning of social media interaction, what is self-explanatory taking their target audience into consideration.


References Alexa. (2013) Alexa. [online] Available from: http://www.alexa.com/. [Accessed 19 December 2013] Armada skis. (2013) Armada skis. [online] Available from: http://armadaskis.com. [Accessed 19 December 2013] Chaffey, D. (2008) Emarketing Excellence. 3rd ed. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. Definitions of PPC and SEO Extreme.com. (2013) Extreme.com. [online] Available from: http://uk.extreme.com. [Accessed 19 December 2013] http://searchenginewatch.com/page/glossary Mintel. (2005) Extreme sports report – October 2005. London: Mintel group LTD. Nitro Snowboards. (2013) Nitro Snowboards. [online] Available from: http://www.redbull.com/en. [Accessed 19 December 2013] Office for national statistics. (2013) Economic Review, December 2013 [online] Available from: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_343680.pdf. [Accessed 17 December 2013]. Red Bull. (2013) Red Bull Gives You Wings. [online] Available from: http://www.redbull.com/en. [Accessed 19 December 2013] SEM Glossary. (2013). SEM Glossary. [online] Available from: http://searchenginewatch.com/page/glossary. [Accessed 18 December 2013] User Experience Stack Exchange. (2013) Should we use ‘narrow and deep’ or ‘broad and shallow’ navigation pattern on mobile devices? [online]. Available from: http://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/30825/should-we-use-narrow-and-deep-or-broad-andshallow-navigation-pattern-on-mob

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