Skechers doesn’t really have an earned media problem, per se. While the athletic apparel/sneaker brand lost -7 points coming out of August, the real issue is media volatility. Essentially, coverage is inconsistent and overly event-driven. Skechers is not a top-of-mind brand in the athletic apparel sector that makes it into broader athletic apparel coverage, reviews, and industry profiles. Lululemon and Under Armour went through a similar media growing period. UA fared better than Lululemon due to a broadening of its product line and an aggressive athlete/celebrity endorsement strategy. Skechers’ media volatility is quite evident through a quick review of its 4-year media rating trendline. The blue line represents Skechers’ monthly rating metric. The orange line is a smoothed, 6-month trailing average of the brand’s monthly rating. Volatility is simply the two gray bands around the trailing 6-month average. For Skechers those bands couldn’t be further apart.
Coverage volatility has one significant consequence — it’s a drag on building long-term brand visibility. It forces the communications team to re-educate the media (traditional and social) with each marketing campaign and product announcement. Bridging the natural media highs with company, product, and endorsement news is vital to creating and maintaining media momentum, which is the hallmark of earned media brand development.
Skechers is doing a lot of things right in the media, and media momentum is showing a strong upswing this month at +83 percent. But at mediaQuant we call it like we see it. The brand is performing below its trailing 12-month average and well off its media rating high of 71 points (April 2014). While the company’s financials have ignited interest on Wall Street, the brand’s media visibility and rating position need more focus between the rating highs. Something as simple as staggering product and market announcements would go a long way to building more sustained media momentum, taking the brand north of 70 points.