We track the earned media coverage of a lot of athletic & outdoor apparel brands. It’s a crowded space with a few top brands that dominate global media attention. But occasionally an upstart brand appears that has a good story, passionate leadership, and a product that hits an unmet need in their target market.

I’m talking about Oiselle, a women’s running apparel startup from Seattle.

Now, mediaQuant is all about measuring prominence in earned media, across traditional, social, and search channels. And a company like Oiselle barely registers on the national and global media charts. But that’s the beauty in media measurement — you gotta’ start somewhere. Many of the brands, influencers, celebrities, and professional athletes we track started out in 20+ media rating territory. And with mediaQuant, you can measure where you started, where you’re going, and track your progress across time, against competitors, and in specific media segments.

Here’s the current media profile for Oiselle:

While established consumer brand media profiles fall into the 60-80 point range, here’s what an emerging brand media profile looks like. This is that early introduction period where they’re just getting some initial coverage, 915 mentions that translate into a 25 media rating (comparative indexed score between 0-100).

From a rating perspective, and knowing the other big players in the sector, my advice is to contrast and compare your story to more established brands across earned media channels. Pull an Under Armour strategy and pursue endorsements in unlikely areas that have future potential, but no immediate payback, e.g., up-and-coming high school runners, Special Olympics stories, etc. And leverage your size. You’re different, you’re authentic, and not like everyone else. Nobody, not even guys, likes to show up at the dance (or run) wearing the same thing. The big established running brands have that built in problem — you don’t.

Sometimes all it takes is a few well-placed media stories to propel your brand into 40-60 rating territory. Lululemon is a classic example of a brand that now is in the 70 rating band that struggled below 40 points for years. Maybe it’s because we’re a startup ourselves, but I love new brands in established sectors. And it doesn’t hurt that Oiselle’s from the Pacific Northwest too!

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