Jessica Dalpiaz :
As a female snowboarder, I never thought Sage Kotsenberg was sponsored so that I would buy a Nitro snowboard or Nike boots. I never even thought he was trying to inspire me to do a backside double cork off my heels. Call me crazy.
I’ve had many a debate with my male compatriots who see progression of humans on a snowboard in a linear line, not one separated by the sexes. That’s fine if we are talking about the progression of snowboarding as a whole. We ladies will admit we would be farther down on that line than we would like, but does this fact have relevance when we talk of marketing or the validity of sponsoring and promoting female athletes?
Brands need women to connect to women. If I see a ripping female snowboarder on a “XYZ” board, I take note. If I see a man ripping on a snowboard I’m impressed, but I’m not curious about what board he’s riding – even if I know that brand also makes women’s boards. I want to know about her snowboard (what kind, size, directional?) and probably ask her about it and why she chose it – especially if I’m looking to buy a new one. The woman doesn’t have to be doing the same most technical tricks as the man in order to elicit this reaction. It makes no difference that the man is a “better” snowboarder than her. I still want to know what she’s riding because it relates to me. 70% of women learn about products/services from other women .
Marketing using female athletes connects with me on an emotional level. When done right, I really take note of the brand and a little cog in my brain clicks over and I think more highly of the brand, not just the athlete.
In a study by Ben Barry of Cambridge, consumers increased their purchase intentions by over 200 percent when they saw models who reflected them. When models didn’t, consumers decreased their purchase intentions by 64 percent.
Be a brand that inspires more women and girls to take up the sport by promoting women. Women’s professional Snowboarding will progress as the talent pool grows.
Invest in your female consumer and she will pay you back with interest.
 Center for Women’s Business Research, Washington, DC.
Photo: Jamie Anderson lands her first 1080 at Nine Queens.
Marie France Roy talks embracing the differences in gender at the Not Snowboarding Podcast. “Why is there that expectation? Why does it matter so much? We’re different, physically and mentally, and in society as a whole”. She goes on to say that physically women tend to be more vulnerable to injuries, and mentally there is less of an instinct to take risks the same way. “There is always that little voice in the back of our brain that says ‘this is risky’ – people should appreciate that women are facing these other factors and the fact that they (still) go out there. To see the women at games on those big ass jumps spinning and doing crazy cool tricks… I think its really progressive, even though a lot of people talk shit. I find it very disappointing, for me it’s the most inspiring thing ever and I wish people saw all of the aspects a bit better.”