Gatorade, a dual-purpose drink that can either cure a hangover or be used as sports fuel, is reinventing their drink. In todays over crowded market for specialty drinks, Gatorade has become just another brand in the fridge at the store. For their 50th anniversary, however, Gatorade is actively taking strides to refresh their brand. Senior Vice President and General Manager, Brett O’Brien, says they have found an opportunity to become a larger sports brand, like Nike and Under Armour, and that Gatorade’s brand innovation strategy is the road map to that goal. With the incorporation of sports technology innovation, Gatorade seeks to become, once again, the future of sports fuel.
The Technology: A Smart Cap Water Bottle
The smart cap water bottle has incorporated a software platform that links the cap to a sweat analysis patch that sticks to the athlete during games and practices. The sweat analysis patch can measure the athlete’s hydration rates real-time. At first it may seem like a shiny new bottle with bright flashing LED lights, but it actually is an innovative product that focuses on the customer, in this case, athletes. The smart cap water bottle is simply a brand extension, but it is very natural to the evolution of technology and Gatorade has found a way to quickly capitalize on it.
The Athletes: Personalizing The Product
Have you ever compared the size of basketball and football players from the 70s to athletes today? With the help of natural selection, athletes also have been given every type of enhancement and personalized performance strategy you can think of in order to become the best of the best in their sport. And don’t think the importance to better performance is left unseen by athletes; rather it is one of the main factors for why the sports industry remains successful. For example, Nike Plus tracks athletes running progress and now Gatorade’s Smart Cap Water Bottle will be able to measure hydration rates. Sports equipment, diet, training, and now a smart cap water bottle that athletes use to better their performance is a reflection of being able to accurately measure and personalize their training regiment.
“We still have these athletic challenges or problems to solve, we still have athletes wanting to become more effective and better at what they do, and they want to know as much about their bodies as possible,” says O’Brien. “It started with Nike Plus and Fitbits, and the idea of using technology to know how you’re using your body, and just wanting as much data as possible to the point where you’re watching ESPN and they’re doing scientific breakdowns of wide receivers, how fast they run, their wingspan – we never thought about that before. And if athletes want to know increasingly more about what they need to be putting in their body to maximize their performance, Gatorade wants to be the brand they turn to.”
Gatorade is pointing the future of their brand in the right direction because they have still captured their original brand positioning and values. With the introduction of their new smart cap water bottle, the expectation of this particular brand extension will be the bar they set for the future of sports fuel and performance.