Embryo Index Retail Focus: Sports Direct

The Embryo Indexes show the top 100 companies (from a pool of more) within a range of industries and sectors. Each company is scored against a series of metrics which culminate in an overall Embryo Index Score, this score then allocates each company a rank within the top 100. Want to find out more about how the Index works? Then take a look here

We regularly update our Embryo Indexes to see what impact the latest digital developments and changes within the industries have on each companies scores. The latest update has seen more companies in both indexes losing points, rather than gaining them, with 57% of companies in the retail index losing points from their score. This is mainly due to businesses struggling to manage their SEO strategies. 

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. In our retail index, there is one clear winner this month, who has managed to improve their Embryo Index Score by 3.5 points, allowing them to move up the rankings into the top 10, this is Sports Direct. This increase to their score is also down to them increasing their scores for social, links, and content. 

With this in mind, we thought we’d take a closer look into how Sports Direct have improved their score and what you can learn from the retailer. 

Christmas Campaign 

2020 was the first time Sports Direct launched a Christmas campaign. Costing the retailer £5m, the “Sports Starts Here’ campaign focused on their multi-sport offering and featured a cameo from Jordan Henderson. Using a multi-channel approach, the campaign launched on TV and social media, also including #SportsStartsHere allowing people to join in with the conversation online and increase their reach. 

This was a clever move from the brand as they needed to turn to different channels in order to better connect with locked-down consumers and it looks like the decision paid off as the video received over 8.7 million views.

Investing in PR 

Another move we’ve seen from Sports Direct is them investing in PR as they appoint a new agency. In the past, the brand has faced wider challenges which have led to a somewhat negative perception. So hopefully this new investment in PR can help continue the brand’s reimagination. 

Offline Expansion

The Frasers Group which Sports Direct belongs to is also planning on and already opening their multi-brand stores which feature the group’s brands, USC, Evans, GAME, and Sports Direct all under one roof. This investment in offline activities also helps to increase their online content, links and engagement.


Overall it seems like Sports Direct’s focus of combining SEO, PR and social media is paying off, and just goes to show to other brands the importance of a multi-channel strategy.

Don’t forget to take a look at both indexes to see how else the rankings have changed this month. As well as updating our existing indexes, we’re also working on launching a fashion index which should be live early this month.



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