Nike has its famous “just do it” slogan, encouraging everyone to work hard to be his or her very best. Under Armour has exploded thanks to its underdog-overcoming-the-odds marketing. But what about Reebok?
The company had long faded into what seemed to be like the abyss of that athletic world, but all of that has been changing with the help of CrossFit.
As Don Howard writes on retail blog The Robin Report, the brand formed an official 10-year relationship with CrossFit in 2011.
Howard writes about how Reebok decided to gather data about who the CrossFit customer was — specifically, what his or her body type was like. Howard explains that the company utilised consulting and data firm Alvanon to create 3D body scans of 300 CrossFit participants to determine the scope of sizes. This helped the company figure out more about how make patterns for its CrossFit line.
This was particularly unique at the time. “At the time, there wasn’t a lot of information about the body types of the CrossFit athlete,” Michael Morganti, Reebok’s, director of pattern apparel, said to The Robin Report — meaning that, CrossFitters were likely wearing clothes that were ill-suited for the strenuous training they did.
Howard notes that “fit can, and should, be a major factor in garment development. Indeed the fit factor can make the difference between a dissatisfied consumer who will never buy from that brand again and a satisfied customer who will reward good fit with repeated business.”
After all, a CrossFit athlete may have a different body type than a yogi or barre enthusiast or even a diehard runner. By specializing in a vastly growing sport, Reebok — which is owned by Adidas — has helped differentiate itself, something that’s crucial in order to survive retail’s bloodbath.
“How we differentiate ourselves — it’s all we do, it’s what we do,” Brand President Matt O’Toole said to Business Insider in an interview in November. “Look at the big brands. They’re kind of moonlighting in fitness, and then you have Lululemon or Sweaty Betty — brands like that are really catering to a much older and mature consumer. And the net of it is, we’ve been able to carve out a very unique identity in tough social fitness in this space.”
Another thing that helps Reebok is that CrossFit has a built-in community that has been been compared to a cult by some and the element of community is what has helped athleisure brands like Nike, Under Armour, and Lululemon thrive. Reebok also sponsors CrossFit games.
So far, whatever Reebok is doing is paying off. In the first quarter of fiscal 2016, sales improved by 6%, marking the brand’s twelfth consecutive quarter of growth.
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