New Running Brands Means New Marketing Muscle.
A new day is dawning in the running world. Less traditional running brands and retailers are flocking to the marketplace and positioning themselves in spaces where traditional brands have occupied. In recent years, however, many of those traditional brands have become somewhat complacent and shied away from mass participation events focussing their attention on city-centric running groups and swagged out influencers within the running space. Both are good strategies but, like a good ad campaign, a brand needs several supporting mediums and mass direct customer engagement to successfully tell their story.
Mass participation running races are the corner stone of running endemic marketing. They allow brands to successfully measure their investment and, if done correctly, can garner a tremendous ROI. Typically an individual planning on a certain run will realize twelve weeks out that they need to start their training. This means that a retailer and brand can have the direct attention of the runner for an extended period of time prior to the run, right up to the run and beyond the run itself. The drive to retail through official training runs, virtual offers, race ambassadors and more all help to support the investment made by the brand and official retailer. It’s a lot of work but worth the pay off. Beginning a meaningful relationship with the running customer before and after their race can pay big dividends and enhance customer loyalty.
Here’s a snapshot: Prior to the Run: Twelve weeks out – Running clinics at retail bring runners together to ensure they have the right gear: shoes, apparel, accessories, supplements, etc. Depending on the weather, a runner may purchase new shoes, running jackets, technical tees, shorts, running pants not to mention connected fitness gear, music, enhanced mobile network coverage and more. The total dollars invested by runners into their passion is serious and retailers and brands have the chance to speak to an enthusiastic, passionate and dedicated audience. After the run, the retailer and brands will have loyal customers and more importantly, permission to speak that customer.
Brands looking to introduce new product lines are recognizing that the opportunity to speak directly to this consumer group is important and profitable. The Canada Running Series for example, runs races in three major markets across Canada. Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Their 60,000+ runners are 55% female with 57% between the ages of 25-44. An affluent educated group that has the largest segment within the $100k-$149K HHI and 85% have a post-secondary degree, certificate or diploma. The demo is reached by a robust social media program that generates over 77 million impressions over several different channels. Suffice to say, a Canada Running Series race (considered some of the best produced running races in Canada) offers brands and retailer the chance to monetize their investment.
When Under Armour was looking to launch their running brand in Canada they turned to Canada Running Series who was pleased to announce Under Armour as the new title sponsor of the Eastside 10k race, scheduled for Saturday, September 16th this year.
In addition to the title sponsorship, Under Armour is the exclusive athletic footwear, apparel and Connected Fitness sponsor. All participants will receive Under Armour technical running shirts and race organizers will receive technical apparel and footwear. This collaborative partnership will also bring cutting-edge innovation to the Canadian road running scene with activations across Under Armour’s digital training platforms, MapMyRun® and UA Record™. These platforms will include official training programs for runners of all abilities. There will also be an ambassador program and community outreach for run crews and clubs.
“This is a strategic partnership between two premier high performance brands,” says Canada Running Series president, Alan Brookes. “This partnership with Under Armour, the global leader in innovation performance product, is about bringing the latest and greatest to the Canadian road running scene. Together we will be able to grow the Under Armour Eastside 10k into an even bigger and better international running event, and something that is in, for and with Vancouver’s Eastside.”
“Under Armour is passionate about making all runners better and we are thrilled to partner with Canada Running Series to elevate the awareness of the Eastside 10K race,” says Shana Ferguson, Director of Marketing, Under Armour Canada. “This is one of the highlights of the Vancouver fall racing calendar, as the race winds through some of the most historic and vibrant areas of the city, and we are looking forward to outfitting runners in our innovative gear.”
Under Armour’s partnership with the Eastside 10k is the company’s first title sponsorship of a Canada Running Series race. In the U.S., Under Armour has enriched the running experience at signature events, including San Francisco’s Bay to Breakers 12K, and Washington, D.C.’s Cherry Blossom 10-miler & 5k. As in San Francisco and Washington D.C., Under Armour will enhance the experience in Vancouver in all phases of the run.
New brands entering any sport inject not only revenue but heightened marketing and awareness of that sport or activity. Their investment helps differentiate their brand from other endemic brands who are trying to attract the same customer. Under Armour has a thoughtful marketing team that is strategically making aggressive strides in this lucrative market choosing one of the most authentic city runs within Canada.We are excited about more brands following suit as mass participation runs remain the cornerstone to a good endemic marketing plan.