Stretching to Gain Brand Flexibility

June 1, 2016
June 1, 2016 Amy Weber

I like to think of myself as someone who values fitness. I spent 14 years growing up as a competitive swimmer, and have taken on challenges in my adult life like a 72-mile bike race and the Boston Marathon (both of which were not pretty, but I finished!).

Anyone who participates in athletic endeavors knows that flexibility is an important part of any training regimen, it’s why I’ve gotten into yoga in recent years. But, when I was recently at the Ad Club CMO Breakfast, featured speaker David Oksman of Reebok spoke of flexibility as it relates to his fitness brand. Flexibility allows brands like Reebok to explore where their consumers will allow them to stretch and expand.

We talk a lot in the advertising industry about the importance of knowing your target audience and not trying to be everything to everyone. We also talk a lot about innovation and the importance of evolving your brand to stay relevant with consumers. So how do you both stay focused and expand outside of what is safe? David sees this as brand elasticity.

Reebok is focused on the hardcore athlete – the person (Millennial especially) who works out 3-5 times per week and spends more money on athletic gear than any one of us would care to admit. While that audience is a big one, they needed to find a way to bring more people into the Reebok brand without alienating their current audience, all while staying true to their brand purpose of inspiring people to be their absolute best.

So, how can Reebok push their brand to a new place? They took a hard look at the behaviors of their current core audience (myself included) and tried to find additional places where the Reebok brand could live. When thinking back on my athletic endeavors, I know I’m not alone when I say that one of the things that got me through my 26.2-mile experience was my pump-up playlist. Athletes often turn to music to help them be a better competitor. And musicians, like athletes, are constantly practicing and pushing the bounds of what they can accomplish. Sounds like a match made in heaven, right? And so, the Kendrick Lamar and Reebok Mobile 5K Concert was born.

What I love about this partnership is the Reebok team discovered a perfect way to both further engage their current audience and bring in new brand fans. So, to any brand thinking about expanding while staying relevant to your current audience, I challenge you to look at some of the nuances in the behaviors of your current audience. How are they using your brand or living their life in a way that you may be able to leverage in order to bring in a new generation of brand fans? Your current audience may just have the answers for you.


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