Reebok, the global sports brand, rebranded back in March 2014 with more than a new logo, they rebranded with a completely new ethos for their company.
Reebok was founded in 1895 and has been a subsidiary of Adidas since 2005. The sports apparel industry is a competitive one with big players such as Nike, Under Armour and Reebok’s very own parent company Adidas jostling for the top position. In Reebok’s rebrand, the business was looking for a way to appeal to a broader audience. Historically, Reebok has been a product company and have developed sport specific products for top athletes, letting those trickle down into the main stream and creating a brand that way. However, in order to be a big player in the industry they needed to realize their potential and make a big change.
Which is exactly what they did when they introduced us to their new logo, the Delta. Not just a logo, Reebok told us, the Delta is a symbol for a new way of life and at its core, represents change. With a new ambition, Reebok is no longer a product company for the elite athlete, but a company for everyone. And the sport they are focusing on now? Fitness.
What’s interesting is that they are consciously focussing on the core of their business but instead of calling it ‘sport’ they are calling it ‘fitness’. That’s pretty encompassing and ties in to the desire by consumers for better, healthier lives.
Reebok have set out an ambitious vision to bring the human element back to fitness. Matt O’Toole, Global Head of the Reebok brand said, “We want to be the new form of fitness, rejecting the mirrors, machines and solitary type of fitness by introducing the world to a more socially engaging form of fitness. We want to turn the fitness world on its head and our job in that is to provide the gear.
Just a few months after the launch of the new branding, Adidas Group have released their Q2 financial results, announcing a 9% growth and sales up by 22%. Looking at those numbers it appears that the rebrand is resonating with consumers. Reebok also reports that their brand engagement and followers have increased as well since the rebrand was launched.
Why then is this rebrand working and what can we learn from it?
Living the brand from the inside out
The biggest reason why this rebrand is succeeding is because Reebok is living the brand from the inside out. Reebok has aligned its internal teams, creating an army of brand ambassadors.
In an article written byOlivia Rotenberg Reebok’s Global Corporate Communications Officer, she says “When I first stepped onto the Reebok campus in Canton, MA, it didn’t take long for me to realize that Reebok employees are living the brand- the Reebok Delta. I was surprised and immediately impressed to find that Reebok is packed with employees who believe and live the brand message and who are in turn anxious to share that message.”
Buy-in from consumers is crucial for a brand to succeed, but it’s buy-in from the internal team that determines that success. Reebok is living with fire.
How have they created this army of brand ambassadors? First of all they’ve educated their employees on the new brand and what it means. Second, they live the brand at their campuses. They host daily spin classes, CrossFit WOD (workout of the day), and other fitness classes making it possible for their employees to really engage with the sport of fitness. They are inspiring their own people to move. Third, they allow employees take over the corporate Instagram account. Their employees engage with the brand in a whole different way and it becomes a live and real thing for consumers. It’s not just an account to boost sales and showcase products. It’s an account to showcase the brand and its ambassadors.
Creating a sense of community
This rebrand is working because Reebok is creating a sense of community. The idea behind the rebrand was to promote a more human form of fitness; and part of being human is being social. We like to do things together and have a group of friends to share our experiences with. Brands like Nike and Lululemon have already been leveraging this and while Reebok is a little late to the party they are getting involved in creating communities.
Research has found that community, whether a digital community or a physical group of people enhances brand equity and brand loyalty. Being part of a community allows the brand to communicate with consumers, which in turn enhances its positioning in the consumer’s mind. Community helps with word of mouth marketing; it increases loyalty and builds a strong consumer brand relationship.
O’Toole states, “The new brand mark signals a clear purpose for our brand and it will be a badge for those who pursue a fuller life through fitness. We believe the benefits of an active life go beyond the physical benefits and impacts your whole self and your relationships with others”.
Current and Authentic
“It is our symbol of change – an invitation to take part, and to unlock your true potential. It’s not a logo, it’s a symbol, a way of life.” Says O’Toole about the new Reebok logo. Especially in the United States, the health initiative to get people moving is huge. We live an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, which is having negative effects on our health. What’s authentic about Reebok’s campaign is they aren’t showing us professional athletes and expecting us to aspire to their lifestyle, they are encouraging fitness for everyone, however they want to be involved.
Everyone likes authenticity. Reebok’s staff takeover of Instagram is just that, authentic. Bri Moreno, Reebok Brand Strategy Manager adds ”So many of us at Reebok live the brand on a daily basis. Our stories are authentic, unscripted and really help personify our brand online. I think it was great for our consumers to see that everyone involved in creating & marketing Reebok products is just like them!” Brand stories are so important and when you can make them authentic that’s when consumers buy into what the brand is saying.
I think it will be interesting to see the end of year financial results and see how Reebok performed over the year. As of today, Reebok has 3,213,464 likes on Facebook and 365K Twitter followers. I’ll be watching to see how they continue to engage consumers and increase followers. So far though, I take my hat off to Reebok. What they have done seems to be working.