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Posted by Shar VanBoskirk on October 1, 2008
Reebok and its agency Carat shared the details of their "Run Easy" campaign -- a multichannel effort to create a movement in running.
The situation: Reebok has strong brand recognition, but a much smaller share of sales than competitors. Reebok wanted to create a perception that running was for everyone, not just for the elite, a very different message than competitive positioning. Reebok also believed that to do this well, they needed to create a *movement* around running. It wouldn't work to try to motivate people around running just with a few outbound campaigns.
The approach: Creating a movement is different than creating a campaign. In fact, Reebok used an approach somewhat contrary to how traditional media efforts are developed. They seeded their market with the "run easy" idea in advance of a large media blitz. Then they used media to further interest in the idea and enroll people in the movement. And last they spread the message through in-person events and viral elements in order to drive participation and encourage the community to spread the word on Reebok's behalf.
From my perspective the primary lessons to take away from Reebok's effort, are:
1) To think differently about how you use available media. Even if you aren't able to adopt alot of new tools, shaking up how you use your existing arsenal can make a huge difference. In this case, Reebok used television after the word was already out around "run easy." Instead of announcing a new brand identity, television confirmed that "run easy" was a serious movement and directed people who were interested to destinations where they could learn more.
2) Involve your audience in your media plan. You've heard Forrester talk already about "ceding control of your brand to your customer." This example shows where Reebok actually ceded control of what media and what messages they used to the people who were participating in their movement. Reebok's users created valuable marketing tools like running maps, testimonials, images of them and their friends running easy. And Reebok users determined what media Reebok should use. Reebok bought on and offline properties based on how and where their users RAN, not just how they consumed media.