Reebok Wants You To Be More Human

Reebok officially took the next step in their complete brand transformation in February 2014 with the redesign of their logo. The new mark is the delta symbol, used to signify change. Their press release states the delta logo was chosen to “represent the changes — physical, mental and social — that occur when people push themselves beyond their perceived limits and embrace an active and challenging life.”

This is quite the shift for Reebok, which was once known for outfitting women’s aerobics in the ’80s and ’90s. They seemed adrift, with no real brand image over the last decade, and heading towards the great brand burial ground after being purchased by Adidas Group. In 2010, Reebok had the masterful idea to hitch their wagon to CrossFit and the functional fitness movement. It started with sponsoring the CrossFit Games and releasing a line of gear. At the time, most hardcore CrossFitters were appalled that a brand last seen doing step aerobics with mom would now be the presenting sponsor of their signature event. 

Fast-forward a few years, and it appears that Reebok has come out on top. They have established a successful line of apparel and footwear for the CrossFit community. In addition, they added sponsorship of the Spartan Race to their fitness portfolio, which gave the brand even more credibility.
With their logo change and new campaign, they are going “all in” on fitness — with a higher purpose.

"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 impact your whole self and your relationships with others," said Matt O'Toole, Reebok chief marketing officer. "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."

This is a big idea, and their new campaign to “Be More Human” brings it to life. The campaign combines paid, owned and earned media in a seamless way to educate, inspire and engage fitness enthusiasts around the world. It is a clear attempt to make Reebok a lifestyle brand and experience. The best brands — Starbucks, Apple, JetBlue, BMW — have become lifestyle experiences just as much as the products they sell. Providing an experience builds long-term loyalty and provides the stickiness that marketer’s dream of accomplishing.

“Be More Human” was launched with a splash as a commercial during this year’s Super Bowl and came with a nicely designed site packed with content, videos, interactive social campaigns and a quiz to judge your humanness. For the record, I scored an 84, making me a “Guardian." From the site, you can also sign up for a newsletter, share socially, and, of course, shop. 

In all, it is an impressive effort to back up a subtle rebrand of the company. One of the hardest feats in marketing is to completely change the DNA of a company. So far, it appears that Reebok has pulled off becoming the brand of fitness. It is a unique position as compared to Nike and Adidas, who are more sport-centric. This movement bears watching to see where they will take this big idea in the future. Selling a lifetime of fulfillment and empowerment can be a lot harder than peddling sneakers.

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