Uppercuts for better lives
Reebok unlocks a new business segment and extends its ‘Tough Fitness’ paradigm to the growing Combat Training Community – the company’s culture plays a crucial role
The moment you step onto the Reebok campus in Canton, Massachusetts, it is evident that the company is embodied by a deep-seated fitness culture. The building, emblazoned with the phrase ‘3, 2, 1… Go!’, and its vast gym and studio spaces are just a few tell-tale signs. A dynamic, inspiring and boundary-challenging vibe permeates this workspace. Here you will not find employees slogging along for miles alone on treadmills and elliptical machines. Instead, you will see groups of men and women flipping tires and hitting heavy bags with grit and intensity and people cheering on their co-workers to finish the last burpee of a “Workout of the Day” (WOD); all intermingled amongst the energy of a bustling work day. The culture of fitness permeates all aspects of the business..
Reebok is Tough Fitness
Reebok’s company culture showcases a new kind of fitness – an uninhibited, optimistic, brave and tribal type of fitness that transcends any diet or traditional workout regimen. Reebok’s brand of fitness is an attitude; one that says, “I’m not afraid of a little extra pain, I won’t back down from a challenge, I work hard because I believe in myself.” Reebok is ‘tough fitness’ – a transformative type of fitness that goes beyond the physical to incorporate social and mental well-being.
As the leading fitness brand, Reebok is not satisfied with the status quo. Embracing the ‘tough fitness’ mentality in its business initiatives means the brand is always looking for new opportunities to support and innovate for fitness enthusiasts who themselves are testing the boundaries of traditional notions of fitness.
Reebok’s embrace of the ‘tough fitness athlete’ is highlighted in its successful partnerships with CrossFit and Spartan Race. Reebok’s dedicated CrossFit and Spartan apparel and footwear lines are outfitting an ever-expanding worldwide market of fitness devotees. CrossFit gym memberships have increased over 10,000% in the last decade and obstacle race participation has become a worldwide phenomenon, with an estimated 10 million participants in over 5,000 races spanning more than 30 countries in 2014 alone.
Recognizing the popularity of the ‘tough fitness’ phenomenon and emboldened by the success of its existing partnerships, Reebok managers sought to strategically expand the ‘tough fitness’ business modality. Several months ago these managers identified that business opportunity. Yesterday was the culmination of months of negotiations and hard work in sculpting a new business line that holds true to Reebok’s ‘tough fitness’ strategy.
Training like a fighter
The opportunity identified by Reebok is that presented by the growing community of Combat Training enthusiasts. Today, over 35 million people have traded in their treadmills and aerobics outfits for boxing gloves and punching bags. As the popularity of combat training and, in particular, mixed martial arts (MMA) skyrockets, more and more individuals are looking to this method of training to get fit. They don’t do it to win a belt or even a fight. They do it to to gain the physical, mental and social benefits of ‘training like a fighter’.
Seizing upon the unique opportunity presented by this ‘tough fitness’ community, Reebok’s team headed by Todd Krinsky, Mike Lunardelli and Matt Bilodeau, came together to make Reebok the go-to brand for this emerging fitness community.
“Combat Training is a worldwide movement dedicated to the pursuit of physical and mental fitness. The discipline and dedication of this community is what inspires us. We are going to address the unique needs of this athlete, and we are committed to providing specific product for this style of training.”Mike Lunardelli, Director of Reebok’s Combat Training Product
Reebok is currently designing and producing these products for a July 2015 rollout of its new line. “We will deliver a unique range of apparel and accessories built exclusively for how the body moves across these different disciplines,” Mike continues.
Through its partnerships with CrossFit, Les Mills and Spartan Race, Reebok has listened carefully to the input of athletes in their respective disciplines and has created products that fit the unique requirements of these activities. Leveraging that knowledge, Reebok will continue this successful strategy for its new business venture.
Reebok & The UFC
On December 2nd Reebok announced a landmark partnership with the ‘Ultimate Fighting Championship’ (UFC). The UFC is the largest mixed martial arts organization in the world, featuring top-ranked fighters, both male and female. This partnership will validate and authenticate Reebok in this emerging category.
“We are thrilled to partner with the UFC. Not only is the UFC one of the fastest growing sports organizations in the world, it also features some of the world’s fittest athletes. No one trains harder or pushes the boundaries of fitness more than UFC fighters. Together, we will not only reach, but also inspire the millions of people around the world who use boxing, MMA and kickboxing to live a fit lifestyle. ”Matt Bilodeau, Senior Brand Strategy Manager
Beyond the creation of this new business, the Reebok team inked an additional collaboration; one that literally ‘fights’ for social change in youth communities riddled with drug and gun violence.
Fighting for a purpose
In keeping with Reebok’s mission to improve the lives of people everywhere through fitness – physically, mentally and socially – the Reebok team formed a partnership with the NGO Luta Pela Paz (Fight for Peace, founded in Brazil by former amateur boxer and British Universities champion Luke Dowdney). Inspired by the organization’s mission to uplift youth through fitness – specifically in boxing and MMA, Reebok will dedicate a portion of all profits of the Combat Training and UFC affiliated apparel sales directly to Fight for Peace to grow and develop the organization. The NGO’s true greatness lies in its success at getting kids off the streets and into schools, careers and leadership programs.
“We had the chance to travel to Rio de Janeiro to see Fight for Peace in action and we were incredibly inspired by what we experienced. Through boxing and mixed martial arts training, Luke and his staff are completely transforming the lives of youths living in one of the world’s most violent communities. Fight for Peace is providing these at risk youths with more than just fight training - the organization is giving them a voice, and a way out of violence. We couldn't be more excited to help Fight for Peace broaden its reach to impact even more at risk children in violent communities around the world. ”Matt Bilodeau, Senior Brand Strategy Manager
Reebok and its FitGeneration consumer share a deep connection with the values and goals of Fight for Peace through a passion for fitness and a strong belief in the importance of discipline, hard work, humility and self-reliance. In supporting Fight for Peace, Reebok and its consumers will not be simply ‘donating to charity’. Rather, they will help to shape a community and inspire and empower the next generation through the transformative power of fitness.
Continuing the fight
Reebok’s fitness culture, embraced by executives and new employees alike, has nurtured a business environment uniquely suited to serving the needs of the ‘tough fitness’ community. This new venture further highlights Reebok’s commitment to their consumer and also enables Reebok to help change young lives around the world. With these efforts, Reebok will strive to develop, test, produce and support the best possible products for millions of dedicated fighters worldwide – so they can in turn continue the good fight.