BROOKS SPORTS INC. CEO WANTS TO UNDERSTAND "NON-RUNNERS" WHO RUN! An item in Bloomberg.com's Businessweek section, which ran in early January, just after New Year’s Day, reveals what the less than gigantic running shoe manufacturer Brooks’ CEO defines as “not a runner”. "Why Brooks Needs Runners Who Hate to Run."
Author Clare Suddath seems to seriously consider, if not accept, the attitude and the demotion it is serving up to designated non-runners like herself. Possibly in a tongue-in-cheek, going-along- to-get-along manner, she relates to readers the perspective of Jim Weber.
According to the article, Weber believes that professionals who compete in races for prizemoney are runners, and all the rest are “self-defined”, but not actually, runners. Furthermore, she quotes him as admitting, “running’s not really a sport.” The fact that “19 million Americans who participate in some kind of organized road race” annually “aren’t competing to win anything” is presented as supporting evidence of running’s non-sport status. Further explanation is offered that an additional 28 million regularly running (non-runners) don’t even race.
Apparently, Weber is trying to understand WHY these 47 million non-runners run so they can persuade them to “drop $100 - $180 on a pair of shoes”. Suddath reports “the 104-year old Seattle-based company that makes running gear, and only running gear” and that Weber suspects the answer is personal. “The answer is almost always personal”; “when people run, they’re doing it for themselves,” opines the CEO. Insightful.
The article, posted in a business magazine, mostly tells the confusing story of the Brooks company. How it survived various challenging times, ownership situations, and running trends to become a little known but top brand in specialty stores and with elite runners. Brooks was able to position itself in this niche by re-focusing and selling “high-end shoes designed for serious runners” with Weber’s leadership, the piece indicates. Now, it seems Weber wants Brooks to “become a $1 billion brand” by tapping into the sentiments of the people he deems non-runners in order to sell gear to “runners who don’t like to run”.
The information about Brooks is quite detailed and historical. That It has survived all these years is remarkable. I recall that Greg Meyer, a famous star distance runner from my hometown and high school, who won the 1983 Boston Marathon among other famous races, worked at Brooks for more than a decade when it was owned by Wolverine World Wide. I exclusively bought this brand of shoes for years because they worked for me, because of Meyer’s association, and because it seemed to be the shoe for the ‘every-man/-woman’ runner like me. The Earned Runs sign-off message was inadvertently the same as Brooks, “RUN HAPPY!” until 2018.
Is it true that Brooks doesn’t see non-professionals as real runners? The footwear manufacturer’s website doesn’t seem to share the perspective described in the Bloomberg story. It highlights inspirational coaches, company charity efforts, and its aims to help all people live healthy lives through running. To me it still seems to be the shoe for every-person, not elites only.
If Brooks wishes to understand why people run without entering races, compete without promised prizes, and want to think of themselves as real runners (walkers, obstacle course competitors, triathletes, etc) , Earned Runs might be able to provide insights that help with future marketing campaigns.
Why do you run? Walk? Challenge yourself athletically? Do you hate it?
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
New! Search Box
Earned Runs is now searchable! Check it out...