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How Influencers Help Athletic Brands Break Into Competitive Running

· influencer marketing,running influencers,sports brands
Michelle Darkoh and Brazen Influencers founder, Daisi Jo Pollard Sepulveda at Sketchers Performance LA Marathon 2018

Last month Brazen Influencers attended the 30th annual L.A. Marathon Expo sponsored by Skechers Performance. The event this year was canvased with branded photo booths making for the perfect Instagram set for attendees - runners and supporters to take pictures and share them on their social media accounts. Through this strategy, brands hope to expand their social proof promoting themselves as the ideal product for marathon runners.

The runner's category has been an expanding area within influencer marketing. Brands not conventionally associated with competitive running have been hoping to build credibility with runners through social media influencers. Consumers have increasingly put more and more trust in 3rd party reviews by social media influencers and bloggers known for sharing their opinions about the performance of products.

Instead of celebrity or athlete endorsements, athletic brands such as Reebok, Adidas, and Nike have turned to content creators - but not just your ‘run of the mill’ video stars. These brands are turning to active runners - hobbyists, recreational, and semi-pro runners. These brands are interested in people who are experts in their fields - not just people with 100k followers on Instagram.

For example, when Reebok launched their Floatride running shoe they turned to sneaker salespeople and running clubs. Reebok provided a free pair of sneakers, let the runners use them as they would any other shoe and then collected reviews via a 3rd party software platform. As the reviews rolled in, Reebok took note and by the time they launched the Floatride, they had upwards of 600 reviews.

“Influencer marketing is hard to quantify, but product reviews are tangible. When people see customer reviews for a new product, they feel more informed and confident to buy.” - David Pike, associate manager of brand management for Reebok.​

Many of the Reebok reviewers weren’t social media personalities with thousands of Likes but all of them understood the needs and minds of runners. Influencers is a broad term that often times doesn’t get its proper representation. Influencers don’t operate in an isolated ecosystem of social media numbers because influence happens in any number of environments, stretching beyond content creators to the subject matter expert, researcher, coach, personal trainer, athlete, and hobbyist.Add paragraph text here.

Influencers will continue to play an expansive role in marketing for the running, sports and fitness communities for marketing strategies of athletic brands allowing for real-time two-way conversations with consumers.

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