As running clubs explode in popularity, brands are leveraging these groups for sampling opportunities and sponsorships to stand out in a competitive market. Running and walking clubs have surged post-pandemic, becoming vibrant social hubs that brands are eager to tap into.

Engagement opportunities: Running clubs offer brands a unique chance to engage directly with consumers through sponsorships and events. Examples include:

  • City Girls Who Walk: Partnered with Hoka and Foot Locker for product giveaways.
  • Slow Girl Run Club: Collaborated with Vuori, Glowbar, and Alani energy drinks.
  • Joggy: Hosted in-person running meetups across the country with JuneShine kombucha and Foxtrot.

Experiential marketing: Events provide platforms for experiential marketing, allowing brands to offer product samples and create memorable experiences. Highlights include:

  • The Goods Mart & Snaxshot: Hosted a pre-marathon event with Plink! and Dirtbag.
  • Goose Island: Released an exclusive beer for Chicago Marathon finishers.
  • Yes! Apples: Sponsored the Endorphins Running Club, providing apples and coffee to runners.

These events create lasting impressions and foster word-of-mouth marketing.

Building loyalty and retail expansion: Brands find that engaging with running clubs builds loyalty and supports retail expansion. For example, Fulton, a footwear insoles brand, sponsors clubs like the Central Park Track Club and Spartan Sundays Run Club. This integration has led to significant purchase rates post-events and enhanced brand visibility, aiding in securing shelf space in specialty stores.

Beyond running clubs: The key takeaway is that these clubs aren’t just about running. They create community, brand loyalty, and consumer involvement. This strategy can extend beyond running and wellness. For example:

  • RentClubParis: Hosts dinner parties where attendees wear rented pieces, fostering a sense of fun and community.
  • Innovative ideas: Imagine brands and businesses starting their own offline communities. An edgy fashion brand could start a skating or poetry club, and a healthy food brand could form a yoga club. Dinner clubs partnering with restaurants, movie clubs, and jazz clubs are also great ideas. There’s a wealth of opportunity to create these third spaces, especially since people crave places to meet offline and feel part of a community. They’re even willing to pay for it.

These strategies offer a tangible, in-person connection that complements digital marketing efforts, catering to consumers’ craving for real-world interactions. Brands that can successfully create these third spaces will build stronger, more engaged communities and foster deeper customer loyalty.

Categorized in: