Unless you’re a diehard Reebok lover, you may not have clocked on to the subtle changes it’s made to the famous logo.
But while some may see the redesign as slight, this brand’s ambition is the furthest thing from it.
"We have done a lot of work over the years building our credentials in fitness and fashion, pretty much as two separate things," Reebok President Matt O’Toole told Campaign US after his team dropped the punchy new look solidifying its mission to fuse fitness and fashion.
"Unifying our brand allows us to better reflect our consumers’ reality today - for them the line between fitness and fashion are blurred. And this is great for a brand like Reebok, because we live at the intersection of fitness and fashion, and our product is a reflection of that connection."
The brand has come together under its Vector logo, which remains Reebok’s most recognizable, beloved symbol. Karen Reuther, VP of creative direction, who led the redesign, said the identity is "compelling, dynamic and powerfully linked to some of our greatest cultural moments."
It’s a warrior cry from a brand whose DNA and values are steeped a rich heritage of democratizing fitness (which it lives out today with initiatives like before-school program for kids, BOKS), empowering women (since releasing the Freestyle in 1982 which became the first fitness shoe designed for women) and pushing overall equality (with its long-running ‘Be More Human’ drive).
Reebok’s history is a treasure trove of cultural relevance. With the right marketing and data-leverage, there’s no reason why this brand can’t be bigger than Nike.
"More and more, we’re thinking less about the individual markets, and more about how we can ensure a direct connection and deep relationship with our consumers around the world," O’Toole continued. "And it starts with digital."
The team is investing heavily in the digital space in a bid to move faster and speak to the consumer in a more impactful way through its numerous channels.
It’s already making great strides with a dramatic overhaul of the digital experience which includes the introduction of loyalty program Unlocked.
He said: "This has led to significant improvement of our digital business and created new touchpoints with our consumer. And now, with our digital and marketing teams being one, we’re ensuring our message is not only disruptive and unexpected, but it’s delivered in the most impactful way and based on real data. It’s all about optimizing the consumer’s experience and creating life-long, loyal fans. We want to meet them where they are with the products and experiences they want."
Digital transformation will rumble on in the background while O’Toole takes aim at another important industry hurdle: Sustainability.
He explained: "Many people would say sustainability is a challenge facing our industry – and all industries – but we see it as an opportunity. In fact, it’s the single biggest opportunity we have as brand, and it’s a major focus for us now, and in the future.
"We’ve already introduced products like Cotton + Corn, which is made from things that grow. We now have a pillar under our innovation strategy called ReeGrow, which is entirely focused on making products from natural materials. We also have another initiative called ReeCycle, which focuses on using recycled or repurposed materials. In the next month we’ll be announcing a groundbreaking new product, this time on the performance side, that will illustrate this commitment."
Reebok’s new look was officially announced earlier this week by Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted during Q3 earnings call, alongside the news that Reebok continues to sustain profitability with a second consecutive quarter of growth (currency-neutral sales up two percent globally) driven by the brand’s sport performance category.
It comes as the brand gears up to drop its first major campaign from new creative agency partners, Deutsch. Work will arrive in the coming months as an extension to its "Sport The Unexpected" drive.
The future is electrifying for a brand that has the unique opportunity to throw a one-two punch of rich, purposeful legacy and a scrappy, underdog spirit. Few companies have both. And fewer have the permission to execute with such authenticity.
"For us, it’s about executing on multiple dimensions of innovation," O’Toole added. "And this certainly includes innovative and disruptive marketing - telling the story of our great products through the lens of our brand.
"But we are also laser focused on product innovation, making the very best fitness products on the market; process innovation, how we make our products; innovation on the sustainability front; and finally digital innovation, which we’ve invested in heavily in recent years."