Reebok has been capitalising on its differences to its competitors by targeting a different consumer: the tough, challenge-loving on that does Tough mudders, mixed martial arts and CrossFit. The rise of athleisure has outstripped denim’s tenure in the casual-fashion world. Brands from H&M to Karl Lagerfeld are selling fitness apparel. Reebok’s President, Matthew O’Toole, said, “How we differentiate ourselves — it’s all we do, it’s what we do. Look at the big brands. They’re kind of moonlighting in fitness, and then you have Lululemon or Sweaty Betty — brands like that are really catering to a much older and mature consumer. And the net of it is, we’ve been able to carve out a very unique identity in tough social fitness in this space.”
To solidify their target customer, Reebok is focussing on dominating the CrossFit and tough fitness space. They are in a partnership with UFC, the world’s leading mixed martial arts organisation, under which, Reebok is the exclusive authentic global outfitter of UFC, creating for the first time UFC ‘Fight Week gear’ and a ‘Fight Night kit’ for all UFC athletes. They also provide apparel for the millions of global UFC fans. They also secured a partnership with Ronda Rousey last year. Her wild success helped secure the brand’s status as the premiere ‘challenge sports’ company. Rousey acknowledged that Reebok was the athletic brand that stood for tough women: “Reebok understands what tough fitness means for women and what women need for their fitness lifestyle. Together we’re going to inspire even more people to train like fighters.” O’Toole does not believe Rousey’s recent knockout will tarnish her reputation, “I think it’s only going to make the story line that much bigger for Ronda when she comes back.” Perhaps her comeback will be in tandem with Reebok’s.