Few communities are as passionate as runners. They hit the pavement day in and day out, sporting the brands they trust to keep them running longer and faster.
Yet the running specialty market was a fragmented one. Seeing an opportunity, Finish Line, a leading athletic shoe and apparel retailer, began acquiring stores across the country, bringing them together as the Running Specialty Group. Their acquisitions ranged from well-known franchises like JackRabbit Sports and New York Running Company, to regionally renowned stores like Garry Gribble’s Running Sports. By the time they came to Lippincott, Running Specialty Group had acquired over 50 local running stores across the country, with that number continuing to grow.
The company recognized the need to create a unifying brand that could mobilize disparate employees across the country. With an ambitious five-year strategy, we set out to do just that. We were creating a brand that resonated with target customers while also engaging staff at both the corporate and store level. And to be competitive, it had to offer customers a differentiated retail experience, integrated across key digital and in-store touchpoints.
Fostering a community of running enthusiasts
Our research revealed a powerful opportunity for the Running Specialty Group to create a lifestyle brand that tapped into the energy and passion of the running community. The name, JackRabbit, was chosen as it built on existing brand equity while aligning with whom the company wants to be. It hints at running without being explicit or limiting. It is memorable, distinctive and evocative enough to support its customers’ active lifestyles. And by removing the word “Sports” from the name, we were able to extend the new brand’s reach.
While the existing JackRabbit Sports logo was fun and playful, it lacked the maturity needed to steer the brand forward. The new icon is fluid in form and embodies the brand’s story of action and movement. Its distinctive color is bold and warm, retaining the spirit of the original. The typeface evokes motion and reinforces the brand’s friendly and fun-loving personality through its rounded forms.
Lippincott is a valued partner that helped us identify the true power of our brand’s potential and turn that vision into a reality. Their team invested tirelessly with us to deliver a brand foundation that put us on track to discover our identity today and into the future.
— Frank Pruitt, SVP Brand Strategy & Consumer Experience, JackRabbit
Building on the new positioning, we helped JackRabbit bring its brand to life through a series of signature experiences designed to emotionally connect with customers. In stores, a team of running experts offers personalized shoe fittings and gait analysis. New training and fitness programs help customers meet their personal fitness goals. Locally organized runs and sponsored events help support local running communities.
Focusing on the New York market, JackRabbit renovated five local stores to become an immersive representation of the brand. JackRabbit was formally launched during the 2015 New York City marathon, cementing the brand’s position within the Northeastern running community. The company plans to continue to roll out new stores and elevated digital experiences, all designed to surprise, delight and better serve runners across the country.