FN Summit: Jim Weber Of Brooks Talks Capturing The Consumer’s Every Moment

Brooks CEO Jim Weber
Jim Weber on the 2016 FN Summit stage.
George Chinsee.

Brooks is a beloved brand among running enthusiasts. Under the leadership of its CEO Jim Weber, the label has become a staple in specialty retail, debuted its first TV spot, and established Run Signature — an interactive categorization program to find the best shoe for you.

Weber delivered his “The Future Is In The Moment” presentation Monday at the 2016 FN Summit, speaking to how Brooks plans to win today’s consumers — with an emphasis on the ever-knowledgeable and experience-obsessed 18-to-35 millennial — in every vital moment that could secure them as a brand loyalist.

“Digitally-empowered people are brutally decisive and in the moment,” he said during his presentation. “Right now someone is shopping for a running shoe online or on mobile, and if you’re not present, if you’re not storytelling at this moment, you’re not even visible to these folks.”

Brooks CEO Jim Weber Jim Weber on the 2016 FN Summit stage. George Chinsee.

These moments, according to Weber, start from opening the box of shoes for the first time and move onto the two-to-three week mark when a devout runner knows if they’d buy the shoe again in the future, to the 26th mile of the marathon, and beyond. Weber also stated that as a running brand, it is already positioned to satisfy the consumer’s need for experiences because he believes running is an activity that offers a built-in experience they’re seeking.

Weber stated that consumers at their core “always want to feel good about themselves,” and every moment present is an opportunity to win the consumer over. But the moments can’t be won if the product offered isn’t quality or match the needs of the user.

Brooks Rapid Transit Adrenaline GTS 16 A medial view of the Brooks “Rapid Transit” Adrenaline GTS 16. Courtesy of Brooks

To develop a connection between Brooks’ products and the consumer, the brand developed an iPad app for specialty run retail accounts to find the shoes that best fit the runner’s natural body motion. The app was featured at this year’s Boston Marathon and London Marathon, according to Weber, and will be presented on a tour for all of the brand’s retail partners.

But Weber also knows this experience-driven customer brings a set of challenges it hasn’t yet experienced.

“The challenge for us from a product standpoint is to reach runners where they are, and that’s evolving and changing fast,” he said following his speech. “People get into their 20s and they start to invest in their own fitness. That’s where we come in. Our challenge is to meet them where they are.”

Meeting the consumer for Brooks, Weber said, includes exploring price points for performance products at a $100 and less price point, communicating with people who prefer running shoes as casual attire, attract customers that do not define themselves by one particular activity, and broadening its product lines.

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