Seven Questions with Jim Weber, CEO, Brooks Running, from RunBlogRun


It is no bit of whimsy that we begin this new and important series with the OR Summer Market first day. RunBlogRun is posing seven questions to a dozen key executives in the performance running industry. We are posting them in position of their response. We have reached ten, and still have two to reach.

Jim Weber Headshot.jpgJim Weber, photo courtesy of Brooks Running

Today, we feature Jim Weber, long time CEO of Brooks Running. Jim Weber and his team (he always speaks of his team) took the brand from a ninety year old runnign brand to one of the key players in the market.

The industry had its halycon days in the 2005-2014 period, and then, the world changed. Running specialty is taking hits, and so are the performance running brands. Entities like Amazon have changed the land scape of the business. On top of that, there are way too many mediocre races, which are hurting the business and the running brand.

But, I have digressed.

Please enjoy the seven questions answered by Jim Weber, CEO of Brooks Running.

RunBlogRun, #1, With the resignation of Jesse Williams, can you comment on Brooks' marketing future and Brooks Beasts along with Brooks Hansons?

Jim Weber: The Sports Marketing programs at Brooks will remain core strategic initiatives for the brand. Our commitment to the sport, our coaches, the Hansons and Beasts athletes and our broader team of athletes--including inspirations Scott Jurek and Gabriele Grunewald--is total. We want to create success here that has the entire sport in awe of the path we take and the results we achieve. We are proud of these teams and believe our athletes can inspire millions of future runners. In addition to supporting these athletes, our Brooks Inspiring Coaches program and the Brooks Booster Club will continue to grow, supporting dozens of high school programs across North America each year. The sport remains the soul of the running lifestyle for more than 100 million people worldwide!

jim weber, berman photos .jpgJim Weber on Running Insights, photo by Berman Studios

RunBlogRun, #2, With the changing landscape in retail, where does run specialty fit into the Brooks mix of retailers?

Jim Weber: As a running brand, we have to be where runners run and where they shop. Run specialty continues to be a key component of running retail and therefore a key channel for Brooks. We see shopping behavior evolving fast and a "barbell" distribution is forming with price and convenience on the web vs. service, community and expertise in specialty retail formats. Successful local running stores service runners incredibly well and develop strong running communities by connecting their customers into training programs, run clubs, nutritional plans, local races, etc. They literally create their own traffic. Partnering with these stores and helping them to service and inspire all who run will continue to be part of our approach in the future.

RunBlogRun, #3: Brooks sponsors RNR series. With the recent purchase of RNR, how does that affect your relationship with RNR?

Jim Weber: The purchase of Competitor Group doesn't change our position as the official footwear, apparel and sports bra sponsor of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series. We continue to have strong relationships with the team at Competitor Group and are all excited to explore new ways to connect with runners at these premier events. The series garners more than 500,000 race participants a year, so for us, it is an important way to put our brand in front of runners and ensure that when they engage with Brooks at an event, they have a Run Happy experence. brooks wire 4 $120.jpg

Brooks Wire 4 , part of Brooks entree into young performance market

RunBlogRun, #4: What is the best-selling Brooks running shoe for women? What is best-selling Brooks running shoe for men?

Jim Weber: We have several franchise shoes with great momentum battling for the lead position. Currently the Ghost is our best-selling women's shoe while the Adrenaline GTS holds the top position for men. As well, we just launched a brand new shoe called the Revel that's coming out of the blocks with a very fast start!

BrooksGlycerin14.jpgBrooks Glycerin 14, one of the iconic models from Brooks Running

RunBlogRun, #5: Is there growth in performance running in the future?

Jim Weber: We continue to see tremendous growth opportunity in performance running but it needs reinvention and we intend to be a driver of that. New styles, tools and processes will certainly garner attention, but most will not improve the running experience. So while trends including minimalist, maximalist and casual performance will come and go, performance that enhances the running experience will remain a timeless quality runners will always demand from their footwear, sports bras and apparel. This expectation transcends borders; we also see huge growth potential globally, particularly in our European region and also in China, which has a booming running population and welcomed its first Brooks sale July 1.

RunBlogRun, #6: Where does social media fit into the marketing mix at Brooks?

Jim Weber: Social media is pivotal for us. Channels like Instagram and Facebook let us have real-time, in situ conversations directly with runners when they want to interact with us. It continues to give us great insight about how running fits into their active lives, what they need in running gear and what they want from their running experiences.

RunBlogRun, #7: The Brooks PR event continues to impress, why is that so important to your brand?

Jim Weber: It has been an exciting event that is part of our investment into the sport at the high school level along with the Brooks Inspiring Coaches program and the Brooks Booster Club. We know that for so many, a love of running starts in high school and often these programs are chronically underfunded and in some cases underappreciated as a platform for kids to compete and move. The Brooks PR Invitational lets us authentically connect with these young athletes by creating a showcase for the best of the best.

jim-weber-lobby-closeup-1024x851.jpgJim Weber, in the Brooks office, photo courtesy of Brooks Running

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