Word Of Mouth Is The Most Powerful Form Of Marketing: How An Athletic Shoe Brand Is Trying To Foster Community Among Its Customers
No Bull, a training footwear and apparel brand for athletes, wants its customers to feel like theyre part of a community rather than simply purchasing products from a brand. That way its more likely that theyll become evangelists for the brand, according to CMO Todd Meleney.
Word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing, said Meleney, adding that customers are more likely to trust a recommendation from a friend rather than an ad. a brand that if two people in the airport are wearing our product theyll stop each other.
The direct-to-consumer brand fosters that sense of community for its top customers via a group, No Bull Connect, which has roughly 2,500 members who chat via weekly Zooms. The brand has also used a product drop model new products launched at midnight with limited quantities so that customers would have to shop when it dropped otherwise theyd miss out that grew a cult following, per Meleney. The companys 50-person in-house marketing team aims to constantly push a community feel via advertising and marketing, per Meleney.
Aside from the athlete program, No Bull currently spends its ad dollars on social, search, radio, programmatic display. Its unclear how the brand divides its media budget as Meleney would not specify.
Nobull Becomes New Crossfit Games Title Sponsor After Reebok Ends Ties
CrossFit has announced a deal with Nobull that sees the sportswear brand become title sponsor of the CrossFit Games and official supplier of CrossFit apparel.
This deal comes after Reebok announced in June that it would end its association with CrossFit following remarks by the American fitness programs founder and former chief executive on Twitter.
Reebok had a 10-year exclusive deal as title sponsor of the CrossFit Games and was the sole licensee of CrossFit apparel and shoes, which was set to expire in 2020.
Nobull is a Boston-based brand founded by Michael Schaeffer and Marcus Wilson, two former Reebok employees. Eric Roza, the new chief executive of CrossFit, called it the premier shoe and apparel brand to emerge from the CrossFit ecosystem, which has inspired thousands of entrepreneurial ventures around the world.
After Getting Its Start In Crossfit Nobull Is Ramping Up Product Expansion
When Nobull, a brand that sells training gear like shoes and workout shirts, first launched in 2015, it decided that the best way to build brand affinity was to be hyper-focused on one growing sector: CrossFit.
But over the past year, the company has started to expand more aggressively into new categories after launching its first pair of cycling shoes last June. Next month, it is launching a swim collection. Nobull is still focused on CrossFit it recently announced in March that it will be the new title sponsor of the CrossFit Games, taking over from previous sponsor Reebok. But the companys chief marketing officer, Todd Meleney said that many of the companys customers often participate in multiple sports like running, biking and rock climbing. In order to expand into new categories, Nobull is signing sponsorship deals with a greater variety of athletes, with the goal of doing campaigns with them that go beyond the typical athlete-powered line.
Expanding into new categories also gives Nobull a chance to accelerate revenue growth Meleney said that Nobulls sales grew more than 80% year-over-year last year, and the company is targeting over 100% growth this year. Nobull does not disclose exact revenue, but recently raised a new round of funding that valued the company at more than $500 million.
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What Are Nobull Shoes
Since their inception into the CrossFit market in 2015, NOBULL has continued to produce different shoes for a variety of product categories. Their main product is the NOBULL Trainer and this is the shoe that arguably put NOBULL on the map especially in the worlds of CrossFit, functional fitness, and lifting.
All of NOBULLs shoes come with the same ideology that NOBULL founded the company on. Basically, they market their shoes and products as having no fluff and only the essentials that you need to perform your best.
Must Read: See where NOBULL lands against other top models on my Best Cross-Training Shoes round-up!
Currently, there are multiple NOBULL shoe categories that you can look into and these include:
- Cross-Training Shoes
- Dress Shoes
As you can see, the question of What are NOBULL shoes? has expanded tenfold since 2014. What started as only cross-training shoes has grown into multiple shoe categories.
Suggested Read: Need NOBULL Trainers for CrossFit? Here are the best CrossFit shoes in 2021!
The Michael Jordan Era
In the summer of 1984, the Bulls had the third pick of the 1984 NBA draft, after Houston and Portland. The Rockets selected Hakeem Olajuwon, the Blazers picked Sam Bowie and the Bulls chose shooting guard Michael Jordan. The team, with new management in owner Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Jerry Krause, decided to rebuild around Jordan. Jordan set franchise records during his rookie campaign for scoring and steals , and led the Bulls back to the playoffs, where they lost in four games to the Milwaukee Bucks. For his efforts, he was rewarded with a selection to the All-NBA Second Team and the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
In the following off-season, the team acquired point guard John Paxson and on draft day traded with the Cavaliers for the rights to power forward Charles Oakley. Along with Jordan and center Dave Corzine, they provided much of the Bulls’ offense for the next two years. After suffering a broken foot early in the 198586 season, Jordan finished second on the team to Woolridge in scoring. Jordan returned for the playoffs, and led the eighth-place Bulls against the 6715 Boston Celtics, led by Larry Bird. At the time, the Bulls had the fifth-worst record of any team to qualify for the playoffs in NBA history. Though the Bulls were swept, Jordan recorded a playoff single-game record 63 points in Game 2 , prompting Bird to call him ‘God disguised as Michael Jordan.’
19901993: First championship three-peat
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Have More Nobull Shoe Questions
As NOBULL continues to expand and dive into different product categories, its been really cool seeing how their products have held up to others on the market. If you have any additional NOBULL shoe questions or how certain models perform, feel free to drop a comment below.
Also, if you have any NOBULL Trainer-specific questions that youd like answered, you can also shoot me a message on Instagram and Ill help where I can .
That Fit Friend is a site that is supported by myself and its readers. If you purchase products through affiliates links on this site, then I may receive a small commission on the sale. These commissions help keep the lights on here at That Fit Friend so I can continue to create content and they help me purchase new models to review!
Nobulls Fitness Film Festival Will Take Place On November 23rd In Brooklyn New York
NOBULL is trying to change the way we consume their fitness products and content. The fitness footwear, apparel, and accessory brand has built a considerable amount of momentum in the training space with their shoes and elite athlete signings. For example, just this year, they had three-time Reebok CrossFit Games champion, Tia-Clair Toomey, and two-time Reebok CrossFit Games champion, Katrin Davidsdottir, sign with them.
NOBULL has recently announced a new venture for their brand: a Fitness Film Festival and short film. The NOBULL Fitness Film Festival will take place on November 23, 2019 in a warehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. At the event NOBULL will also be premiering their first-ever short film.
A post shared by NOBULL on Sep 30, 2019 at 7:09am PDT
BarBend had the chance to catch up with the two founders of NOBULL, Michael Schaeffer and Marcus Wilson, to get the inside scoop around the why behind the Fitness Film Festival and their short film.
It has always been about storytelling for NOBULL. And while the advertising and selling part is obviously a major component, Schaeffer explained theres much more to the story.
A post shared by NOBULL on Sep 14, 2019 at 4:51am PDT
The aforementioned longer piece that Schaeffer hinted at is the short film that will be revealed at the festival.
We wanted to create a piece that really dives into the lives of our athletes and what it takes to become like them and what that entails, Schaeffer said.
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How To Clean Nobull Shoes
To properly clean and wash your NOBULL shoes, despite the model that youre using, Id suggest doing the following three steps.
If you do these three steps, then you will make your shoes last much longer and add months to their lives. Far too often, I think lifters and athletes default to throwing their shoes in the washer and dryer or using harsh soaps on them.
Harsh soaps and waterlogging shoes in wash machines, then aggressively drying them in a dryer can deteriorate the different types of materials used in shoes. More specifically, the glues and polyurethanes used in midsoles and uppers are typically the first areas to run into durability issues when not cleaning shoes properly.
From my experience, too, NOBULL trainers specifically can be prone to having their midsoles change densities slightly when excessively waterlogged. That being said, spot cleaning as mentioned above will take longer, but your shoes will also last longer. Thus, making your investment last much longer.
Nobull Trainer Upper Unit
Nobull Trainer Top
The NoBull trainer upper is made from a seamless one piece material, called SuperFabric, which is designed to be extremely durable, breathable and abrasion resistant.
This SuperFabric is a mesh, with tiny rubber textured guards to add to the durability.
Unlike the Nike Metcon and Reebok Nanos, the NoBull trainer doesnt have a full extended sole rope wrap extending around the sides of the upper to further protect it, but the rubber pattern protects the upper well from all it will encounter.
The tongue is made of a thin suede, with holes for ventilation. This felt very soft on the foot, causing no problems with rubbing or irritation.
The laces come up quite long which needed to be double knotted.
Two pairs of laces come as standard with the shoes, which is fortunate as the ones I have in there currently which came in the shoe have started to fray slightly from rubbing on the metal holes after a month of wearing.
Due to the simple style of the upper, the midfoot felt quite loose at times, but as I got used to this different style of training shoe it didnt bother me so much.
The heel counter is rigid for stability and padded at the top. From workouts to runs the shoe didnt rub at all. The external heel is also reinforced to eliminate wear down from handstand push ups.
The NoBull branding is printed on the side in reflective material which may or may not be a useful feature.
The same shoe also comes in a high top version, if thats your preference.
Nobull Trainer First Impressions
Nobull Trainer Pair
My first impression of the NoBull Trainer was a little underwhelming
Having never owned a pair of NoBulls before, but having heard great things about them and knowing their popularity in the Crossfit community I was excited to try them. Looks-wise they were pretty plain .
The same texture, pattern and colour all over, and the shoe felt overall quite heavy and rigid.
On the foot, the feel reminded me of when youre wearing bowling shoes- very smooth on the inside, flat sole, hard rigid upper and thin tongue kept in place with flat laces.
I struggled to see how the $129 price point was justified with this simple construction.
The fit was true to size, and narrower and slightly shorter than the Reebok Nano or Nike Metcon if this is what you are used to. They were comfortable on the feet, if a little roomy around the midfoot and heel area.
Not a very exciting start, but hold tight. They were a grower
My Guests Today Are Michael Schaeffer And Marcus Wilson Co
Listen, review, subscribe.
If youre not familiar with NOBULL, they make some of the best training shoes on the market and Im pumped to be hosting these guys on their first-ever podcast appearance together.
Michael, Marcus and I discuss how they built the brand and where the idea came from, as well as the future of the company and trends in footwear technology as a whole. We also talk about all the things they do in their day-to-day lives to optimize their performance as entrepreneurs and executives.
As many of our listeners probably know, WHOOP and NOBULL have a number of athletes in common and share several similar core values, and I think theres a lot here youll enjoy.
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The Matryx one-piece upper includes breathability, moisture wicking and abrasion resistance. The technical yarn includes Kevlar-backed medial and lateral support, reflection for visibility and padding for comfort and fit.
For us, it is always going back to performance, Wilson says. There are a lot of underfoot materials out there that perform really well, and we are not trying to create anything new and put a logo on it. The upper is so meaningful in training and trail running for all the abrasion we encounter. For us, it is always coming back to function and only putting on the shoe what is necessary.
NoBull has expanded its running line to offer a mix of materials on the upper.
The spread beyond CrossFit has come organically. With CrossFit fans training with runners, the crossover has come word-of-mouth. Trail running only extends the footprint.
Both Will and Caeleb were NoBull customers before being sponsored athlete, Wilson says. When we signed Will, we told him we are not focusing on what you do on the field on Sunday, but the work you put in every other day of the week.
Starting in CrossFit and weightlifting, NoBull has worked to capture the training market.
We are seeing a lot of growth as it relates to social media and consumer connection, Wilson says. We are connecting directly to consumers and finding these relationships are deep-rooted and meaningful.
Present: The Zach Lavine Era
20172020: Final years of GarPax
On June 22, 2017, Jimmy Butler, along with Chicago’s 2017 first-round pick, was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and Minnesota’s 2017 first-round pick, which the Bulls used to select Lauri Markkanen. Additionally, on June 27, the Bulls did not give a qualifying offer to Michael Carter-Williams, allowing him to enter unrestricted free agency. On June 30, Rajon Rondo and Isaiah Canaan were waived by the Bulls. On July 10, 2017, Justin Holiday returned to the Bulls signing a 2-year, $9 million contract. On September 24, 2017, Dwyane Wade and the Bulls reportedly agreed to a buyout of the remaining year on his contract. Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Wade gave back $8 million of his $23.2 million contract as part of the agreement.
On October 17, 2017, a fight broke out in practice between Bobby Portis and Nikola Miroti, who suffered a concussion and two broken bones in his face. Portis was suspended eight games for his role in the altercation, and Miroti missed 23 games to start the regular season. On February 1, 2018, the Bulls traded Miroti and a second-round draft pick to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first-round draft pick and Ömer Ak, Tony Allen, and Jameer Nelson. Bulls ended up finishing the season with 2755 record.
20202021: Arrival of Billy Donovan
2021present: Roster rebuild
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Hingham Athletic Footwear Firm Aims To Live Up To Its Name
It began with a handshake between two friends at a little diner in Dedham.
Just two years later, the Hingham-based athletic footwear firm they dreamed up has established a reputation in its niche market, experienced healthy growth, and is about to launch an expansion into the apparel industry.
Thats no bull.
Or, more precisely, thats NOBULL, the firm Marcus Wilson and Michael Schaeffer created and targeted at the functional fitness crowd. Its a niche perhaps best known for CrossFit, an exercise regimen focused on combining the core movements of life into a workout aimed at improving health and fitness.
The name represents both the simplicity of the product and the company mentality, said Schaeffer, 48.
Theres no rocket science technology here, he said. The name came from what we thought the product would look like. Its a basic design, really well-made, without engineering gimmicks. This shoe isnt going to make you run faster or jump higher your hard work does that.
But it does, he said, provide the stability, support, and comfort needed to work out in a functional fitness exercise program.
After Wilson left Reebok, theyd meet often at the Dedham diner to catch up, as friends do. At first, both said, they had no intention of creating their own footwear company.
NOBULL just organically happened, said Schaeffer. We are both passionate about sports and staying fit. It was a no-brainer to explore a fitness and training brand.