OCR Brand loyalty: Bad for business?

Brand loyalty exists in almost every commercial industry. People usually find a product they like, and can become loyal to that company, sometimes to a fault. On social media you will see a lot of these debates between “fans” of products or companies.

Take cell phones for example: there is always the never ending battle between fans of iPhone or Android. I’ve never understood why anyone would be concerned about someone elses phone purchase, or put them down for the brand they choose to use. But that line of thinking is very prevelant online and even in regular discussions.

In the world of OCR there are many brands to choose from. The big ones being: Spartan Race, Savage Race, Bonefrog, and Tough Mudder. There are several others like Rugged Maniac, Conquer the Guantlet, Fit Challenge, Indian Mud Run, and more. But I’m just going to focus on the top 4.

Now all 4 of these races are very different. They may be similar in that they all have walls, and different kinds of rigs as obstacles. But their rules, competitive waves, and the way they promote themselves are all very different. All of them have their unique way of challenging racers and creating a fun race experience.

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Now I have done all 4 races several times, and I’ve been able to experience what each brand has to offer. There are definitely some race types that I gravitate more towards, mostly because of what I like in races. For example: as a smaller guy I hate heavy carries. I don’t enjoy carrying something heavy for a long distance. So I like brands such as Bonefrog and Savage Race that don’t have those kinds of obstacles. But I do like racing a lot, I normally do 30 plus OCRs a year. So I end up with a lot of Spartan Races on my calender, simply because the other brands don’t have nearly enough races in the year.

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Now because I’ve done many different races, even once a year races like Indian Mud Run and FrontLine, this has helped me to become a more well rounded racer. The first time I did Savage Race anjd faced its guantlet of grip strength obstacles, I struggled and it really opened my eyes towards things I could add to my training. Same with some of the elevation in Spartan Races, I have learned to incorporate hill training so that climbing uphill isn’t a huge weakness for me.

Now if I only did one race series, I think my racing abilities would be very limited. If I’m only seeing the same 20 obstacles over and over, that isn’t going to make me a better racer.

I understand that racers have a favorite race series. I get that completely, and I have my favorites as well. What I don’t get is when racers feel the need to put down people for their racing decision. Or when they feel the need to post about how X brand is better than Y brand. What’s worse is when X brand advertises negatively about other brands.

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Ultimately I want this sport to grow and get better. I don’t want only my favorite race series to survive, because I like having options and I think competition can create some pretty awesome events. I think as racers in the United States we have a lot of great OCR options and I think we take that for granted. So I hope everyone will continue to get out and support the big race series and even the smaller ones as well.

Curious what everyone else thinks about brand loyalty. Good or bad for OCR? I appreciate the comments and thanks for reading!

 

5 comments

  1. I read your article and as much as I agree that variety is the spice of life, from a marketing point of view, what sells is how more valuable one race is compared to another. So of course, bringing out the negativity of their product (race) elevates your product (race). I believe as you do that taking advantage of all the races is toward your advantage. Also, they want you to buy their t shirts, pants etc. Commercialism is the guilty party. Making a buck.

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    • Yep I agree it makes sense from a marketing perspective. However I think it also divides your customer base. What if they like that other race that your company is making fun of? Then those people won’t attend your race.

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      • You got to see the bigger picture whereas some succumb to the negative comment and take it personally.

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  2. Regarding the Tough Mudder sign… IDK I’ve always found it humorous and I’m not really the trash talking type. Read the sign however you want. Perhaps TM is saying they are better. Perhaps Spartan says hell yeah, if you want to push yourself, come here. Back in 2011 Joe D was griping a lot about TM marketing, but at my first TM at Mount Snow there was a plane with a banner saying “Not Tough Enough? Come To the Spartan Killington Beast in September”, so all’s fair in love and war I suppose. Regarding the races, I love them all, for different reasons. I absolutely love that TM has team based obstacles and that the standard race isn’t timed because it’s not a race. I think we tend to lose a lot when we are focused only on performance, something that Spartan not only pushes, they subdivide into different series in a stroke of marketing genius. At the end of the day, for all but a very small handful of people doing this for a living, if you aren’t having fun, what’s the point?

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