A12-05-0011 Copyright © 2005 Thunderbird, The Garvin School of International Management. All rights reserved. This case was prepared by Professor John Zerio and Kai Gyllstrom, MBA’05, for the purpose of classroom discussion only, and not to indicate either effective or ineffective management. John Zerio Reebok Cool That’s how we’re starting to differentiate ourselves from other brands, by being the confluence of lifestyle, entertainment, and sports. It is a complete cultural connection. What we’re trying to do is be real to the whole sports culture and community. Harry Singh, Asia-Pacific Marketing Director Abstract Paul Fireman, Reebok International’s CEO, has charged his management with setting the company on the path of a new relationship with urban male consumers worldwide. The athletic shoe market had started to show a decrease in growth rates. Industry competition was intensifying with major players, such as Nike and Adidas, investing heavily in product innovation and brand building, and the advent of a number of smaller players with unique offerings for specialty markets. To accomplish their goal, the company will need to rethink and develop new approaches to marketing. Understanding the ethos of the urban culture and accessing the marketing tools that create consumer allegiance are very tall challenges for traditional marketing organizations. Creating a high cool factor for its products will require organizational courage and an amazing ability to embrace flexibility. Having lost the sweepstakes for the endorsement of LeBron James to Nike, Reebok needs to explore new frontiers for business growth. Company and Industry Background History Reebok International Ltd., headquartered in Massachusetts, is a leading global designer, marketer, and distributor of sports, fitness, and lifestyle products. Reebok’s United Kingdom-based ancestor company was founded for one of the best reasons possible: athletes needed better shoes to run faster. Hence, in the 1890s, Joseph William Foster made some of the first known running shoes with spikes. His handmade shoes became popular with the British top runners, and soon the company had developed an international clientele of distinguished athletes. Distributed by The Case Centre North America Rest of the world t +1 781 239 5884 t +44 (0)1234 750903 All rights reserved f +1 781 239 5885 f +44 (0)1234 751125 e e case centre !

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