Building a retail identity for Finish Line’s Running Specialty Group
Strategy & Naming
Joey Rippole, Anna Zhang
Randall Stone, Ryan Kovalak
In 2014, Finish Line identified an opportunity within the fragmented running specialty market and began acquiring a number of local stores, bringing them together as the Running Specialty Group (RSG). Acquisitions ranged from well-known franchises like JackRabbit Sports and New York Running Company, to regionally renowned stores like Garry Gribble’s Running Sports. By early 2015, RSG had acquired over 50 local running destinations across the country, with that number continuing to grow.
To support its ambitious five-year vision, RSG recognized the need to lay out a clear plan to unify disparate employees around a common purpose. The new brand needed to stand for something unique and exciting. Something that resonated with target customers while also engaging staff at both the corporate and store level. Finally, to be competitive, it had to be integrated and implemented across key digital and in-store touchpoints to offer customers a differentiated retail experience.
Our research revealed a powerful opportunity for RSG to create a lifestyle brand that tapped into the energy and passion of the specialty running community. The name, JackRabbit, was chosen as it built on existing brand equity while aligning with who the company wanted to be. It hints at running without being explicit or limiting. It is memorable, distinctive and evocative enough to support its customer’s active lifestyles. By removing the word “Sports” from the name, we were able to extend the new brand’s reach.
While the existing logo was fun and playful, it lacked the maturity needed to steer the brand forward. The new icon is fluid in form and embodies the brand’s story of action and movement. Its distinctive color is bold and warm, retaining the spirit of the original. The typeface evokes motion and reinforces the brand’s friendly and fun loving personality through its rounded forms.
Based on the new positioning, we helped JackRabbit bring its brand to life through a series of signature experiences that would emotionally resonate with customers. In stores, a team of running experts offers personalized shoe fittings and gait analysis. New training and fitness programs help customers meet their personal fitness goals. Locally organized runs and sponsored events help support the local New York City running community.
Focusing on the New York market, JackRabbit renovated five local stores to become an immersive representation of the brand.
To reinforce their position within the northeastern community, JackRabbit launched its new brand at the 2015 New York City marathon. The company plans to continue to roll out new stores and elevated experiences that are sure to surprise, delight and serve runners across the country.
“Lippincott is a valued partner that helped us identify the true power of our brand’s potential and turn that vision into a reality. We are now poised to surprise, delight and serve runners (and shareholders) for years to come!” -- Frank Pruitt, SVP Brand Strategy & Consumer Experience, JackRabbit