Raising Awareness

Brands Get Sophisticated in Designing for Running Reflectivity.

Each year in November, the Running Industry Association spearheads National Running Safety Month. (2019 was the 7th annual NRSM.) The campaign supports the RIA’s 200-plus retail members nationwide with a variety of marketing assets aimed at raising awareness to help runners minimize risk and maximize reward as the winter running season takes flight.

Timed to hit in November due to the combination of daylight savings time and colder weather bringing challenges of low light running and poor weather conditions, the initiative stretches beyond November into January.

For retailers, brands and especially for runners, running safety is not just a one or two month-long concern, it’s a 12-months-a-year 24/7 fact of life.

Terry Schalow

This year, the RIA’s “Run Smart. Run Bright.” campaign was designed to help running retailers increase engagement with current customers as well as attract new customers to their stores by showcasing products that help keep running safe and enjoyable. Gore-Tex, ASICS and AfterShokz are sponsors of National Running safety Month. The digital marketing portion of the campaign was done in coordination with the marketing platform Promoboxx, and included a witty, educational campaign: #RUNBRIGHT.

Here, RIA executive director Terry Schalow answers three quick questions about why running safety matters.

When you are talking about running safety, what is the main message running retailers and brands are trying to share?

“Part of it is educating the consumer on the fact that particularly at this time of year, in low light conditions or cold weather, running can be challenging. But the goal is not to talk about the inherent dangers of running. It is to make sure running remains a great experience even when there might be challenging conditions. The message is not about danger. The message is: Let’s make sure running is enjoyable all year round — and here are some of the products and things to think about to make sure running remains an enjoyable experience for you no matter what. Let’s educate our retail customers about some of the products they could be using that will enhance their running experience.”

Aside from wearing reflective gear, what are some other key elements of running safety?

“It comes in several forms — having the right gear in inclement weather conditions; being aware of your surroundings; and running in groups or knowing some techniques to defend yourself. It can be an uncomfortable topic and we don’t want to scare people, but we want to highlight the benefits of running and being safe.”

Do you feel that consumers are generally aware of the “running safety” topic and the variety of products offered in this category?

“They are aware of it when they are out there running! You always try to be aware of what’s going on around you. But I don’t know that the average fitness runner gives it all that much thought. People may not be thinking about all the gear they could be using like a hardcore runner might be. Most people are thinking they just need shoes and shorts. There is a lot more that can enhance your running experience and that’s a story to tell. We want to expose the running retail consumer to all of the products that are going to make running an enjoyable and safe experience.”— Cara Griffin

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