Branding That Gets People To Do Anything

By: Jake

So there we were right hand raised reciting the Tough Mudder pledge consisting of leaving no fellow participant behind and that we (individually) understand that this is a challenge and not a race. Fortunately our Little Jack team experienced only minor injuries (bumps, bruises and a hospitalizing dislocated shoulder…) during the 25 obstacle 10 mile course taking place on July 23rd at Devil’s Head Ski resort in Merrimac, WI. Although nothing of serious nature happened to our team we did witness a participant break his femur and about 100 others taken to the hospital.

So why would, not just the 6 crazy adrenaline junkies and possibly insane members of our team, but the other 5,000 participants take part in such an event? We say it’s a winning mix of branding, building participant loyalty and delivering what you promise.

Tough Mudder and Branding. Crazy military style obstacle courses aren’t entirely unique. There is the Warrior Dash, the Spartan Race and the Rebel Race to name a few. According to Tough Mudder’s website they feel the people that are going to participate in their event versus any other is that their event is not a race but a challenge. This is a unified message apparent on their website, their marketing material, their welcome package, news articles, user submitted YouTube videos and even on signs posted throughout the course.

Every interaction we have had with Tough Mudder made this message of being a challenge and not a race clear. The event is about pushing yourself beyond your physical and mental comfort zone and providing the same level of support and encouragement to everyone participating. At one point one of our teammates (Marcel Krawczyk) found himself half hung over a 10 foot wall when another participant ran up behind him and assisted him by launching him over the wall (Marcel says thank you).

Tough Mudder chose an angle different from it’s competitors and kept the message clear, consistent and concise at all interactions with the public. The event is not a dash, it’s not a race, it’s not about getting dirty; It’s a 10 mile course for people looking to be physically and mentally challenged.

Tough Mudder and Building Loyalty. Search Tough Mudder on YouTube and you will see the loyalty of the fans. There are user submitted videos of people showing off how they are training and preparing, videos of people begging for an entry to a sold out event, and videos of individuals and teams on event day. What Tough Mudder does correct is they understand what their market wants, they understand what their customers are paying for and they do not waver from the integrity of their brand.

When you cross the finish line you are crowned with an I-just-walked-out-of-the-80’s bright neon orange Tough Mudder head band (which can not be purchased and if you try to get a second one you will be declined) to showcase your accomplishment, a beer from one of their sponsors and a commemorative photo is taken. Not only that but the post event follow up was solid in our opinion. We received a text message congratulating us for our completion just hours after we finished, an email inviting us back to the October event at a discounted rate, an email reminding us to pick up our pictures from their professional photographers and a shareable badge to post on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

All in all, Tough Mudder made loyal fans out of us.

Tough Mudder and Delivering What You Promise. This one is easy yet so many businesses don’t seem to understand this concept of delivering what you promise. If you say you are going to do something DO IT!

Are we going to register for Tough Mudder again? YES!

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Little Jack wants to give a special thanks to a few companies that supported our team and the Wounded Warrior Project. Thank you Thairapy Plus Salon and Venacity Technologies Inc for financially donating to our efforts to raise funds for Tough Mudder’s main charity the Wounded Warrior Project.
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About Jake Taylor

Little Jack's resident wordsmith since 2010.

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