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Rogue: A Success Story

Anastasiya Balstra
Jun 05, 2019

A few weeks ago, we hosted a master class during which marketing gurus, Marco Aarnink (Print.com) and Tijn Hoyng (Je m’appelle Company), told us how their smart marketing strategies became the base for their success. We have received a lot of feedback from the master class participants, but one thing for sure, they were hungry to hear more marketing success stories and understand the formula behind them. This brings us today’s blog, the success story of Rogue Fitness.

With 1.7 million Instagram followers, a worldwide distribution, and a 56.000 campus being built, Rogue has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2007. It all started when founder Bill Henniger, an Air Force vet, opened a CrossFit affiliate in his garage. He quickly realized that sourcing simple gym equipment like barbells, weights, and racks wasn’t easy. There didn’t seem to be a one-stop shop for strength and conditioning equipment. Henniger saw an opportunity and started an online shop. However, he heavily relied on multiple suppliers and had little control over lead times and quality. Henniger took a risk when he decided to take on the manufacturing side of the business, but it quickly paid off.

How did Rogue Fitness become one of the biggest brands in sports? Below we will examine Rogue’s main marketing ingredients in its recipe for success:

Bigger mission

As a true patriot, Henniger wanted Rogue to positively impact the American economy, hence he did not take his manufacturing oversees, “We believe that a healthy American ecosystem is absolutely dependent on the strength of U.S. Manufacturing.” Rogue prides itself in paying fair wages to its workers and offering an attractive package composed of healthcare, bonuses, profit sharing, retirement plan, paid leave, and parental leave. Rogue installs a sense of security in its workers thereby allowing them to comfortably spend their hard-earned dollars, which increases the overall health of the economy. Not only does this mission transmit an overall positive image of the company, it also enables Rogue customers to partake in this positive movement when they purchase from Rogue.

Emphasis on quality

“American Made, Built to Last” is stated on Rogue website. This ties in nicely with Rogue’s mission to support local economy. By manufacturing locally, Rogue has a tight grip on quality control. Needless to say, people’s perception of “Made in the USA” vs “Made in China”, rightfully or not, is quality vs low-cost. Rogue allows quality to speak for itself and relies on customers recommending their products to others, “We don’t have a salesman in every region pushing our products, we rely upon word of mouth.” This shows how important it is to stand 100% behind your product. Confidence in the quality of your products, or services is crucial for building a trustworthy image of your brand.

Giving back to the community

In line with its patriotic mission, Rogue employs many veterans and active duty members. Rogue also donates a portion of special merchandise proceeds to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and K9s for Warriors. Supporting a cause or donating to charity is a great way to connect with your customers’ feelings of empathy and make them feel good when they purchase from you.

Being part of the community

Rogue, without a doubt, has become a big part of the sports community it caters. It is currently the official supplier of various sporting events, including the CrossFit Games, USAW, The Arnold Strongman Classic, and USAPL Meet. These events give Rogue an excellent platform to showcase its products and increase brand recognition. By being the official supplier, Rogue has also established itself as the new standard in strength and conditioning equipment.

Sponsoring the “heroes”

Many brands do it, because it works, and Rogue is no exception. Rogue sponsors some of the biggest names: Mat Fraser, Rich Froning, Tia-Clair Toomey, Mattie Rogers, Ray Williams, Mike Jenkins; all with a very large fan base. These faces are often featured in Rogue’s marketing campaigns, on their website, Twitter, and Instagram. Sponsoring recognizable athletes allows Rogue to appeal to these athletes’ following.

Customer engagement

Rogue wants their customers to be part of the Rogue story, “We listen to our customers ideas and many times bring new products to market based on their ideas, suggestions and yes complaints!” Rogue has a dedicated suggestion box on their website where people can submit their ideas.
Hashtag #ryourogue gives Rogue customers an opportunity to be featured in their gallery. Currently on Instagram, the hashtag has over 173.000 posts and counting.

Rogue invests a lot in producing interesting content for their audience in the form of videos, articles and blogs. Even though watching videos or reading a blog may not result in a direct sale, it nurtures a long-term relationship between the brand and its (potential) customers.

Most importantly, in the age of consumer empowerment, Rogue Fitness sees the importance of embodying authenticity.

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