As a marketing agency that specializes in “digital word of mouth” promotions, BibRave holds a unique niche in the endurance and fitness space. It started in 2013 as an online resource for runners to find and write race reviews and has grown its digital community of running ambassadors, what it calls The BibRave Pros, into a nationally distributed marketing platform for races and brands.
BibRave is known for operating turnkey influencer campaigns and as those campaigns grew and became more successful it branched out to offer more elaborate services. It now partners with races and brands on custom content programs, custom podcast content, highly-detailed project management and execution, retainer-based creative concepting and branding workshops, and white label ambassador programs.
Among its programs is the always much-anticipated BibRave 100 Awards presented annually at The Running Event, which honors the best and most successful races and race promotions around the country.
Running Insight got founder and president Tim Murphy to slow down for a few minutes to explain BibRave’s connection to the run community and how this relationship helps to grow that business.
Running Insight: Describe the role BibRave plays in the run community in 2020?
Tim Murphy: BibRave occupies a very unique role due to our close connection with runners and the running community, running-related brands and endurance events. Our BibRave Pro ambassadors have a reach of over 800,000, we work with approximately 200 events and we partner with 50 to 60 brands. Because of our B2C and B2B connections, we have a unique perspective on how the business of running can impact the consumer and vice-versa.
What is BibRave’s on-going vision for its role in the run event business?
It is “move people and businesses to constantly evolve what makes them great.” The running industry can be slow to change and we view BibRave’s role as pushing our partners to innovate new programs and experiences to keep runners engaged in the sport.
Why is there a need for what BibRave does?
Anyone who works at an endurance event or running-related brand can tell you that there’s just never enough time in the day/week/month. BibRave offers additional bandwidth, expertise, highly detailed project management and creative horsepower to take workload off our clients’ plates and ensure projects are executed at a high level and on-time.
Tell us about the BibRave 100 and how it helps build that community.
The BibRave 100: A Definitive List of the Best Races in America, which we co-host with The Running Event, continues to be a big area of focus for Team BibRave. As The BibRave 100 becomes a regular source of information for runners researching their next bucket list race, there are a ton of messaging and engagement opportunities for race service providers and endemic running brands. We’re excited to keep investing in and growing key runner resources.
How do you work with both race directors and retailers?
In many cases, retailers are the race directors. In other cases, the retailers have a vested interest in partnering with the race to host various elements of race weekend or pre-race build-up. BibRave can help facilitate and message around all of those activities.
How can retailers get involved?
The same way BibRave brings a uniquely informed point of view to bear for our race and brand partners, we work with retailers in a similar way. From hyping in-store events and specials, to organizing social media campaigns that drive people in-store, BibRave has a ton to offer the run specialty world.
How about with the brands?
We’ve also worked with our brand partners to educate and drive runners to retail locations and capitalize on those retailer’s expertise.
What brands are involved as sponsors and what are the benefits to them? And how can other brands get involved?
We work with 50 to 60 endurance brands across all verticals – headwear, footwear, eyewear, electronics, nutrition, compression, hydration – you name it. We’ve worked with large brands like Garmin, Brooks and Nathan as well as growing brands in the space like AfterShokz, Flipbelt and Knockaround.
Why do they work with BibRave?
Our brand partners are those who believe in the power of (digital) word of mouth, who hate the “same old, same old” and are looking for a different way to show up to runners — and who need to do so with very little lift.
What makes the community of BibRave runners – and runners in general for that matter – so unique?
The BibRave Pros are a group of 100-plus running bloggers and social influencers across ages, genders, races, markets, distance preferences, speeds and running experiences. They are runners with loyal readers and followers, whose audiences turn to them for information on the best races to run, the best gear to try, the best nutrition to use, etc.
How does that translate into your other offerings?
Our white label ambassador management programs – where we handle recruiting, contracting, on-boarding, message coordination and day-to-day community development for our clients’ owned communities – is growing every year. We have so many best practices and processes to share when it comes to managing influencers/ambassadors and we’re able to use those to build large and robust communities for our race and brand partners.
What’s the future look like for BibRave in particular and the running business in general?
As we work with more races and brands on an on-going, retainer basis, our custom content and event activation business is picking up a lot of steam. We’re extremely excited to be working with like-minded races and brands who want to re-imagine how we talk to and show up for runners.