As Head of Central & Brand Marketing at global lifestyle brand Rapha, James Fairbank is responsible for extending its cycling apparel and accessories beyond the road racing space.
At PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON 2012, whilst talking us through the history of the brand and its properties, he delivered moving insights into how Rapha had acquired various transmedia tactics to connect the dots of the brand. ”We don’t do marketing for products, we try to market sports,” he said.
With a quest to make cycling the most popular sport, Rapha has undertaken unique story telling endeavors to move beyond the shelves and into the emotions of their customers. Their travel arm has launched a skincare line, a coffee machine, a cycle club cafes in key cities around the world and a library of visually arresting videos including one by Mogwai and an RSA short.
Adopting a mantra of ‘glory through suffering’, Fairbank explained how whilst it exists as a parallel to cycling, it also kept their team ‘incredibly honest’ in its efforts to deliver on quality and authenticity . “We aim to make photography appreciated by photographers, design by designers, films by filmmakers,” he said.
Even the labels woven into their garments convey a written story that doesn’t maintain the status quo of the average cycling brand, but pushes the boundaries, aiming to become a voice for the cycling movement. ”We create products that don’t exist,” Fairbank said.
James’ video – and the videos of all the other speakers at PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON 2012 – will be available from October 2012.