/// Tough Mudder is cashing in on partnerships with national brands
Talk NYC Original Perspective: Tough Mudder
When Harvard Business School student Will Dean decided marathons are boring, he spent $20 on a Facebook ad to generate buzz for a single event that has evolved into a world-wide series of 10-to-12 mile obstacle courses.
Tough Mudder’s brand has grown through stories shared by its participants bragging to friends on social networks. Dean says 77 percent of his company’s Web traffic comes from word of mouth. And now he’s taking full advantage of partnerships with national brands that want a piece of the action like Dos Equis, Clif Bar, Degree, Bic and Under Armour… building a $70 million company in just two years.
Dos Equis was the first major sponsor, jumping in with a free beer for everyone to finish a Tough Mudder course. That small promo has given way to sponsored obstacles like the Degree wall climb and Under Armour branded T-shirts. Today Dean boasts more than $100,000 worth of sponsorships.
Our take… Dean’s company presents a basic and successful formula for growing a brand in the digital world – by first building a foundation of customers through word of mouth on social networks, then capitalizing by partnering with established brands that want to reach those customers. It will be interesting to see how Tough Mudder continues to grow through new partnerships and innovative marketing tactics.
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