New Balance – start a movement, triple in size

The Challenge

In 2008 New Balance were fourth, fifth or sixth (depending on which market segment you looked at) in the footwear and athletic apparel categories. Growth had slowed and some businesses were declining, if they didn’t challenge themselves they were going to be challenged by the market leaders.

The 100-year-old family owned business had always thought of themselves as a Challenger Brand, but as they had grown to a $1B business they had lost some of their natural challenger edge. The then new CEO, Rob DeMartini, contacted eatbigfish to help them embrace their challenger roots, align the team around a common strategy and create a roadmap for future growth.


The Solution

Through the process of our Challenger Lighthouse Identity program we helped the team take a step back, question some basic assumptions of the business, and redefine their strategy around an overall positioning that all of their brands could sit under and use as a directional platform for growth.

New Balance stopped thinking about themselves just as a running shoe company, they were now a movement, on a ‘Mission to Move People’ offering footwear, equipment and apparel that moves people – physically, emotionally, spiritually and collectively.


The Results

  • Grown from $1Bn to $4Bn in ten years

  • Doubled their market share from 2% to 4% of the global sports footwear/apparel category

  • Become the no.1 brand in the running category (in multiple markets)

  • Now in the top three brands in the global sports apparel category

  • Have built a brand new HQ complex inspired by their Challenger Lighthouse Identity – a physical and metaphorical homage to ‘movement.’



What the challenger process unveils and what eatbigfish can help you unveil, is your brand truth.
— Rob DeMartini, CEO, New Balance

I don’t think we’d be here today, in the same condition, growing as fast as we were, if we hadn’t done that work with eatbigfish a decade ago.
— Rob DeMartini, CEO, New Balance