Why I left ASICS FrontRunners! (Part 1)
Couple of weeks ago I made a decision that I no longer want to be a part of the ASICS FrontRunner community.
I don’t know to what extent I will develop my thoughts, but I really felt that I needed to express some words about it since the team has been a part of my life for a couple of years (mostly digital).
The purpose of this post is to give you a little bit of context about why it was time for me to move on and pursue other endeavors outside the realm of the team and offer some insights about how the decision came about.
Before I dive into the details of my decision, let me take you all the way back to February 2020 to try and summarize some of the headlines/highlights since joining the team and perhaps make you understand my perspective and the expectations I had being part of the mix then and prior to parting ways for few weeks ago. I don’t owe anyone an explanation and few of my former teammates who I now consider friends know a little bit, but I felt like maybe it's fair that I share a thing or two so that others who may share similar thoughts or for some of you who are just curious souls that just wonders what goes around behind the scenes.
The ASICS FrontRunning community is really a vast network of individuals who come together to share their love for the sport and support each other in their respective journeys. It's an amazing platform that really stands by its slogan Sound Mind In A Sound Body (Anima Sana in Corpore Sano). For many, it is a source of inspiration and motivation to push themselves to new limits, both physically and mentally. For some it's a way to connect with other like minded athletes who share a great passion for running and adventures. For others it is a springboard for growing their own personal brand and taking advantage of all the doors that ASICS FrontRunners offers, including access to the latest running equipment and media expertise. It's not a collaboration or sponsorship like most outsiders think, it's more like an ambassadorship for movement and for the brand. Everyone that knows what an ambassador truly means understands that it's not just about receiving material stuff and posting about them on social media, it's about a commitment to the system of ideas and values that ASICS aspire to spread in the movement community through its FrontRunner program.
For me when I became a member back in 2020 shortly before the pandemic hit, I was doing mostly triathlons and running was a part of the swim, bike and run. I was asked if I was interested in taking part in the movement, which of course I was so excited about. I really was very inspired and fascinated about the whole team, and was drawn in by the idea of being part of a supportive community of like-minded individuals who encouraged each other to reach their full potential. I really got to know and meet a lot of amazing people, participate in campaigns and share pain and suffering in races alongside fellow Frontrunners. On the side I was also growing my passion for photography which ASICS FrontRunner presented me with great opportunities and allowed me to develop my passion into a more professional occupation, and for that I'm forever grateful.
After a while I transitioned to a full time recreational runner and suddenly triathlon wasn’t priority number one anymore. My instagram feed became mostly dominated by running photos and the ASICS brand decorated my posts and adorned most of my hashtags. At that moment, I was so motivated to please AFR (ASICS FrontRunners) by creating tons of content in hope that someday I will get noticed. That's before reels were a thing and photos were still relevant on instagram. I always felt the need to show my loyalty and creativity. Loyalty is a big part of the team, and although we were never asked to post anything on our socials we were constantly asked to engage in different marketing campaigns and product releases and share an authentic and genuine image of the brand. It’s a very smart marketing strategy if you ask me, using this communication principle to reach out to people is brilliant. The concept of authenticity has become increasingly important in marketing, especially in the age of social media where consumers are becoming more savvy and demanding genuine connections with the brands they support. Brands have taken notice and have sought to tap into this by presenting themselves as authentic, real and transparent. But look, I was happy to do it, because everything was new and fun, and at the same time I was learning so much stuff.
To be continued...