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New Balance | Chris Davis: Radically Agile, Fearlessly Independent

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

This is the Authentic Avenue podcast episode featuring Dana Marineau, Chief Marketing Officer of Rakuten, with host Adam Conner.

This is a link you can use to find Authentic Avenue, a marketing podcast hosted by Adam Conner, on Apple Podcasts. Remember to subscribe, rate, and review!

Today I have a podcast with one of my favorite guests, SOLEly based on how genuine the chat is.

Seriously. You'd be surprised how many times I have conversations on this podcast that are super rehearsed and guardrailed. It's an unfortunate part of the game.

So, consider today a fortunate edition of Authentic Avenue.

My conversation is with Chris Davis, who serves as Chief Marketing Officer of New Balance. Chris has been with the brand for 10 years, and is a familiar voice to those who listened to my podcasts pre-AA. In that time, New Balance has elevated far, far beyond any dad-shoe meme: they're a top-3 global athleticwear powerhouse.

You might be surprised then, to hear Chris talk about being a challenger brand.

It's not the first term you'd sooner hear from a startup which Chris uses to describe the business. Phrases like radically agile or fearlessly independent typically aren't associated with multi-billion dollar businesses. Thankfully for Chris, his team embodies these values -- and have benefited massively from it.

We talk more about that today, as it encapsulates what authenticity is for Chris and New Balance. What I found particularly interesting was the piece of the conversation on elevating their partners' voices and stories rather than speaking, as a brand, through them. I don't hear that take often. I think you'll find it interesting too.

Enjoy! Full transcript below.


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FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW: (powered by AI; 100% accuracy not guaranteed; provided by Descript)

Adam Conner: [00:00:00] Today, we're going to have a podcast with an athletic brand and specifically a guest. Who's one of my favorite to interview. I told him that he was like top five in this interview and you'll hear that, but it's just because it's such a natural chat just as it was the first time, but I'll get to that in a second.

First here's today's Authentic Avenue.

New Balance, a top three global apparel and athletic powerhouse. And today I'm on with our chief marketing officer, Chris Davis. Now Chris was one of the first people I ever interviewed when I started interviewing marketers, which is why I think he's one of my favorites. Uh, but. It is true. He's an extremely natural chat.

And today we go back to some of the things we talked about the first time around like authenticity over advocacy. We also talk about elevating partners instead of just speaking through them, as well as things like being radically agile, fearlessly, independent, and how to stay a challenger brand. Even if you are top three in the world, that one was very interesting to me.

I asked them all sorts of questions, including the advice column at the end that you've all grown to love. I really appreciate this because like I said, it's a natural chat. Chris didn't know some of the questions that I was going to ask. Not that I asked him anything controversial, but the way that he interacts and responds, it's just how you want nothing in conversation to be.

And I gotta be honest. I don't really get that with chief marketing officers all the time. So this was a treat for me. I think it will be a treat for you as well. So sit back, relax, kick off your shoes or put some on and listen in. As I get real with New Balance and Chris Davis, Chris, how you doing?

Chris Davis: [00:01:38] Adam, how's it going?

Great to speak to you again.

Adam Conner: [00:01:41] It's it's a great speak to you again as well. That's what I was going to start this off with actually, uh, listeners, in case you were curious for, uh, for Adam Conner trivia, which obviously I know is the reason you came and tuned into the show today. Uh, Chris was one of almost the, but one of the first interviews that I ever did in this space entirely.

I had, I got an introduction from the first guest I ever had. Adam Grossman over at the Sox said, you gotta talk to Chris. I said, all right. And thankfully, Chris took a chance on me back when I was a, a beat reporter, relatively speaking. Now I like to think I have a little more under my belt, but, um, I appreciate you coming back, Chris, welcome back to, to me, even if it's a different look,

Chris Davis: [00:02:24] Of course, I mean, we had a great conversation the first time and everyone speaks highly of you.

So it's great to be back and talk about marketing and New Balance and where we're headed.

Adam Conner: [00:02:34] I'll brush off my shoulders a little bit. Appreciate that. Uh let's let's so then let me ask a little bit about that right up front legal, last time we chatted. All right. This was over two years ago at this 0.2 and a quarter, maybe two and third, and you know, certain things were happening at that point.

A lot has happened since. So I guess the most informal way of asking the question is to say, well, what's up recently?

Chris Davis: [00:02:58] Yeah. I mean the, the last 10 years in total have just been a crazy ride at New Balance. And we've really gone throughout a transformational journey, particularly within the last five. But going back to the last decade, the business has more than doubled we've globalized as a brand, we've shifted from 70% of our business in the United States to 74% of our business being international.

And we've really reestablished our brand identity, which is embracing that idea of 115 year old star startup company and being the ultimate challenge of brand the last two years, I would say we've made the most stride in transforming ourselves from a great running brand and a great run classics, retro brand to a world-class athletic brand.

And that impetus was really started by being laser-focused on being the undisputed top three global player in the world sport and good industry in order to do that, we had to do so many things. And Adam, as you know, it takes a lot of long-term strategy, budgeting, patience, and just really strong communication and dedication to your vision.

And. That's been going on over the course of the last six or seven years, but we've really began to see the fruits of our labor over the last two. And we've diversified into so many different other sports that have enabled us to realize as transformational growth categories, like tennis, skateboarding, basketball, world football, cricket, baseball, and then accelerate our track and field initiatives even more so.

So that's, it's really been a fun ride and it's been a full funnel approach from a marketing standpoint, from acquiring brand ambassadors and world-class athletes to just making sure our content was world-class embracing digital and really making brand marketing and sports marketing world-class organizations within New Balance.

Adam Conner: [00:05:01] I've been trying to get in a little bit into those other sports as well. Obviously you haven't, I mean, Hey, it's good to be. It's good to start it from that position of alright, well we're top three in sporting goods. All right. How do we come? How do we become a worldwide leader in sort of an athletic, a household name in terms of, you know, the way people power themselves?

When we last talked as well, I'll give it a briefly allude to this, and then I'm going to zoom out. Because my focus has zoomed out broadly since we talked a lot about in that first conversation that we had and listeners, if you're desperate for it, I'll link it after. It's not really the point of this one.

We talked a lot about, um, how you empower New Balances, voice amongst individuals. And at that time it was. W a lot of work through ambassadors. You're you work through the athlete, that was who you were speaking through. And over the last few years, you've just mentioned becoming this powerhouse in athletics that made a lot of sense at that moment.

I've taken this show to zoom out and here's what I mean by that to suggest that well, that is a way that businesses operate authentically or choose to operationalize that authenticity broadly. It doesn't have to be the only way though. That was just the lens I was looking at. I assume. That those ambassadorships are going along strongly as they ever have.

But if you could zoom out with me for a moment and to say, okay, New Balance broadly, and maybe it's just going back to that vision, but what does authenticity mean for you at New Balance? I know it's a very big question, but I just want to start there so that we can dive in, in specific areas.

Chris Davis: [00:06:39] Absolutely.

I think that's a great question. At surface level, I would say for any brands and then we can get us New Balance after. But I think for any brands, authenticity is all about being true to who you are, right? It's about honesty. It's about backing up your words with actions, and it's just really divulging the truth of your brand.

It's divulging, where you want to go, where you've been and where you are today. And for us, what authenticity means for New Balance is embracing this idea of being a fiercely independent company, right? We don't want to be necessarily from a marketing perspective, the best footwear or apparel marketers in the industry.

We want to be the ultimate challenge of brand at New Balance. So, what that really entails from a marketing perspective is us embracing the idea of being a fiercely independent brand, living that, making sure it's part of, uh, the actions that we take and just whatever we do, whatever we say and all the considerations we make have to utilize that fiercely independent film.

Adam Conner: [00:07:53] So being furiously independent, It to me seems what's not in the same vein as, but it's, let's say adjacent to being the challenger, right. You're not owned by anybody else. You're making your own way. But can I ask you for a second because I, and I know you set it up top and I've heard it before to be the ultimate challenger brand as a top three name though.

How do you continue to hold that mentality? When you've now developed such a strong and leading global position?

Chris Davis: [00:08:22] It's all about consistency, right? And, um, I'm going to be a broken record because I am with, with our team. But that idea of being fiercely independent enables all of our actions. It inspires us to take calculated risks.

It's a reflection of who we are as a brand, right. We are a privately owned company and we have to have the courage to counteract the status quo. We embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. We try to be as transparent as possible with our consumers and the best way that I can describe it is like when everybody else goes, right, we go left.

Or when everybody else goes left, we go, right. And it's about taking the unique approach. It's about embracing what makes us different and not being afraid to show our true colors. And you know, sometimes that's about embracing the elephant in the room. Part of what has made New Balance so successful over the course of the last two to three years is relentlessly strategizing and creating demand on the dad shoe trend.

We own dad's shoes as a brand. In the past, that could have been a stigma, but we embrace the elephant in the room. We created world-class collaborations on some of our most iconic, chunky models. And we realized a tremendous amount of credibility in the world, fashion space over the course of the last couple of years, which ultimately culminated in the brand, being the footwear news athletic brand of the year and the Hypebeast sneaker brand of the year.

So embracing those components that make us different, not chasing. Where we want to go, but strategizing who we are and making sure that that's brought to life in the most authentic, creative and calculated, calculated risk manner possible is to me what embracing authenticity means

Adam Conner: [00:10:16] Well to receive those accolades is one thing, you know, to be Hypebeast, sneaker.

What does a sneaker of the year or sneaker Brent? Was it a specific one or was just like the whole thing? Like you are. You are the best. What was that? Exactly?

Chris Davis: [00:10:28] It was a hype hype sneaker brand of the year and footwear news athletic brand of the year. And it was, it was, it's a huge Testament to the team's steadfast commitment to following our global strategic plans.

But also it's easy. It's easy to fail, right? In marketing, it's easy to fail and product. It's easy to fail. It's easy to have things not work, but it's what you learned from them. It's continuing to take calculated risks. And backing it up with great actions and great content ultimately enables you to realize that authenticity in a manner that only you can own

Adam Conner: [00:11:05] And in a way that people outside of New Balance recognize obviously from what you've just said.

I mean, Hey, I think any, any shoe print would want any athletic brand would want. To have that accolade and my God, is it a far cry from the now old, I guess, meme as it were of, oh, that's the daddy grant. Well, clearly it isn't right. You don't have Ryan Gosling throwing them over a balcony during a movie anymore.

Now you're known around the world as, okay. These guys are, these guys are here and for real, and now it's the dad and the son and the daughter and you know, everybody. So that's great. And I'm glad that that positioning has been awarded to you externally. Let's let, let me, let me approach this, this a word in one on one internal questioning.

Cause you've mentioned a couple of times now, uh, with, you know, and extremely valid you do so that this was all because of, of the team, right? This unrelenting vision, this vision that has not changed from whenever you said it and maybe 115 years ago. I don't know. Uh, now in our last two years, since we spoke the first time, I mean, talking about organizations going left, going right and operating one way or the other.

How do you think that some of that authenticity has been fostered within? Because just as much as you seek to be that leader externally, you are also a leader internally and ultimately have thousands of employees who seek to follow your mission. How do you ensure that they do that? That they stick to it just as you have this whole time.

Chris Davis: [00:12:39] That's another great question. And it comes down to simplicity in goals and simplicity in communication. And I would say from a marketing standpoint, as an organization, we really have two general rules of thumb. The first is that the death of all great brands in retail or sports or fashion lies in the notion of stagnation.

Right. So if you're being stagnant as a brand, probably even more so today than two years ago, this is true. If you're being stagnant as a brand, there's no way that you can proceed with prosperity, because if you're not constantly striving for ways to disrupt yourself, you will be destroyed disrupted externally the second and something that all of our marketers have embraced across the world.

Is that our marketing absolutely 100% has to be a reflection of our values as a brand. This is our contents. This is our partnerships. This is our ambassadors. This is our attitude. This is how we approach teamwork. We have to ensure that everything we do is a reflection of our values. And within marketing, it goes back to that notion of being fiercely independent.

It goes back to the idea of striving to be the most boutique sports marketing brand in the world while simultaneously striving for that top three positioning and embracing the notion of teamwork. If we aren't working together as a team, as a challenger brand, there's no way we're going to be able to take down the behemoths in our industry or at least steal share from them.

Adam Conner: [00:14:22] Without a doubt. You will not go to top two and top one, unless you are able to do that. Let me go back to the first of two points that you just made there to say, if you are stagnant, which I think by the way is probably separate from, from the, from a steady vision, right? That doesn't necessarily mean you're being stagnant as a business.

That just means that you are doing new things in line with the same vision and culture over time. Over the, I mean, I don't even think it has to be over the last two years, Curtis. I can say probably it has happened. A couple of times over the last 12 months, but I'd be curious to hear from you. What, what did you have any of those rude awakening moments recently, either externally or internally that you had to move in a different direction as a result of, to avoid being disrupted or, or internally to, to retain the, the passion and excitement from those within, because my God have we been on not to use the footwork on a bumpy road the last year and.

Although, maybe it helped. Cause a lot of people were getting outside instead of like going to the gym, probably bought it, sold a lot more shoes, but I I'm just curious if there were some of those moments where you had sort of a come to Jesus moment over the last year or so with regard to all of this craziness?

Chris Davis: [00:15:28] There's been so much craziness in the, in the past year and everyone's personal lives and all businesses in all industries and all geographies.

One thing that we remained dedicated to is not letting indecision paralyze us as a brand. We knew that we had to make decision in order to proceed the way we wanted to in all functions. So I think one thing, if that, if, if the pandemic has taught us, one thing is the importance of decision. It's the importance of being agile and moving forward with conviction, we've always embraced the premise that growth and comfort.

Aren't two things that can coexist. So in order to grow. You have to be uncomfortable because if you're totally comfortable with everything you have moving forward, there's probably a chance that you're not pushing yourself hard enough. And within the pandemic, that was especially true. Right? We had to make decisions whether it was on inventory, whether it was on contents, whether it was transforming our shoe factories in new England to making masks, to help with a pandemic.

We had to make decisions quickly, not only for the betterment of our organization, but for our civic duty to society. So. We really embrace this idea of radical agility, making decision and moving forward in an uncomfortable manner in the spirit of growth.

Adam Conner: [00:16:54] Well, I think that radical agility, I mean, all anybody would need to do.

And if you don't like stay in tune with what New Balance regularly does folks, I mean, I encourage it because like in the world of athletics are doing a pretty damn good job. All I gotta do is go to their Twitter page, go to Twitter page. What's plastered right across the front, right across the top of the page.

We got now, now, obviously that means more than just being radically agile, internally and moving to grow. But that in a sense is something that you need to be radically agile to. Do you need that in order to always have the freshest, the newest, I mean, what's the last color where they came out a week ago, something like that.

So like you, you always have to be on top of things changing. I don't know about changing constantly, but progressing. Definitely. Let me ask outside of the, the New Balance brand. Obviously, you're a critical part of that, the Keystone to it. What about your journey? I mean, as, as a leader, as a person, as, as somebody who's working with these folks, side-by-side with, you know, somebody who is, you know, hearing the story of those close to you and the story of those who aren't even within this story.

W H have you experienced moments like this, maybe over the last year or two over the last several years where. You felt that, that you weren't being as agile as you could, or that you felt that you needed to step it up or keep up in some way, because I assume, and I just assume, because we're all human that these values of always be growing, have radical agility, be fearlessly independent.

Sometimes it's hard to internalize. Have you experienced that too? And if so, is there a way that you believe you've learned through it and become better as a result?

Chris Davis: [00:18:31] I think we've all experienced that at some point in our professional careers and undoubtedly within the last year as a whole. And I consider myself to be a hyper competitive person protect, particularly in a business setting, not necessarily, you know, with my family or with my friends, but in a business setting.

Absolutely. And continuing to challenge myself is something that, you know, I take pride in, but I think the most important thing as a leader is to be truthful, honest, fair, transparent, and then ultimately vulnerable with your teams. We try to hold town halls every Friday as a marketing organization where we have business topics, personal topics.

Basically one big round table with 150 people where we discuss the state of the business and the state of the department. And within those meetings, it's important for us to all be on the same page from a business standpoint, but also from a team standpoint. And that requires. Compassion. It requires sometimes to be emotional, particularly within moments of social injustice, particularly during moments where people are having a hard time with mental health and just being able to relate with your team on a different level is super important.

So I guess to answer your question, when I find. Myself, having a hard time. The most important thing for me is to really be honest about it, because I'm sure that there are many other individuals on my team. No matter if they're in a leadership position or not experiencing the same thing. So the more we can be commonly aligned with our mentalities, it just makes us stronger as a team.

And it allows us to move forward in a more seamless manner.

Adam Conner: [00:20:19] It's having that empathy, understanding that other people have their own situations. They have their lives too, you know, it's, you know, you live and breathe New Balance every day. Not, not everybody does that, especially considering their personal circumstances, even if they are a part of that team.

So to stay engaged with them B through a weekly, uh, round table, which I think is great, by the way, I was just going to try to find a way to ask about that. Like how you keep in touch with your team right now. Well, that's great that you do that, um, or any other way. And Chris, I experienced it myself and what, you know, what's happened to me since wheat, since we last talked that first podcast that I did.

Was with an organization that, that is now no longer. And I was part of that and I, and I had to be, and I had to be honest with myself is what did I want to do? And that was in the middle of last year when everything else was going on. And knowing that there were people around me who were going through situations, similarly, people who had it worse than me as well, kept me, uh, from, from the worst, I think, you know, and I think made me, I think maybe better as a result, it wasn't, it was good that I was able to keep talking with folks like you, but.

I, I totally get where you're coming from. Um, because everybody's situation, you know, matters everybody's circumstances are important and should be, should be recognized and should be allowed to be vulnerable. Uh, speaking of stories matter, can we, can we talk a little bit about what, what you all are doing outside of the, of the foot, so to speak?

I understand that, uh, there's a very large program called my story matters. I wanna know whose story that is. Maybe that story changes over time, but. Um, we're having this conversation, uh, mid February, uh, folks listening to the show. So, uh, we're going to come out in a few weeks after this, but, um, I'd love to know what's going on in that corner of the world, what the, my story matters and the initiatives therein?.

Chris Davis: [00:22:01] So we launched a black history month program featuring Jaden Smith and Coco golf, uh, great content,

Adam Conner: [00:22:10] Coco. How great has that? She has been incredible.

Chris Davis: [00:22:13] Coco has been incredible. Jayden has been incredible. And Adam, you know, going back to ensuring that all of our marketing and all of our partnerships are a reflection of our values, individuals like Jayden and Coco really, really are emblematic of that mission.

We, we take a fewer, bigger, better mindset with our partnerships. Um, and we really view ambassadorship as a partnership opportunity versus a sponsorship opportunity, right. And everything that we do with. Our partners is coauthored. We, we have a co-op coauthored strategy. We have coauthored contents and we have coauthored products.

And my story matters with Jayden and Coco really embraced that notion of co-authorship and celebrated black history month in a way that the brand had never done before and through their authentic voices, through their stories and through their inspiration to others. I think it really provided an inspiring platform to connect with consumers all over the world.

And it goes back to that idea that we've talked about before authenticity, over advocacy, without having individuals like Coco and Jayden who are so invested with their partnership in our brands, we would have never been able to connect with consumers in such a meaningful manner. As we did this past February.

Adam Conner: [00:23:39] And that is something which is so important. And by, and by the way, let me, let me squash it. And any skepticism for people listening to this, because first of all, authenticity over advocacy is an exact thing that you told me when we had our first conversation, which I think was in January of 2019. I think, um, this idea of being co-creative is also not new listeners.

If you're thinking like, oh yeah, sure. They're just saying that. Cause they're like it's, it's PR time. It is not. That is also something that we talked about. Again, this was two years ago. This is not a flavor of the month. Okay. This is truly something that they're doing all the time. That to me is authenticity as well as, you know, holding true to values, but doing it over time instead of when it's just profitable.

And unfortunately, Chris and I, you know, you don't have to speak to it yourself. Maybe I will. I've seen it in the, in the design and fashion world over the last year. Some people serving when maybe they shouldn't have been in certain ways, um, you know, whether it be like tone deaf ads or otherwise anyway, and this is obviously it's as great as well.

I mean, listeners, you can go to this PR talking about. My story matters and it has a pretty shocking statistic in it. Less than 5% of the design and fashion world is represented by Blacktown. How crazy is that? So, anyway, it's, it's good. That it's good that you are contributing through the people that you already have, your partners.

You're speaking through them. It's another way I like to be authentic. And I'm glad that you're being in that way too.

Chris Davis: [00:24:56] And we don't really use it. As a means to speak through them. We try to elevate their platforms and utilize our brand as a mechanism to enable them to tell their story and tell that and tell their side of what matters.

Adam Conner: [00:25:12] Good clarification. That's a good, that's a good filter. Um, exactly right. Cause that you, at the same time, that's maybe someone else could be skeptical that it was like, oh, well they're just like using, but really like that, that, that talent is just pushing the message that like the people rubbing their poems over New Balance on the sec.

But it is not that at all. I mean, it is simply, is there a message that you are elevating? So good, good catch, good catch. And thank you for that.

Chris Davis: [00:25:31] It goes back to that idea of partnership, and I'm not going to beat a dead horse here, but you know, when we sit down with individuals like Jayden or Coco or Kauai Leonard, for example, when we have these meetings, whether it's in the pitch process or after they're already brand ambassadors, We expect a tremendous amount from these individuals.

However, we make it clear that we're going to over invest in them, not only as entertainers or athletes, but yeah. Also for them to tell their stories and utilize our brand, which is served up in 135 countries. As a global platform to enable them to articulate their fiercely independent story. And I think that's what made it, that's what has made us successful in the world of sport and in the world of style and for the listeners who follow trend in collaborations, we've been on the forefront of collaborations for quite some time now in the streetwear and fashion space.

And part of the reason why that has been the case is because we take that same mentality that we do with our. Athletes and our entertainers as we do with our collaborators, one thing that we really pride ourselves on, um, going back to that idea of the entrepreneurial spirit is providing collaboration opportunities to up and coming brands that have never done footwear before.

So we pride ourselves on giving smaller fashion houses, smaller fee streetwear brands, their first ever collaborations. Now I'm going to rattle off a couple of names right now, where you would be surprised at New Balance provided their first collaboration because of how big that they are right now. So Emily, Emily on door, Joe, fresh goods, Casa Blanca , who was designer of the year in footwear news.

These individuals have their finger on the pulse of culture, but they also understand our partnership approach to the business. And it's a one plus one equals three equation for us. We both try to understand what makes each other authentic and bring that to life in the most beautiful co-creative manner possible.

And when that happens, great, great things occur. And I think. If you talk to Teddy Sanchez from Emily on door, Joe, fresh goods, Ursula, I think that they can be, they can, they can tell you how great of partners we are and elevating their profile, but also to the incredible amounts of credibility that they have brought to our brand, to their respect, to followings.

Adam Conner: [00:28:07] And followings that continue to grow widely respected names that, that you helped elevate and, and, and empowered.

So that's wonderful as well. And. Well, it makes me wonder about how others can do it too. Not how can you be the top three athletic brand, not how can you help these, uh, help these folks at elevate these folks that have huge platforms, but in the, in the vein of what this show, this particular podcast is all about, which is about learning how the best brands in the world and their leaders curve their own avenues to authenticity.

We talked about a couple here today, those being elevating the voices of your partners. This authenticity over advocacy so that it's not you speaking through somebody, it's you elevating somebody else's voice, whether it be through being radically agile, being fearlessly, independent, that always challenging brand that is going as gone as you put from the, from the, from the dad shoe all the way to, to the, to the gold medal.

Um, I'm curious as to how you've carved those avenues to authenticity over time and specifically. What advice you can give to our listeners on how to find their personal truth, whether it be as a leader or as an operator of a brand. This is surprisingly a question. I think a lot of people have, they looked to the heavens in this case, the heavens are the, the, the, the big brands that they aspire to be in the leaders that they emulate.

And they said like, wow, they just, they just get it. They, they, but all they say is, oh, just stay true yourself. God, I wish I knew how to actually do that. How might they actually do that? I mean, do you have a couple of thoughts there that we might be able to round out with today?

Chris Davis: [00:29:45] Tough question. Because like we talked about before it requires patience and it also requires operationalizing your budget in a way that enables you to be authentic, which is a different conversation for a different day, but the best way that I can put it is resist the temptation of chasing short-term fats, you as a leader, as a marketer, as part of a brand, you know, what is true to that brand and when you're branding or better yet, if you're rebranding, you have to remember that it's not about creating a new brand identity.

It's about divulging. What makes your brand special? It's about divulging your brand truth and the differentiating aspects that make you your brand, your mission unique. It could be addressing the elephant in the room like the New Balance statues or being fiercely independent and being hyper aggressive and crazy trying to enter markets like for us basketball and world football and signed partners and ambassadors.

That we would have never dared to do in a previous life. It's testing your limits. It's constantly pushing boundaries and having the courage to stand out. I mean, over the course of the last four years, we've really entrenched ourselves in the basketball space. And in the world football space through not only fiercely independent content marketing, but also from signing great ambassadors like Kauai Leonard, we just signed Denver nuggets, superstar, Jamal Murray in world football.

We have top five player in the world, Saudi Omani, but we've also just signed a young London superstar who plays for arsenal named Bookeo Saka, Italian giant ASMR Roma. And it's constantly seeking ways to improve yourself remaining hyper-aggressive but also doing so in the confines of what makes your brand authentic and unique.

It's a lot easier to say than it is to do, but the best indication of future behavior is past behavior. So once you have those examples under your belt, It kind of, it kind of goes by the old saying, like when it rains, it pours, once you start tasting the success, once the strategy starts working, then remaining steadfast being true to your brand identity, embracing what makes you special.

It becomes all the more easy,

Adam Conner: [00:32:24] Perhaps we can use another, another weather related saying here, since, since we're in winter, if you just keep rolling forward on the path without being diverted, things will snowball. Maybe, and eventually become very impactful and influential, and that's what you, everything there resonates by the way you speak very eloquently about it.

It resonates really well with me. Just I tell you what a lot of brands talk about being authentic, and then they dive at those short term games. They really do, whether it be, uh, uh, something in pop culture or a joke or something like that, you know, it is just like, I've seen it too many times and I haven't really seen it with you guys, which is great.

Cause it means that you're telling me the truth, frankly. So. I appreciate that perspective. I appreciate everything you told me today. You know, I, I knew that I was going to like it. I knew I was gonna appreciate it because you know, it being a callback. And I think that I'd like to think that I'm a little more seasoned as an interviewer since I was two years ago.

Um, but it was a treat to have you back and, and to hear more about this and, and to have this message shared again, cause needs to be shared. Um, it's like you and Susie Deering, who was over at eBay is now at Ford and a couple of marketers that I have just loved sharing their story. There's like five. And you're in that five.

So thanks for rejoining me, Chris, I've really appreciated the time today, uh, in this new setting. Thank you for coming back and, uh, and best luck to you and New Balance, everything you have going on, uh, going forward.

Chris Davis: [00:33:40] Thanks, Adam. I'm honored to be in your top five and then, you know, hopefully I can creep into that top three, like, uh, just like New Balance. So.

Adam Conner: [00:33:48] That's good. That's a good way to end it. Damn. All right. Now I've got to go do a ranking. All right. Fine. Thanks. Thanks very much for now.

Chris Davis: [00:33:56] Appreciate it.

Adam Conner: [00:33:58] Speaking of that ranking? Um, there isn't one. I mean, maybe I should do one at Chris is definitely there, but, uh, now, now he's going to, he's going to keep me honest.

I gotta do it for sure. Maybe he's top three. I don't know. I just ha I haven't ranked them, but, uh, again, Chris, thank you very much for coming on and I'm glad the listeners could hear your story once more. By the way listener, thank you for tuning in today. Uh here's what else you can do if you want to keep listening in or interact with me?

I am on LinkedIn, Adam Conner, obviously Authentic Avenue also is our community with, uh, just over 200 followers, which is a cool thing for me. Uh, marketers who are all in the know and emulate the leaders who we have on the show. Also, you can email me, Here's why brands talk a lot about getting into the podcast world.

A lot of times that's just via an ad. I'm not really interested in that. I'd rather help you produce one in-house. And if you like to learn more about that, or you've thought about the space, I know a heck of a lot about it, and I could just give somebody nice. Have a think on that. I'll come back to you later for it.

In the meantime, I'm Adam Conner saying until I get real again with you. Thanks for taking a walk with me down Authentic Avenue.


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