Cristian Guajardo Garcia

Business Strategy

where data and creativity collide

The power of (great) branding: Roots of Fight

It is not common to find apparel brands that escalate as fast as Roots of Fight. In little over 5 years, the company has grown fast enough to build a niche and create its own path, building an aspirational, motivational and solid brand.

However, what I like the most about “Roots” is the fact that before all the glory, they were an advertising agency named Copasetic Creative, which worked mostly with beer and sports brands. After a few bad seasons (as stated in this article) the co founder, Jesse Katz and creative partner Richard Lawley, decided to approach the daughter of Bruce Lee with a proposal that was somehow related to their previous work, but as time went by, it morphed completely and grew solidly into what we currently known as “Roots of Fight”

The duo started working in 2009, licensing few but solid names such as Muhammed Ali or Mike Tyson.

Roots launched officially in 2013 and the next year, good things started to happen: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson ordered 50 shirts, Jay Z, Beyonce, Anthony Bourdain and even Dana White (president of the UFC) started wearing the “retro-vintage” brand. None of them were sponsored.

“I think these athletes are viewed as truly authentic without all the current celebrity-athlete trappings, like entourages and paid endorsements”
— Matt Powell, sports industry analys

Roots, unlike Nike or Adidas, hides its logo and focus each product line completely into the athlete that features the unit. Weather is Ali, Tyson or Bruce Lee, you will see them over Roots, which expands its reach, using its heavy hitter influencers, social media and highly effective mini documentaries in which its “athlete stories”are told just like greek god’s stories were told back in the day.

“We kind of see ourselves as brand custodians for all of the fighters we work with. We’re treating their brands like an agency. We’re building their brands for them. We’re treating them with respect. We’re connecting them to their fans—and to their own histories and stories.”
— Jesse Katz, Co-Founder Roots of Fight

Today, Roots partners with Under Armour to scale even further. The brand has access to a huge distribution channel but still manages to keep its “dungeon gym” look and feel. Raw, honest and with loads of sweat and blood, exactly what we go after.

Where’s the trick? The brand respects and pays homage to the athletes it features. Plus, Roots of Fights feels honest, relevant (by highlighting historical moments we all remember) and uncorrupted. It’s a sanctuary in which we can escape to grab the dumbbells and challenge ourselves. The brand (and branding) is at his all time best. Roots of Fight is at its healthy and from here on, it can only get better.

Cristian Guajardo Garcia (cc) by-nc-sa | Made in London, UK |  2005 - 2017