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Hanson Dodge Creative has been designing lifestyle brands for more than 25 years. From
serving such clients as Trek Bicycle Corp., the Johnson Outdoors family of brands, Wolverine
and Horizon Fitness, we have collected insights into active lifestyle enthusiasts—who they
are, what inspires their passion, how often they indulge their preferred recreation, what they
buy to serve their interests, and how they make those buying decisions.

To further understand the active lifestyle enthusiast, we are committed to researching


the psychographics of this highly desirable consumer group. Our research goes beyond
purchasing patterns and participation trends. We are looking for commonalities and
differences in motivations, and rewards across activity segments and demographic groups.

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Active Insights is industry-leading research and analysis dedicated to demystifying the most
elusive and most profitable target market in history—the Active Lifestyle Consumer. It is
developed and produced by America’s leading brand experience designers focused on the
Active Lifestyle Consumer.

Hanson Dodge Creative publishes Active Insights to help our clients and friends in the
industry gain a deeper understanding of their consumers, which we believe will result in their
competitive advantage. At Hanson Dodge Creative, we don’t just expect the brands we serve
to climb to new leadership positions, we expect them to dominate their categories. Two
waves of research have already been completed. The first wave was conducted in October
2007 and the second wave in February 2008. Given the timing, these two waves were
conducted out of season for warmer weather sports, so we do expect to see some changes
in participation rates in future waves of data collection.

© 2008, Hanson Dodge, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited.


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This digest explores the differences between the outdoor-oriented and fitness-oriented
Active Lifestyle Consumer. We noted this dichotomy in our initial whitepaper (Be Real: A
deeper understanding of how to reach the most profitable and most elusive target market in history
– Active Lifestyle Consumers; December 2007). After delving further into the data, and looking
at our second wave of research, we discovered the divide between these two groups is much
greater than we initially thought. One of the best ways to see this difference is to look at the
first question they are likely to ask themselves when they wake up. Our research suggests
that the outdoor-oriented person asks, “What could I do today?” The fitness-oriented person
asks, “What should I do today?”

Understanding that this seemingly subtle distinction is really the harbinger to a significant
marketing divide is critical to crafting effective messages that truly appeal to your
target audience.

© 2008, Hanson Dodge, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited.


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The more than 1,800 active lifestyle respondents in our two waves
of research fell into six categories based on their preferred activities.
But, when we looked at personality traits, there were basically four
broad categories: fitness-oriented, outdoor-oriented, bikers
and walkers.
Of these, the personalities of bikers and walkers tracked consistently with the entire sample
of respondents. They tended to select the same answers as the group as a whole. The
outdoor and fitness people, however, were different—not only when compared to the group
as a whole, but also from each other. Look at it this way: If the entire group elected to go
straight ahead, bikers and walkers would likely tag along, but the outdoor-oriented group
would veer left and the fitness-oriented group would veer right. This pattern was repeated
over and over throughout the survey responses.

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The contrast between “fitness-oriented” and “outdoor-oriented” groups is outlined in
the table below.

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Laid back Driven

Enjoy life as it comes Manage/direct life

Favorite activity seen as calming Favorite activity seen as energizing

Focused on fun, adventure Focused on health, living longer

Less educated More educated

Lower income Higher income

Group-oriented Self-oriented

Participate to be relaxed, peaceful or serene Participate to be focused or centered

© 2008, Hanson Dodge, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited.


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Outdoor-oriented people identified their favorite activity as hiking,
camping, boating, fishing or paddling. Their survey responses suggest
that when they wake up, they’re raring to get on their cell phone,
call someone up and get outdoors. They see life as an adventure and
the earth as their playground. They approach life as something to be
enjoyed and they pursue their activities to have fun, preferably
with others.
They are five times as likely as fitness-oriented people to do an activity just to be outside.
Plus, they prefer to do their activity with buddies, rather than alone. They see education as
important (half have attended college and 24% have four-year degrees), but their classroom
is the great outdoors. Fewer than 10% have attended graduates school, which is well below
both all respondents (19%) and their fitness-oriented friends (29%). As a result, they tend to
make a little less money than their fitness-oriented friends, but by no means are they broke.
The median income for this group is between $35,000 and $50,000.
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© 2008, Hanson Dodge, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited.


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Fitness-oriented people identified their favorite activity as running or participating in aerobic/
fitness activities at a health or fitness clubs. They are laser focused. When they wake up
they’re already prioritizing the things they need to do. They’re thinking ahead because they
don’t want to get knocked off track by any curve balls life may throw at them that day. They
approach life with determination and a sense of purpose. They may enjoy activities in which
they participate, but their primary motivation is staying healthy, living longer or some other
goal-oriented objective.

Fitness-oriented people are three times as likely as their outdoor friends to stay active to
manage health issues and twice as likely to say they feel healthier when doing their activity.

Given their determination and self-motivation, it’s no surprise that they tend to be more
educated and make more money than their outdoor friends. Half of fitness-oriented
respondents graduated from college and 20% have earned graduate degrees. Their
determination and education pays off: The median income for this group is $50,000 to
$74,999, and 16% earn more than $100,000.

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© 2008, Hanson Dodge, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited.


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Chances are, your brand appeals to one of these mindsets. But does your message hit your
target audience head-on or does it glance off the side? With the help of empirical evidence
from Active Insights, you can effectively refine your brand’s position, develop more authentic
relationships with your customers and ultimately build lasting equity.

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Outdoor-oriented people are more likely to respond to appeals that address a sense of
adventure. They’re people people. They want to know what others think and are more than
willing to join the crowd. They are more likely to respond to “common folk” testimonials
and word-of-mouth advertising. They don’t want to hear people tell them what to do. They
want to do what other people are doing.

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Fitness-oriented people tend to be “lone wolves.” They’re not interested in “group think;”
in fact, they look down on the pack mentality. They respond to intellectual appeals and to
doing what is right. They rely on product reviews and the recommendations of experts.

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The outdoor-oriented are more likely to seek product advice from family and friends, yet
the word-of-mouth of trusted advisors is an important resource for both groups.

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Everyone’s surfing the web to hunt down product information, but that doesn’t mean other
marketing channels should be ignored. The outdoor-oriented are still drawn to television
while the fitness-oriented tend to seek out third-party product reviews and information
from online retailers.

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© 2008, Hanson Dodge, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited.


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Without question, quality and price are important priorities for both groups. However,
fitness-oriented people are slightly more fixated on quality, while outdoor-oriented people are
slightly more fixated on price.

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More than 60% of the respondents in the outdoor-oriented group shop at discount stores,
which is significantly higher than both the fitness-oriented group and the sample as a whole.
The fitness-oriented are more likely to purchase from full-line sporting goods store than the
outdoor-oriented, but this may be a function of income. An earlier digest—The Outdoor Elite:
Don’t Miss This Target (Volume Two: Digest One, April 22, 2008)—detailed how higher-income
outdoor enthusiasts also tend to shop through specialty retailers.

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Active lifestyle enthusiasts share a common bond in wanting to be active, but beyond that
they can think and act very, very differently. Nothing demonstrates this dichotomy better
than comparing people who describe themselves “fitness-oriented” with people who describe
themselves as “outdoor-oriented.” Everything’s different - from the way they approach life to the
way they gather and process information. The fitness-oriented manage life; the outdoor-oriented
ride the waves. The fitness-oriented tended to be lone wolves; the outdoor-oriented tend to be
pack animals. The list goes on and one, but the message is clear: Understanding the differences,
and knowing which of the two you’re trying to reach, is critical for motivating your audience.

© 2008, Hanson Dodge, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited.


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Hanson Dodge Creative is America’s leading design, branding and
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integrated communications firm focused on the Active Lifestyle Burton Snowboards
Consumer. We offer a wide range of strategic and creative services, CycleOps Power Trainers

including brand planning, marketing communications consultation Eureka!


Extrasport
and innovative technology solutions. Harley-Davidson
Horizon Fitness
Over 60 planners, marketers, researchers, designers and artists deliver insightful strategies, Humminbird
inspired design and maximum impact to an international portfolio of active lifestyle brands Johnson Outdoors
including Trek Bicycle Corporation, Burton Snowboards, Horizon Fitness, Johnson Outdoors, LeMond Racing Cycles
Lendal Paddles
the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and Wolverine.
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Old Town Canoes & Kayaks
Active Insights is industry-leading research and analysis dedicated to demystifying the most
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elusive and most profitable target market in history—the Active Lifestyle Consumer. It is SRAM
developed and produced by Hanson Dodge Creative, administered by Gluskin Townley Trek Bicycle Corp.
Group and vetted by DP Research Solutions. Volkswagen
Wolverine
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Want to share a comment on this research? Learn more about it and Active Insights? 180’s
Subscribe to Active Insights and receive whitepapers and digests throughout the year. Hanson
Dodge Creative also can help you craft a custom research program that uncovers the
motivations and desires of your target audience.

For a deeper dive into the minds of Active Lifestyle Consumers as well as the methodology
behind Active Insights, subscribe to our free whitepaper at http://research.hansondodge.com.

Online: research.hansondodge.com
Phone: 414-347-1266
Email: research@hansondodge.com
Hanson Dodge Creative
220 East Buffalo Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202

© 2008, Hanson Dodge, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited.


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