By Cyndi Pyburn

From its earliest days, Canadian history has been steeped with stories of daring explorers who searched for the Northwest Passage or a westward route to Asia. While we no longer search for undiscovered territories, Canadians still actively pursue adventure and exploration in their efforts to stay fit, active, and lively throughout their lives.

As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday this year, ParticipACTION has the ultimate playlist to get Canadians moving – 150 activities that define our land and people. The list fabulously illustrates who we are as Canadians, with activities from sledge hockey to lacrosse, slacklining, rock climbing, cycling, canoeing, pickle ball, white water rafting, obstacle course racing, fishing, curling, horseshoes, the famous polar bear dip, and even activities for around the home like snow shoveling, raking leaves, tree planting, making snowmen, and building snow-forts. It’s clear we firmly believe that an active life is a better life.

Good health is not simply, well, good for your health. It promotes social, economic, and personal development as well as overall quality of life. Healthy, productive citizens reduce the burden on the health care system and contribute to a strong economy.

With a firm belief in the importance of staying fit, one of Canada’s successful brands, Sport Chek, rebranded and positioned their business around that very Canadian value. Based on a major piece of research, Sport Chek identified that their consumer base was highly diverse and enjoyed a wide range of interests such as running, hockey, basketball, soccer, training, baseball, and walking to name only a few. This begged the question: how does one brand connect with people whose activity preferences range from solo to group activities, as well as calm, relaxing activities to high impact, aggressive activities?

The puzzle was solved with the discovery that sport is transformational. Sport pushes people to be something more, something special. The passion for sport is rooted in hard work and a sense of accomplishment. Thus, the one thing that connects the diverse set of sports and activities is a universal striving to be better. Whether you’re an 80 year old man enjoying a stroll in the park or a 24 year old woman doing 4 hours of strength training every day, your goals are the same – to look and feel better. The key insight was the notion of ‘better’ and this is where the “Your Better Starts Here” platform was born. This incredible emotional thread served to tie together athletes of all ages and abilities.

Several years have passed since the new strategy was implemented and, since then, growth at Sport Chek has been notable. In 2013, same-store sales increased 10%, and continued with growth of 7% in 2016. As part of this new strategy, Sport Chek also identified a valuable segment of their audience they call the Achiever, the sports fanatic who is approached by all their friends for advice about gear. While Achievers make up about 20% of consumers, they are responsible for about 60% of sports activity sales. Sport Chek decided to target all of their marketing activities on winning with this segment. In keeping with technological trends, those marketing activities evolved from traditional door-to-door flyers to a content oriented digital experience. Sport Chek moved way from a campaign-style approach to one that was constantly ‘on’.

Sport Chek and ParticipACTION have a common vision for Canadians, one where physical activity is a vital part of everyday life. As Canada’s premier physical activity brand, ParticipACTION helps Canadians sit less and move more through innovative engagement initiatives and thought leadership. As leaders and champions of physical activity, and with the support of Canadian brands like Sport Chek, Canada will remain a vibrant, healthy and active place to live. Happy Birthday to a young country full of life and ready to explore the next 150 years!