If you are going to employ a community manager for your brand, it helps if they are ‘authentic’, a buzzword in the advertising and marketing space, particularly when it comes to influencers and ambassadors.
And they don’t come more authentic than Jola Chudy, the Community Manager for ASICS FrontRunner Middle East, and also an avid recreational endurance athlete. She is also the founder of Jola Chudy Consulting, a PR and media agency based in Dubai.
She spoke to Campaign Middle East editor Justin Harper about her role for the sportswear brand.
Can you explain what you do in your role as community manager?
I work with a group of 60 recreational and amateur runners, coaches and professional athletes who are ambassadors of movement for ASICS. They are roughly a 50-50 split between men and women with more than 20 nationalities and all kinds of backgrounds, reflecting the diversity of the region.
Some are business owners (such as myself) others work in the fitness industry. Some are parents, others are starting their careers. Their role as ASICS FrontRunner ambassadors is to inspire and motivate people to harness the benefits of #SoundMindSoundBody – the core philosophy that underpins ASICS.
My role is to support and enable them to do this. During the year, I share key brand marketing activations and campaigns, organise team meetings and photoshoots, and do my best to keep them engaged, motivated and passionate.
How did you get this role?
I came to this role in a very natural way. I had experienced the transformative mental and physical benefits of running and movement for myself, and was documenting my journey from a sedentary lifestyle to ultrarunner on social media. It came to the attention of ASICS in Dubai, who asked me to apply to the programme.
I quickly grew to feel extremely connected to the community of runners at ASICS. They’re not advertisers – they’re genuine, relatable men and women chosen for their role because of their authenticity, ability to inspire, and the values they live in their communities. As a brand, we are very careful never to treat them as advertisers.
Do you advise on their content?
Their content is self-directed and we have little to no input into its creation. We offer support with occasional photo-shoots, of course seed them the latest kit every season, offer brand learning opportunities and community-based touch points, but the rest is up to them. I think in the kind of over-saturated social media landscape, this kind of authenticity is priceless.
In July, ASICS urged people in the UAE to participate in a global study that will expose what needs to be done to close the gender exercise gap, given that men exercise significantly more than women.
To help ASICS you can take the short survey: www.asics.com/ae/en-ae/mk/move-every-mind .