Racing toward inclusivity

Creating a representative, inclusive brand slogan

Client Name: Front Runners Atlanta

Project Type: Branding, Copywriting, Research

Project Duration: 2 months

Project Overview

Exercise is a step in the right direction towards better health. But finding a community of like-minded people who want to participate in a healthy form of socialization can be difficult.

Front Runners Atlanta is a fitness group open to everyone regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or athletic ability. Many of its members are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

The group provides a safe, encouraging environment for people to feel free to be who they are while improving their health.

As organizers of the Pride ATL 5K, Front Runners Atlanta wanted to get people excited about the event, increase sign-ups, and collect donations for various LGBTQ+ causes. To accomplish this, they aimed to create an inclusive branded campaign and new slogan representing all race participants.

Looking for a healthier way to socialize

To get to the heart of the campaign, I had to understand the people involved in Front Runners Atlanta and the Pride ATL 5K, which meant:

  • Conducting interviews with event organizers and Front Runners members
  • Researching the history of the Pride Run
  • Reviewing articles, videos, and other media related to the experiences of LGBTQ+ runners and walkers

Every conversation, report, recording, and research paper painted a picture of how members of this group viewed themselves inside and outside the fitness community.

Finding a community within the community

To Pride ATL 5K participants, this was about more than a race. Being LGBTQ+ is political, expressive, and sorely underrepresented in the world of physical fitness. From the research and interviews, several insights came to the forefront.

People wanted to:

  • Find a group that accepted them without judgment and embraced who they were
  • Have a sense of belonging
  • Feel pride in what they’ve accomplished physically and emotionally
  • Participate in social activities that didn’t revolve around drinking alcohol
  • Celebrate the Pride Run’s origin love story

The slogan and branding for the race needed to encompass all of these insights and represent—and respect—the people involved.

“I think it’s a good way to go out be part of community but you’re making friends along the way, you know, you’re doing this together, and it’s important to have that friendship, so you can continue to this healthy lifestyle.”
“…it just becomes it’s like a mini pride parade that is also a run that also has all these like community like sponsors there so it just I think it’s what brings people back is it’s not it’s not something that’s filled with alcohol.”
…it was really important that whenever I joined I wanted to find a community that I can be myself. And so when I started running, it helped me realize like, this is what I love to do.”

Welcome to the family

Organizers wanted to ensure that the event’s new slogan included and highlighted specific groups, such as drag performers and trans athletes.

While writing, I wanted to ensure the slogan options were inclusive and respectful and didn’t play into stereotypes about the LGBTQ+ community. At the same time, these phrases had to reflect the positivity and celebratory nature of the event and its attendees.

The final slogans fell into the following categories:

  • Touching on gender
  • Showing movement
  • Unified voices
  • A nod to the queens
  • Anchor and interchangeable words
  • Past, present, and future

Presenting the slogans

Because there was an ocean between us, I created a walkthrough of the presentation with consolidated research, insights, and the rationale behind each slogan category. Front Runners Atlanta committee members and organizers could view it asynchronously on their own time, reconvene, and provide feedback.

Finally seen

Going through life feeling like you’re on the outside looking in is how many of these runners and walkers felt before they found a community to embrace them.

The selected slogan for the 2023 Pride ATL 5K was “We See You” to show every race participant, ally, and community member they shouldn’t be afraid to live life out loud and to the fullest.

Throughout the event’s brand campaign, it was used to promote the race, with the slogan appearing on shirts, sites, and social media.