Two years ago, in the midst of an exhaustive federal criminal investigation into Lance Armstrong’s alleged doping and a cover-up, Fast Company explored the question, “Can Livestrong Survive Lance?” Today, that question is perhaps more poignant than ever.
If you haven't worn one yourself, it's highly likely you've at least seen a yellow Livestrong wristband. The ubiquitous bracelets are as much a fashion statement as they are a call for solidarity. But seven years ago, the Lance Armstrong Foundation thought the fund-raising wristband, a collaborative effort by Nike and Wieden+Kennedy, would be an absolute dud.
Doug Ulman knew this day was coming, the day that Lance Armstrong retired from cycling. In fact, Ulman, the CEO of Livestrong, had experienced it once before in 2005. What's different about Armstrong's retirement this time, though, is that he's now the subject of a federal investigation.
This identify shift in recent years led to the ubiquitous yellow wrist bands, nearly tripled revenue, accelerated an evolution into a global cancer force, and moved the outfit beyond its famous founder. In the midst of an ongoing federal inquiry into Lance Armstrong, that strategy is now critical.