INTRAPRENUERs - Learn to market your org like Rapha!

Intrapreneurs are individuals that use entrepreneurial thinking to create change or launch new ventures within existing organizations.They are the most valuable asset to any company.

If you are an  intrapreneur, welcome! This article is for you.

I am going to focus on intraprenuers who lead service departments. Companies these days are driven to move fast. Service leaders, with oversubscribed teams, have little time to think long term. By this time they start to, the brand value of his department has diminished and competition (consulting or automation) has taken over.

They struggle to create an enduring brand  for their department that resonates with the company. Let’s take an inspirational case study in marketing and see how it can be implemented within an organization.

I love cycling and and hence…….. Rapha!!


"The joy is in the suffering. Only a cyclist would understand what that joy is." Image Credits: Pixabay

Rapha was started by two guys who saw the emergence of cycling and wanted to be the force that changed a niche sport into a platform for a global lifestyle brand. Fast forward a few years to now, Rapha is a global luxury cycling apparel brand that sponsors and designs clothing for  leading teams like Sky and Canyon racing. So why were they successful?

Lesson 1: From the beginning, Rapha was clear about their values

  • Quality

  • Performance

  • Design

  • History

Rapha's brand is built on the mantra of "glory through suffering" - which only cyclists relate to. They have a very focused audience and build stories around that audience. Their website is unconventionally a ".cc" (cycling club) and not a conventional  ".com". Their actually physical stores are called Rapha cycling clubs and feature bike rentals and coffee shops which all are part of a single membership fee.

Lesson 2: Rapha knows its audience well.

Rapha’s marketing (through Rapha Films) reflects true stories about common people riding a bike. Rapha clothing - in the film is starkly not in focus at all. The inspiring message is delivered with stunning creativity.

Lesson 3: Rapha focuses on delivering an inspiring message - not showcase the product.

My favorite Rapha Campaign is the thrivor campaign.

Justin McLean, a cyclist was diagnosed with cancer at an age of 40,  in the prime of his corporate global strategy career. He had "no plan B". He had to win the fight against cancer. He hatched a plan with his friends to travel to Corsica and ride the trails there - once he was able to beat cancer.

Rapha saw Justin's post go viral online and stood behind him by telling his story in true Rapha marketing style - Rapha Films. Rapha supported Justin's non profit, Thrivor, by designing a special edition cycling cap. The film brings the main theme of cycling to the audience, inspiring them in a true unobtrusive style.  See the film below!

Lesson 4: Find inspirational stories in your organization related to your service. Make it known.

Video Credits: Rapha Films


  • Decide your department’s key values.

  • Choose specific audiences to please.

  • Understand the  audience well and use design thinking to create products/services

  • Conduct "road shows", showcase inspirational stories of people who leveraged your department to do great things.

In short , treat your department as a startup. Build an enduring vision and market like Rapha - authentic, focused and inspirational.