Saucony’s historic strength was with elite, high-mileage runners. In order to outpace competitors, they needed to accelerate growth by opening up the brand to a broader range of people who might not have considered Saucony in the past.

To unearth the consumer insight that would allow Saucony to connect with this expanded audience, Mechanica led a large-scale research initiative across a wide range of runners. Conversations spanning marathoners to fun run and 5k participants, members of running clubs to those just starting out, revealed that while people run for many reasons, they don’t always identify with being “a runner.” The most common sentiment we heard? “I run but I’m not a runner.”

The opportunity was to develop a flexible brand platform to celebrate all types of “runners,” and the reasons that propel them. People who saw running as means to an end, rather than an end in itself.

Instead of focusing on the usual array of perfect runners, hard bodies and famous athletes, we embraced non-traditional runners of all stripes. People who lacked prefect form, but had an engaging story to tell about the role of running in their lives, became our stars.

To truly connect, the stories we told had to be genuine. So we worked with our subjects as true collaborators, not merely “endorsers.” This helped create more authentic, engaging content that was eagerly shared by millions online.

Grounded in celebrating these authentic stories from unexpected people, Saucony became a meaningful brand with a vast audience for whom running was important, but didn’t necessarily identify as “runners.”

Over the course of our seven-year relationship, Saucony consistently enjoyed 30% growth in year-over-year sales, with one campaign alone reaching over 89 million people despite a very limited budgeted.