Saucony’s historic strength was with elite, high-mileage runners. In order to outpace their 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 enable Saucony to connect with this expanded audience, Mechanica led a large scale research initiative amongst a wide swath of runners. Conversations with marathoners, fun run and 5k participants and members of running clubs, 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 brand platform that allowed us to celebrate people for whom running is an enabler of the amazing things they do with their life. People seeking something, other than running, in order to run their world. But how to connect with an audience that saw running as means to an end, rather than an end in itself?

Rather than focus on the usual array of perfect runners, hard bodies and celebrity athletes, we asked what if a running brand featured non-traditional runners instead? So we created a digital episodic series featuring amazing individuals who may have lacked perfect form but had an engaging story to tell. And who ran because it helped them in other parts of their lives.

To truly connect with our audience, the stories had to be genuine so we looked to our subjects as true collaborators. Working with them on everything from the script to the final product, which not only led to better content but also made them eager to share their videos among the collective millions that followed them online. Our collaborative approach to telling authentic stories paid off, showing an entirely new side of running that truly resonated with those who run, but aren’t runners.

Over the course of our seven year relationship, Saucony consistently enjoyed 30% growth in year-over-year sales and this “seeker” campaign reached over 89 million people.