Saucony’s historic strength was with elite, high-mileage runners. To outpace competitors and accelerate growth, they needed to bond with a broader audience.

To unearth the consumer insight capable of extending Saucony‘s appeal, 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 reimagine the brand’s breadth of relevancy through a flexible brand platform that would celebrate all types of “runners,” and the different 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, our activation work embraced non-traditional runners of all stripes. People who lacked perfect form, but had an engaging story to tell about the role of running in their lives, became the stars of our content creation.

Grounded In celebrating these authentic stories from unexpected people, Saucony transformed from a niche player into a more meaningful brand with a wide but relevant appeal.

As a result of this work, Saucony went on to enjoy 30% growth in year-over-year sales over a multi-year timeframe.