Mizuno Sets Out to Transform the World

Can you name one thing that alone could potentially boost U.S. GDP by $25 billion, eliminate the smoking of more than 48 million cigarettes daily, decrease homelessness by 46 percent, increase earning potential by 10 percent and eliminate $143 billion in health care costs in the United States?

Stumped? According to Mizuno, the answer is running. That's the conclusion the 109-year-old company came to after it posed the question: "Can running really transform the world?" and then set out to find out, partnering with the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flager Business School to conduct a statistical analysis to determine how running can change the world in positive ways.

Drawing on the thought-provoking statistics that resulted from its research, Mizuno then debuted its "What If Everybody Ran" campaign online in March 2014 to inspire consumers by demonstrating the potential power of running to transform lives, and society as a whole.

Via social media, using the hashtag #IfEverybodyRan, Mizuno promoted the analysis results, including such gems as "7 billion more hours spent outside," "63 million happier dogs," "14 billion fewer hours spent online," and "135 million more victory beers."

Findings from the analysis were promoted primarily online but the campaign also included an in-store component at independent running retailers across the United States. Using Promoboxx, a brand-to-retail digital marketing platform, Mizuno distributed digital content promoting #IfEverybodyRan to more than 300 of its retail customers across the country.

The platform enabled the specialty running shops to spread the #IfEverybodyRan message in their local communities through Facebook, Twitter, email and on their respective websites. Additionally, via the Mizuno Baton mobile app, consumers were able to transform the power of running into community action by promising to donate $1 for every mile run with the app to Back on My Feet, a nonprofit organization that helps those experiencing homelessness turn their lives around through running. (That 46 percent figure above? Not hypothetical. Since its founding in 2007, 46 percent of residential members (the homeless) have moved themselves forward with a job, a house, or both.) Via the app, the company raised more than $90,000 for the organization.

During the initial launch month (March 2014), "Mizuno experienced 110 percent growth in U.S. unique visitors to its website compared to March 2013 traffic, its Facebook followers increased by more than 25 percent in the first two weeks following the launch of the campaign and Twitter engagement increased by 121 percent in March 2014 vs. February 2014," says Kim Hoey, Mizuno USA's running division brand marketing director.

If everybody ran, there could be 20 million more great grandmothers, 60 million more pounds of pasta eaten, 37 percent more smiles and 27 million more sunrises viewed per week. "It all starts with one more run," says Hoey.

Last month, the company launched its 2015 campaign, "Every Mile Changes You," which evolves the "What if Everybody Ran" campaign in its goal to inspire more running across the nation. The campaign will continue to support Back on My Feet, and also will provide running apparel and shoes to a group of military veterans called "The Shepherd's Men." This team will be running 911 miles in eight days to raise funds and awareness for SHARE Military Initiative, which provides free individualized treatment and counseling to veterans struggling with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder suffered during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. 

Editor's Note: Check out what the rest of our 2015 Top Innovators are up to.
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