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Brand Purpose Drives Mizuno

Warc, May 04, 2015

CHICAGO: Mizuno USA, the sporting goods group, has seen considerable benefits from effectively tapping into its brand purpose - something it had previously found difficult to achieve.

Ahmet Abaci, vp/brand marketing and management at Mizuno USA - the American arm of the Osaka, Japan-based company - discussed this subject at IEG's 2015 Sponsorship conference.

"We believe in the transformative power of sports to make the world a better place," he said when describing the brand's core mission. (For more, including results from the "What if everybody ran?" campaign, read Warc's exclusive report: Making Mizuno fit for (brand) purpose.)

"It's a very high, noble goal. But what's a purpose if it's not going to help us dream big?"

While Mizuno's origins stretch back over a century, Abaci reported that the organisation had faced a consistent challenge in bringing this notion to life.

"Mizuno has had this purpose in its hundred-year history, but we never had a good way - consumer-facing way - to activate it," he said. "Last year, we started to do that."

By drilling down into what its brand stood for, Mizuno USA reached an understanding of what it could do in order to change the world through sport.

"We believe our role is we need to inspire pure love of sports. Why is that so important? Because if people don't see the pure love of sports, we believe they're not going to stick with sports for the lifetime."

Elaborating on how Mizuno USA has activated this idea, he outlined the "What if everybody ran?" campaign, which mixed academic research, online videos and a not-for-profit partnership with Back on My Feet.

The scholarly analysis determined the significant benefits that would indeed occur if all Americans ran, and "snackable" 15-second videos brought these statistics to life in engaging ways.

Back on My Feet is a charity helping homeless people towards independent living, using running as the basis of its programmes. And Mizuno donated a dollar to the organisation for each mile ran by users downloading a special app.

"We were able to really move the needle on our purchase funnel metrics and I think that's because of the word of mouth element, the purpose and the meaning that was built into the campaign," he said.