Helping a new product out of the starting blocks

As they moved into the nascent technology-based segment of the personal fitness market, Nathan Sports engaged Thinkso to help launch a new running companion app that would compete with the likes of Nike+ and Adidas MiCoach. We named it “Pursuit” and gave it a no-nonsense look and feel that was edgy enough to be taken seriously by the hard-core athlete but friendly enough to appeal to the casual runner.

The world’s number-one producer of running accessories, Nathan Sports had long excelled at supporting athletes with hydration packs, safety gear, running belts, and more. As smartphone technology increasingly improved, however, Nathan saw a strategic opportunity to develop a digital accessory: an app that would serve as both fitness tracker and community-building platform.

At the time, fitness trackers all required external devices that had to be removed and connected to a computer before uploading or triaging their data. Nathan realized they could eliminate redundant hardware by using the sensors built into a smartphone, which would also allow for real-time uploading of fitness data while providing an element of security — you can’t make calls on a regular fitness band. This was a big step forward, one that would help this mid-sized company grab some of the market controlled by giants like Nike and Adidas.

“This product was outside of our typical offering, so there was a lot of pressure to get it right. The name, look-and-feel and editorial tone really carved out a unique position in a highly competitive market segment.” Lisete Andre Cleary, Marketing Strategist, Nathan Sports

We named the app “Pursuit,” and it was packaged together with a Nathan-built heart monitor and ultra-comfortable armband. Every athlete can identify with the pursuit of a higher goal, and every runner, whether a beginner or an advanced marathoner, is in pursuit of their personal best. We also developed the principal call-to-action — “Run. Connect. Compete.” — which highlighted the app’s ability to share information seamlessly with friends or runners around the world and referenced the real-time uploading that was the product’s differentiating feature. (The simplicity of the marketing and the related packaging also echoed how simple the app was to use.) To bolster this sense of competition and promote the product, we designed branded “brag boards” that could display stats and rankings, pulled in real-time from people using the app.

A successful launch also required that Thinkso coordinate marketing communications across many touch points. The custom packaging we developed featured the bold marketing tagline, serving as mini-billboards in retail environments, along with user-generated, Instagram-style photography to bring a unique and personal touch. In addition, we wrote all editorial copy and designed consumer-facing point of sale displays and in-store environmental graphics to cement the message in consumers’ minds.

In-store point-of-sale displays provided capacity for 12 units and a video demo of the product on HD screens.

The features of the app were presented as part of road motif, highlighting the user’s journey, while collages of user-generated photography echoed the personal and social nature of the product. These elements were used across all launch applications.

Thinkso developed a Pursuit-branded “brag board” interface to tie the product to its main selling point—the real-time sharing of results and ability to compete with one or many people at the same time.