by Franklyn Calle / @FrankieC7

Looking for a new platform to engage with consumers on a daily basis, Coca Cola’s Powerade decided to go speed dating. That’s the term used by Bachir Zeroual, Coke’s Senior Manager for Global Marketing, referring to their method of search in a company to partner with for its latest initiative. Why speed dating? Powerade, through Prehype—a company that connects big corporations with start-ups to enhance innovation in the business world, flew from Atlanta (GA) to New York City in December of 2011 for an organized event that allowed start-ups to give ten minutes presentations on their respective emerging and pioneering products. When it was all said and done, Powerade knew it was Endomondo with whom it wanted to team up.

Endomondo is a sports tracker and social fitness community that can be used by athletes as a personal trainer or social motivator. The free mobile app, available of phones running on Andriod, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Symbian and Java systems, assists users in a variety of ways, among them working as a real-time GPS tracking device that tracks your time, distance, speed, and calories every time you exercise. An audio update informs you on your overall performance every mile or kilometer, while an auto-pause feature lets the app pause automatically every time you’re not moving, resuming automatically when you do. Via Google Maps, users can view their current position and route. Its history feature allows you to compare workouts to previous performances, including lap times for each run in miles or kilometers. Then there’s a manual entry feature that allows for users to keep a log of all their exercises, such as a treadmill run.

But tracking isn’t all this app does. It’s the social component that makes this product stand apart from the rest of its competitors. You can use your phone book and Facebook to find friends that are already on Endomondo. The application lets users’ friends follow them live and type short messages which are then read aloud, allowing for motivational peptalks from within its community. You can also see previous workouts done by a friend and set it as a target to beat, ultimately using such benchmarks to enhance your performance. There’s another cool feature that allows you to pick a specific route in your neighborhood and then compete against the champion of that route with the assistance of an audio coach.  A news feed feature keeps you updated on recent friends activities, while you can also post and share your workout results on Facebook automatically or on a single exercise basis.

Aside from its tracking and social elements, music integration lets users start their media player from the app and then Endomondo will record the playlist. If you’re wondering what’s your heart rate like during an exercise, the app can also facilitate in providing that information.

Powerade comes into the picture by contributing a hydration feature that educates users on how much each needs to drink after their respective workouts. “It’s physically important to have your muscles perform at the high level you want them to, but mentally it’s just as important because when you’re well hydrated you know your muscles are going to respond to your brain and power through any difficult moment,” says Zeroual. “Hydration is also important to avoid cramps and injuries. We wanted to provide all Endomundo users with the science behind hydration and overall nutrition because it’s vital for any athlete training.”

The app takes into account various factors based on your profile—gender, weight, height, as well as external environmental ones like the weather or the intensity of the sport being performed—when informing you of how much is needed to hydrate and replenish after an exercise. “That’s something new. I don’t think it exists in any sports tracker available on the market,” Zeroual notes.

Endomondo currently has over 12 million users across the globe, with about 25% of them being from the United States—its biggest market. The most common exercise used with the app is running at 42% of all exercises. In second place comes cycling with 23% and walking follows with 17%. Endomondo counts about 250,000 daily workouts by users through its app, which equals to approximately 12 million minutes per day or 218,000 burgers burned per day.

As part of this collaboration, Endomondo is launching the Powerade Challenge, where 10 winners will be selected randomly based on usage of the app. The more minutes you exercise, the higher your chances of winning. The contest isn’t necessarily concerned about performance, but more toward consistency and frequency. Winners will receive full Endomondo sports training gear and a free 12-month subscription to the pro premium app, which has even more advanced sports tracking tools than the free application and costs $4.99.

At the end of the day, if this app and all its features can encourage the non-athletes to exercise just as much as it does to the athletes, then the partnership is clearly a success for Powerade. “Powerade wants to provide the best tools for athletes to perform at their best,” adds Zeroual. “So it’s really about helping people perform their best, to train the right way, and compete daily. It’s about bringing value to consumers on a daily basis. We need to get more people more active. From a brand perspective, the ultimate goal is to get more people active and having fun along the way. The more active you are, the happier you are because you are feeling good about yourself and you’re socializing. The great thing about Endemondo is that although it’s a sports tracker just like any other sports performance tracker out there, it’s beyond that,  it’s a social network. The great aspect about this community is they can challenge each other but also motivate each other.”