Re-establishing an emotional connection with consumers
A national shoe retailer (and the largest shoe manufacturer in the world by volume) found its leadership position being challenged by myriad competitors. Specifically, it found itself in the “muddled middle”— unable to compete with higher-end players on design and fashion or with deep discount retailers on price. Additionally, its master brand was struggling to connect with consumers in meaningful ways. As such, it was seeking to develop a consumer segmentation and comprehensive brand strategy that would enable it to re-establish an emotional connection with consumers, and along with it, category leadership.
A current FullSurge partner in a previous role led a project team that used in-depth qualitative and quantitative research to better understand consumers’ decision-making process, key unmet needs, and perceptions of the retailer’s brand as well as competitive brands. These insights led to the development of a five-segment consumer segmentation schema and the selection of one high-potential segment to target. It also led to the development of a new master brand positioning and recommendations on the optimal product brand portfolio strategy (e.g. ideal mix of departments, and national and store brands).
Upon adopting the team’s strategic recommendations, the retailer immediately implemented the new positioning that helped reestablish the brand as a premier specialty retailer. This included making changes to its previous mix of footwear departments and brands, along with a new visual identity system. In addition, it acknowledged the importance of the in-store experience by making significant strides to improve it. Collectively, these changes helped the company achieve seven consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth. It also achieved industry-leading shopping, purchase, and loyalty rates among female consumers the following year. Equally impressive, the retailer received numerous accolades from notable retail industry and business entities for its efforts to “democratize fashion” in footwear and accessories, including Retailer of the Year from the American Apparel & Footwear Association. It also twice earned a spot on Fast Company’s list of most innovative companies.