New Balance Sports Research Lab Site Improves Digital Footprint
By Bryan House, VP of Product Marketing, Acquia
The explosion of digital in the fitness community has made tracking daily activity and performance easier than ever. Mobile apps, content-rich web sites and user-friendly products enable the consumer to stay connected with their goals while personalizing the experience at the same time.
The same can be said about what consumers choose to wear and lace up. How can you perform at your best if your footwear in particular isn’t delivering the comfort, feel and look you want?
The New Balance web site, Sports Research Lab, takes this idea and runs with it.
Combining A Digital And Interactive Experience
The web site serves as a test program, which engages consumers with New Balance designers, manufacturers and product managers to provide feedback on prototype footwear.
When a consumer comes to the Sports Research Lab site and applies to be part of the test group, a prototype is sent to them for initial impressions: how the shoe feels, looks and performs. Those results are then received by the design, manufacturing and production team, which they then use to make alterations to fit those needs. This process consists of several stages between both groups to enhance future prototypes until it is ready for production.
Being able to make revisions of shoes, create custom tests and be able to interact with users for feedback is what drives the Sports Research Lab site.
New Balance wanted to implement a solution that not only made this process quicker, but much more interactive in the digital sphere. Aesthetically, the site wasn’t as innovative as the brand and the user experience was “clunky.” A move to open source content management opened up the opportunities to deliver a more interactive, personalized Sports Research Lab web site.
“Open source has helped take a consumer-friendly experience to the next level,” said Michael Miles, Lead Developer on the project and associate director of PHP at Genuine Interactive. “Implementing better functionality, as well as improved speed and user-interactive tools, will make the exchange between consumers and everyone involved on the New Balance side extremely beneficial to help deliver a great end product through the Sports Research Lab site.”
Now, New Balance has the ability to reach a larger target audience and be more interactive to make their next shoe product launch successful. Ensuring the site is responsive to the user, making the experience more coordinated and functional, are ways that Genuine Interactive, Drupal and open source are helping New Balance innovate to keep pace with digital.
Plans To Make Users The Hub Of New Balance
With its sights set on creating deeper connections with happy customers, New Balance brand is committed to delivering great digital experiences for its loyal audience. The digital lab will open the door to more innovative ways of being able to interact with site visitors. Sports marketing brands need to be more mindful of their digital presence and how they keep up with a wide range of users that are revolutionizing technology.
"Choosing Drupal as the open source platform for the Sports Research site was a smart decision for New Balance, since it provided the best scalability and resource for future feature implementation," said Jonathan Restaino, account director at Genuine Interactive. “New technology is concepted, created and delivered on a daily basis. For a brand as influential and forward thinking as New Balance, it emphasizes the positive direction of the digital market.”
Bryan House is the VP of Marketing for Acquia. He joined the company in 2008 to run product marketing. He came to Acquia from EMC, where he managed product and outbound marketing for Documentumâ™ knowledge worker business. Prior to EMC, House worked in product marketing and product management in the social business and collaboration technology space, after brewing beer professionally for seven years.