ORLANDO, FL: Deckers Brands, the owner of the UGG brand of boots, has seen significant benefits from giving its product designers a truly immersive view of consumers.

Tim Twichell, Deckers’ Director/Global Insights, discussed this subject during a session at The Market Research Event (TMRE), a conference held by KNect365.

More specifically, he highlighted the power and potential of taking of UGG’s designers away from their desks and dropping them into the reality of a live-selling environment.

Encouraged by Vital Findings, the market-research firm, Deckers sent a group of designers to Chicago, in mid-winter, for a product “immersion” exercise in a very different location than their base in California.

“It was very eye-opening for them,” said Twichell. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: UGG finds insights to take brand beyond past success.)

“You can only imagine that your view of Santa Barbara is very different for a product that's for cold-weather purposes in a place like Chicago.”

While UGG has long been a billion-dollar brand, the ability to gain a tangible picture of consumers gave its creative experts a new perspective – and a similar philosophy informs how Twichell’s group presents its segmentation studies.

“We really wanted to bring [the product] to life because we have a design team that is very visual. They don't want to sit through a PowerPoint presentation. They want to experience it,” he said.

The solution: “Divide the UGG team up. Reach into [customers’] purses. Walk into their living rooms ... Really bring [the brand] to life.”

Not only does this kind of approach offer a fresh round of insights for designers – and, indeed, marketers – to work from, but it also encourages them to pay attention to segmentation research on an on-going basis.

In keeping this enthusiasm alive, Twichell reported, it has been vital to ensure a fresh stream of information comes through the research department.

“We had to keep the data fresh, keep it exciting, keep the segment names top of mind so [the UGG marketing team] kept using it,” he said.

Sourced from WARC