As global masters of performance eyewear and with thousands of die-hard brand fanatics, Oakley, Inc. controls a significant portion of their industry. However, rising generations have embraced new tech while Oakley continues to create within a comfortable known ecosystem.
By 2023, the global earbuds and headphones market size is expected to reach USD 18.2 billion (Global Market Insights, Inc.). Adoption of smart devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and portable music players are likely to drive earbud and headphone market growth.
How can Oakley acquire new customers and
firmly establish themselves in an emerging market?
Who buys Oakley?
In an effort to understand the different types of Oakley consumers and prospective customers, I recognized 4 current Oakley consumer archetypes. This allowed me to narrow the scope of who it was that I was designing for without prematurely specifying the end user. Through this exercise, I was also able to identify common trends among Oakley customers and build a stronger emotional understanding of their personalities.
Competition vs. Oakley
Insights as to what industry leading companies are successfully accomplishing will help further direct us in the right direction. These SWOT analyses became a helpful tool in order to identify less desirable directions and more desirable areas of growth. Areas of interest and reoccurring themes are highlighted below.
276 participants were questioned regarding their typical headphone usage.
After conducting the initial research phase, it became evident that a particular group of consumers was already included in Oakley's target market but had yet to be directly identified by the company. This group of consumers was composed of 12-25 year old, male gamers. Unbeknownst to Oakley, this group of consumers was already significantly exposed to the brand. The same group of guys who watch their favorite Oakley sponsored snowboarder win gold at the X-Games, also play video games. The same young boys who wear sport performance sunglasses in little league because that's what they see the pros do, play plenty of video games.
The Global Games Market
In 2016, global games brought in close to 100 billion dollars and gaming companies are seeing growth in every market. As a global company, Oakley would do well to consider future trends and industries that their consumers already associate with. It's also important to note that by going the direction of gaming, Oakley would evade an already heavily saturated headphone market and avoid competing with giants such as Beats and Bose.
source: newzoo | Global Games Market Report
Average growth in gaming is about six billion dollars per year, going up to about 125 billion in 2020. Consistent growth such as this does not happen frequently and there is no sign of the industry slowing down. How could Oakley not be interested such a healthy market.
Initial sketches set out to explore forward thinking concepts while maintaining Oakley aesthetic. Would someone associate the Oakley brand with the concept upon seeing the product? How might the product be designed to resonate with the gaming market?
Oakley Brand Language
When Oakley was first created, the company embraced a simple, straight forward design language. In the 90s, we saw their aesthetic morph into elaborate designs and complex surfacing (see the orange/black truck and tank below). However, their recent products have began to return to their roots with a more simplistic, minimal aesthetic approach.
In unison with sketching, several full scale models were made to explore and refine the final shape. This approach also allowed for a greater understanding of typical head dimensions, proportions, and ergonomics.
True to current Oakley aesthetic, the Oakley A4X Gaming headset embraces simplified surfaces and minimalistic design yet it is packed with detail. State of the art haptic motors housed in the extending arms on top of the headphones immerse the user in their game like never before while touch sensors allow for quick adjustments to your sound when your in the heat of battle. On top of that, the microphone is now integrated into the headset and no longer in front of the users face, making the A4X a pair of headphones that can be used in any situation.
Current advancements in virtual reality allow the user to visually enter another world. However, unless you go to a dedicated space, actually feeling that world is not possible. Oakley A4X gets a gamer that much closer to feeling their physical environment whether they be playing in VR or on a TV. Four cutting edge haptic motors provide another level of immersion that gamers have yet to experience. This allows them to be hyper aware of their surroundings in order to gain the upper hand on their competition or to simply escape deeper into their fantasy.
Turn up the volume with a simple swipe of the finger or skip to the next track with a soft tap. Even though you can't see what you're tapping you'll know where your fingers are thanks to rubberized texture finish and molded grooves in the rubber that help orient your next swipe.