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 trends and tech while Oakley continues to create within a comfortable known ecosystem.
Oakley Alpha aims to captivate gaming millennials who are familiar with Oakley products and their peak performance reputation. In 2019, the global games industry surpassed 152 billion dollars. Oakley would be wise to embrace the potential of this rising market and the loyal Oakley customers that already exist within it.
How can Oakley acquire new customers and firmly establish themselves in an emerging market?
Competition vs. Oakley
Insights as to what industry leading companies were successfully accomplishing helped further reveal the right direction. These SWOT analyses aided in identifying less desirable directions and more desirable areas of growth.
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.
Oakley's existing audience
Initial research examined Oakley consumers such as teen sports enthusiasts, athletic "prosumers", X-Games junkies, trendy college students and professional athletes. It was clear that a particular type of consumer was already included in Oakley's target market but had yet to be directly marketed to. This group of consumers was composed of 20-35 year old, male gamers. The same group of guys who watch their favorite Oakley sponsored snowboarder win gold at the X-Games, also play video games. The same college students who wear sport performance sunglasses because that's what they see the pros do, also play plenty of video games.
The Global Games Market
In 2019, global games brought in 152 billion dollars and gaming companies are seeing growth in every market. With a user base reaching over 2.5 billion gamers across the world, the industry is at the heart of the entertainment business and brands from every corner of the market are seizing the opportunity to connect with the gaming generation.
source: newzoo | Global Games Market Report
Strong Market Forecast
Average growth in gaming shows an average of 14 billion dollars per year and is projected to reach 196 billion in 2022. Consistent growth such as this does not happen frequently and provides a healthy industry for which Oakley could establish a foothold.
source: newzoo | Global Games Market Report
Research into the market's most popular gaming headsets shows that both entry level and pro level product offerings are more saturated than a mid level, mid cost option. As Oakley Alpha would be the first venture for the company into the gaming industry, it would be wise to come in at a point with less competition.
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.
Initial sketches set out to explore forward thinking concepts while maintaining Oakley aesthetic. I decided to tone it down significantly after considering what an initial market entry model might look like and what aesthetics consumers would be comfortable with. In the end, the final design communicated honest forms and straightforward design.
The Oakley Alpha gaming headset embraces simplified surfaces and minimalist design yet it's packed with detail. An integrated microphone is hidden within the headset and no longer in front of the user's face, making the headphones ideal for any situation. The side panel is touch enabled allowing players to increase the volume of their microphone via swiping or simply press the bottom portion of the panel to mute. 50 mm drivers allow for optimal sound quality and multi-color LEDs on each side let gamers express themselves however they wish.