Problem:  Wetsox needs to grow their brand in a crowded market.

Process: Consumer Research, Competitive Analysis, Influencer Identification and New Product Introduction.   

People who wear socks when they surf sounds like a pretty small market right?  To my surprise I found it is a common practice.  These socks solve many different problems from making it easier to put on a wetsuit, stopping hypothermia and combating boot rash.  With all of that in mind I was tasked with completing consumer research, a competitive analysis, influencer list and a new product recommendation.         

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Consumer Research:  With $646 billion in outdoor recreation spending each year it is important to understand who is buying these products.  A large number of consumers are looking for ways to blow off steam on the weekends and get out of the city.  Surfing, scuba and hunting provide the perfect outlet for these consumers.  Wetsox fits into the huge category of supplementary accessories needed to do these activities.  These supplementary accessories are not the most important aspect of the activity.  They do however, let the consumer show their expertise and for the expert consumer they are a the mark of a professional.  I spent more time than I would like to admit combing over Amazon reviews to understand what these consumers were looking for.  I found it was a mix of things.  They were durability, protection from the cold, breathability and fit.  These different factors drove purchase from the consumer. 

Competitive Analysis: Diving into the world of aquatic socks (pun clearly intended) I was surprised to find there were many different options for consumers to choose from.  What I discovered after examining all of these brands was that they fell into three major categories.  Lifestyle based brands with a narrow product focus, Product based brands with a broad product focus and lifestyle based brands with a wide product focus.  Knowing this allows Wetsox to compete with other lifestyle brands and opens them up to new products.         

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Influencer Identification:  Nothing is better than getting paid to look through Instagram.  All jokes aside, I spent a good portion of my summer finding influencers in the field of surf, dive, fishing and hunting.  For me it was a great chance to immerse myself in a culture I was unfamiliar with.  I provided over 100 influencers on Instagram and 50 influencers on YouTube.  This information was valuable as I found the majority of products purchased in this category are driven through expert sugestions.      

New Product Introduction:  With all of this new information, it was time to look at a product launch.  Wetsox needed to diversify its products and expand their business.  The perfect way to do this was through entering the hunting and fishing category.  This is a group that spends time in water, with some wear waders to go fly-fishing and others use the socks in soggy terrain to bow hunt.  They need all the benefits the socks are providing surfers, but they needed them packaged differently and tailored to their specific tastes.  The wader sox is different from its surfing cousin in a couple of small ways, but the most noticeable is the camouflage pattern that replaces the black of the other socks.  This new sock speaks directly to a different audience and allows for Wetsox to expand its business.           

Summer 2017 Internship Berlin Camron