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Timberland fans participate in boot design through mobile discussion

Timberland is using mobile and digital to connect with its audience for a more collaborative process in creating its next line of shoes, which will include a new product fans helped develop.

The footwear manufacturer is hoping to ramp up sales by asking for fans’ input on the next product through a partnership with a mobilized crowdsourcing platform on which users collaborate on developmental designs. Consumers can vote and comment on mobile to help shape the designs of three boot prototypes, of which the most popular design will be picked to go into production.

“Interactive engagement like this encourages personal relationship with the brand that isn’t just self-serving, as it fits into the mindset of today’s younger customer base,” said Todd Werden, vice president at Boston Retail Partners. “Consumers are looking more for experiences than for products, so incorporating the outdoors theme while allowing them to contribute to and influence products they care about is important.

“This makes consumers feel more connected to the brand and helps create brand enthusiasts,” he said.

Brands on beta
Mobile and desktop users can access to input their ideas for the new Timberland product. The dedicated page features three different concept such as Modern Nomad, Urbanization and Neorganic.

Each concept has its own page with various diagrams for boot ideas that fit the theme. The idea behind the Urbanization concept is a sleeker design while maintaining quality in performance in a monochromatic style.

Neorganic fits into a more natural theme with a mixture of nature materials and Modern Nomad embodies an eclectic design with a mashup of graphics, print and material.

Users can discuss what they like about the series designs and ideas in the comment section of each dedicated concept page. There is also a vote button for fans to select their favorite concept.

Discussion will end on March 13 and the final prototypes will start to be made. On May 13, the final prototypes will be available for crowdfunding, during which users will bid on their favorite design on

Based on data and number of bids, the design with the most interest will be made into a Timberland product.

Brand benefits
Fans of Timberland are being given the option to include their input and thoughts on the next boot design, which creates a bevy of benefits to the brand. For one thing, anything to engage the consumer in a meaningful way is helpful to make a lasting impression for the brand and for the future product.

But the campaign also means Timberland is getting direct insight into what its customer wants, which will create a product most likely to drive sales and secure a positive brand sentiment through a design cognizant of what consumers want.

“Timberland’s crowd-sourced design process is focused on building a long-term customer relationships, since the product does not exist yet,” Mr. Werden said. “Even though this does not directly drive immediate sales, is a wise investment in keeping the customer of today engaged and interested in the brand.

“The inspired co-creation process may also indirectly lead to incremental current sales, since Timberland is increasing its brand awareness,” he said. “The customer may well be thinking ‘hey, that was pretty cool, and I do need new hiking apparel so let’s see what Timberland has to offer.’”