Strategic Research & Creative Brief for Loom Footwear

by Emma Frieze | April 7, 2023

About the Project

I developed this creative brief for Loom Footwear. The brief describes the product (Loom Waterproof Sneakers), the brand’s image, why the brand is communicating, what I have learned about the consumer and what the company wants consumers to think and do. It also suggests the single most persuasive idea that can be conveyed to the consumer, how the message connects with the target audience and how the message could be communicated.

This was drafted based on a strategic research document (See below the creative brief) that was created in a group with Will Graff and Madyson Hardesty. I used professional writing and AP Style to write this creative brief.

Thank you for reading.

This project was created for JMC 305: Writing for Media, Honors at the University of Kansas in spring 2023.

Creative Brief Assignment

A web page designed for this project can be found here. A written text version can be found below.

Creative Brief: Loom Footwear

Research Applied to Create Strategic Messaging by Emma Frieze

The Product

Loom Footwear offers Loom Waterproof Sneakers for men and women. These athletic shoes, available in black or white, are designed to be durable, waterproof, breathable and environmentally friendly.

Brand & Product Image

On Loom Footwear’s home page, the brand promotes its product with the copy, “The Most Comfortable, Waterproof Sneakers. Loom – One shoe for all weathers.” Loom Footwear presents itself as a sustainable brand with shoes that are ideal for active, athletic adults who want to be comfortable and prepared for any experience in any weather.

Loom Footwear succeeds in effectively presenting its shoes as waterproof. This is because the brand consistently emphasizes that its shoes are more advanced than competitors’ shoes that may use a simple spray or coating for water resistance. Loom Waterproof Sneakers are waterproof because of multi-layered fibers and the H2-Go layer that is “100% waterproof and breathable,” according to Loom Footwear.

Although Loom Footwear tries to have the image of a sustainable brand by emphasizing that its shoes are designed with “100% cruelty-free material,” according to its website, competitors have more effectively positioned themselves as sustainable brands. For example, the direct competitor Allbirds has a goal to reduce its carbon footprint to almost zero by 2030. Allbirds also offers a shopping experience called Allbirds ReRun through which shoppers can purchase slightly used shoes in order to avoid excess material waste. While Loom Footwear mentions sustainability across its website a few times, the direct competitor Cariuma has an entire web page dedicated to tracing Cariuma’s environmental footprint in detail and also says that buying a pair of Cariuma shoes leads to two trees being planted on its product landing pages.

Thus, Loom Footwear’s claim of being a sustainable company is somewhat weak compared to its competitors’ claims. The brand should either strengthen its positioning in this area or emphasize other features of Loom Waterproof Sneakers, such as the shoes’ durability.

Why We Are Communicating

Loom Footwear’s goal should be to educate consumers about how Loom Waterproof Sneakers are unique from other shoes because of Loom Footwear’s differentiating footwear technology (including the H20-Go Layer, which makes the shoes waterproof, and the Excelcast Sole, which makes the shoes durable).

What We Have Learned About the Consumer

In terms of demographics, the target consumer is between the ages of 18 and 35. Both men and women are welcomed into the Loom Footwear community. Having gender-specific shoes may create a barrier for nonbinary people, who may feel that the brand has not considered them; however, they may also benefit from Loom Footwear’s shoes. The brand is fairly expensive, so it targets individuals who either have a higher disposable income or who are willing to pay more for athletic shoes due to their dedication to sustainability or their passion for high-quality shoes.

Loom Footwear has designed its shoes in particular for consumers who engage in behaviors that cause them to be on their feet often. This group includes athletes who enjoy running and working out as well as adventurers who enjoy hiking and other outdoor activities. Additionally, Loom Footwear targets employees whose work requires them to stand on their feet for long hours. In terms of psychographics, the ideal audience for Loom Footwear is environmentally conscious as loyal customers likely feel strongly about helping the planet or want to impress their peers by purchasing shoes from a sustainable brand.

What We Want the Consumer to Think and Do (Based on Loom Footwear’s Competitive Advantages)

Loom Footwear should strive to have the customer think of the brand’s shoes as durable, sustainable, waterproof and affordable. This will drive the customer to buy Loom Waterproof Sneakers and tell others about Loom Footwear.

Loom Waterproof Sneakers are promoted as “impact-resistant” and durable, which differentiates these sneakers from the shoes sold by Loom Footwear’s competitors. Loom Footwear is not the only brand with sustainable, waterproof or comfortable shoes, but it is the only brand out of its direct competitive set that offers shoes with an Excelcast Sole designed by podiatrists for shock absorption and protecting customers from rough terrain, according to the Loom Waterproof Shoes product page. Thus, Loom Footwear needs to demonstrate to customers that it is the top brand for durable shoes.

Loom Footwear also needs to work harder to sell the idea of sustainability to its customers. When customers buy Loom Footwear shoes, they can experience the emotional benefit of feeling that they have helped the environment. However, this emotional benefit will not be fully experienced by consumers if sustainability is not emphasized at every touchpoint the customer has with the brand. Currently, Loom Footwear’s eco-friendly claims are buried at the bottom of product pages and only vaguely discussed in the company’s About Us page.

If Loom Footwear wants the customer to think of the brand as sustainable, it must use more colors, images and copy that create an association with sustainability. However, to avoid greenwashing, the company may also want to consider improving its manufacturing processes, so it can make stronger environmental claims.

Finally, Loom Footwear should help the customer to see how Loom Waterproof Shoes have highly competitive water resistance compared to other brands’ shoes. Cariuma’s shoes are not promoted as waterproof. Meanwhile, Allbirds sells water-repellant shoes with a coating that is less advanced than Loom Footwear’s H2-Go Layer. Loom Footwear’s toughest competitor in terms of water resistance is Vessi, who claims its Dyma-tex technology that involves “nano-sized pores” in its shoes is also 100% waterproof.

Currently, Loom Waterproof Sneakers are 60% off and are available for $99 instead of $249.99. At $99, the price of Loom Footwear’s shoes is more affordable than the price of competitors’ shoes, which Loom Footwear should help customers to notice. Vessi, for example, is currently selling comparable shoes for $135, and this price difference may be significant for customers.

In summary, to stand out against its competitors, Loom Footwear must emphasize that its Loom Waterproof Sneakers are more more durable than shoes from Allbirds, more waterproof than shoes from Cariuma and currently more affordable than shoes from Vessi. Loom Footwear must also strengthen its sustainability claims to match those of its competitors.

Single Most Persuasive Idea We Can Convey to the Consumer (Unique Value Proposition)

Loom Footwear’s Loom Waterproof Shoes have the perfect combination of what you need in a shoe for your challenging workout, outdoor adventure or long work shift as they are durable, waterproof, affordable and eco-friendly.

How the Message Connects with Loom Footwear’s Target Audience

Loom Footwear’s unique value proposition resonates with the target audience because it addresses why the audience needs or wants new shoes. For example, consumers who want to dedicate themselves to athletic activity are looking for shoes that will be durable enough to support them through their challenging workouts. Meanwhile, consumers who are interested in outdoor experiences are looking for shoes that are waterproof. Also, consumers who need shoes for long work shifts may be interested in shoes that are affordable. Finally, consumers who care about sustainability will think of Loom Footwear as an environmentally friendly and appealing brand with this unique value proposition.

How We Will Communicate Our Message (Deliverables and Tactics)

One way to engage this audience is to promote Loom Footwear on social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Facebook.

Instagram is a useful platform for promoting products visually to the young adult audience. However, Loom Footwear’s Instagram account currently has very low engagement because its images are recycled from other media sources without a clear intention to adapt the images to the platform beyond resizing. Additionally, Loom Footwear’s Instagram captions are very focused on selling the product and do not emphasize building a genuine connection or community with the target audience. Also, Loom Footwear has not utilized hashtags or hyperlinks in its captions or tagged influencers on its profile page.

To engage the target audience more, Loom Footwear should feature pictures on its Instagram that show the audience wearing the shoes to engage in various activities instead of primarily focusing on close-up product shots. Loom Footwear should also host social media giveaway contests that encourage shares, ask questions in its captions that prompt comments and provide branded content that is relevant to the audience such as tips for hiking in Loom Waterproof Sneakers. Finally, all Instagram posts should emphasize at least one element of the product’s unique value proposition; otherwise, the brand’s advantages will be lost on the customer.

Although Twitter has recently become a more volatile and controversial platform, it still has potential to be used by brands to stimulate audience engagement. Currently, Loom Footwear has a Twitter account but has never posted a Tweet. Therefore, Loom Footwear should begin to use its Twitter profile to perform customer service tasks such as responding to customers’ complaints, host giveaway contests to encourage purchases, engage followers with interactive polls and promote Loom Footwear’s blog posts. Additionally, Loom Footwear should utilize Twitter to promote seasonal deals and remind potential customers of the advantages of Loom Waterproof Sneakers.

YouTube is a beneficial way to show product use in action through entertaining videos. Loom Footwear does have a YouTube channel, but it has not actively posted videos in three years. The videos that it had previously posted were very similar to commercials and did not earn many likes despite having tens of thousands of views. Likely, this is because the videos tried to push a sale on potential customers without providing value for the audience in return.

Therefore, Loom Footwear should implement a YouTube strategy similar to Red Bull’s and create engaging videos that feature real people going on adventures that align with the brand’s positioning. For example, Red Bull posts videos of people doing incredible feats, such as a video of professional climbers progressing up a cliff, to promote the idea that “Red Bull gives you wings.” Similarly, Loom Footwear could have a new video series that includes stories such as the adventure of a couple who goes on impressive hikes across the country while wearing Loom Waterproof Sneakers. If Loom Footwear faces significant budget constraints, the company could focus on local adventures happening in California.

Employing TikTok is also a smart idea for the Gen Z group of the target audience (adults from age 18 to age 26). This video-focused platform can allow Loom Footwear to show short video clips of the product in action, engage influencers in talking to the audience about the product and encourage customers to post their own video reviews of the shoes. Loom Footwear currently has a TikTok account and has utilized influencers to tell authentic stories, but hosting contests or starting video challenges could increase levels of audience engagement for Loom Footwear on TikTok.

Meanwhile, Facebook is still a viable platform for the Millennial side of Loom Footwear’s audience (adults from around age 27 to age 35 and beyond). According to Statista, people between the ages of 25 and 34 were the largest Facebook audience as of December 2022. Currently, Loom Footwear’s Facebook page is very impersonal and shares the same content as the corresponding Instagram page. Instead, Facebook posts should share positive customer reviews and experiences, inform customers about seasonal deals, share links to Loom Footwear’s blog posts and encourage satisfied customers to tell their friends about Loom Footwear.

The company already uses influencers to promote its social media channels, but Loom Footwear could continue to think about how to ensure that the influencers it chooses appear authentic to the audience. This will lead to a more effective influencer strategy, according to Nielsen.

Additionally, Loom Footwear should show up at in-person locations where its target audience might be. For example, Loom Footwear may want to hang flyers around gyms in California or show up to regional marathon races to engage the athletic audience. Also, Loom Footwear should sponsor a hiking challenge or attend events that attract outdoor enthusiasts. Finally, Loom Footwear could set up pop-ups near locations where employees may be on their feet all day; for example, it could set up a table in a large metropolitan shopping mall and seek to attract the interest of retail employees as they walk by.

Putting advertisements on streaming services could also be an effective way for Loom Footwear to target this young adult audience as streaming is now the “dominant TV option,” according to Nielsen. Commercials should feature actors within the target age range (18 to 35) wearing Loom Waterproof Sneakers for athletic, outdoor and work activities.

Finally, Loom Footwear should consider updating its blog posts, so they provide more value for customers. Currently, the News page of Loom Footwear’s website shows that its blog strategy has been providing lists of the “best” shoes for various purposes (These lists always include Loom Footwear’s competitors’ shoes and always have Loom Waterproof Sneakers at the top of the list). What Loom Footwear may be failing to consider is that it does not gain customers’ trust if its product shows up at the top of a list that the company made itself because the brand is biased toward its own shoes, and Loom Footwear is giving its competitors free promotional activity by mentioning other shoe brands. Instead, Loom Footwear should have blog posts with content that provides genuine value to its customers.

For instance, to appeal to its athletic customers, Loom Footwear may want to have a co-branded post in which it promotes sustainable clothing items that match Loom Waterproof Sneakers. To appeal to its outdoor audience, Loom Footwear could discuss the five most popular hikes in California and how Loom Waterproof Sneakers can be worn on each hike. To appeal to the audience of people who are looking for comfortable shoes to survive a difficult work day, Loom Footwear could suggest top tips for getting through a tiring shift as comfortably as possible and include wearing Loom Waterproof Sneakers as a tip. Finally, to appeal to consumers that prioritize sustainability, Loom Footwear should create blog posts that give consumers updates about the brand’s eco-friendly initiatives.

Images in this creative brief were all sourced from Loom Footwear or from the sources listed below by Adobe CC Express.

Strategic Research Document: Loom Footwear

By Emma Frieze, Madyson Hardesty and Will Graff

Product: Loom Footwear athletic shoes (Loom Footwear Waterproof Sneakers)

Loom Footwear is a company based out of Los Angeles that produces a lightweight, comfortable and waterproof athletic shoe that is, according to Loom Footwear’s website, “One shoe for all weathers.”

The shoes feature an Excelcast sole that maximizes impact resistance and energy return. Above the Excelcast sole is a merino wool insert to prove a comfortable layer. Loom Footwear shoes also have a Loomwear merino wool upper interior that is a temperature-regulating, anti- bacterial, moisture-wicking and breathable layer of fabric. The final layer on the shoe is what is known as the Loom Footwear H2-Go layer that provides another level of waterproofing to the shoe. Sizes are based on the EU size chart even though the company is based in Los Angeles.

A product feature the company emphasizes in its marketing is the shoe’s waterproofing capabilities. The majority of Loom Footwear’s competitors make their shoes waterproof by spraying on a chemical solution. However, Loom Footwear not only uses materials that provide better waterproofing, but also weaves waterproofing technology into the shoe’s layers of fabric. The shoes are primarily made out of merino wool, a very eco-friendly and sustainable material. Loom Footwear refers to merino wool as the “highest-performing fabric of the 21st century” on its home page. The objective fact that led the company to produce this claim is that merino wool is water repellent because sheep’s wool produces lanolin, a natural oil that is good at shedding water, according to Western Rise. Moreover, the product uses four layers of thermoprotective fabric with a knit outer layer that is more proficient at repelling water.

Even with all these the layers of fabric, the shoes are still very light, according to an external review from Gadget Explained. The only color options for the shoe are black and white, and the shoes have minimal branding on them. Regarding pricing, the shoes ordinarily have the retail price of $249.99 but are currently on sale for $99, according to the Loom Waterproof Sneakers product page.

Parent Company: Does Not Exist for Loom Footwear

Loom Footwear does not have a parent company. Instead, it is an independent organization. This is evident because the Loom Footwear website has no mention of a parent company on its About Us page. The company’s website does include a link to a company review from Honest Brand Reviews, which states that the company was founded by Mark McCormick and Erica Cohen. However, this seems to be erroneous information as McCormick’s LinkedIn profile identifies that McCormick is the founder of Loom Life, LLC, which is the parent company of Loom Way of Life, a separate footwear company based in Louisiana. Cohen, meanwhile, is the founder of LOOM, a women’s reproductive health organization, according to LOOM’s FAQ page. When an email inquiring after this issue was sent to Loom Support—Loom Footwear’s customer service team—the company’s reply was, “Our company is not in any way connected with Loom Way of Life. We are an independent US-based company that has fulfillment centers in the US and China.”

The Loom Footwear website contains very little specific information about the company itself, but the About Us page implies that the company is global by stating that there are multiple offices and that the “Loom family” includes people from around the world. This page also implies that the company utilizes in-house footwear designs as it claims to employ designers, engineers, and scientists. Additionally, this page describes how Loom Footwear began when its (unnamed) founders realized that they had too many shoes in their closets and that shoe manufacturing can be harmful to the environment. As a result of this revelation, Loom Waterproof Sneakers were created to be used in place of several types of shoes and were designed to have less of a negative environmental impact. It is evident that Loom Footwear is a startup as the company only sells the Loom Waterproof Sneakers in men’s and women’s versions. Loom Footwear is a private company, so it is difficult to find verifiable financial information about the company available to the public online.

Industry: Footwear Manufacturing Industry

Loom Footwear is in the footwear manufacturing industry (NAICS industry code 316210), which includes athletic shoes manufacturing, men’s shoes manufacturing and women’s shoes manufacturing, according to NAICS. Some top competitors in footwear manufacturing include Nike Inc., Skechers USA Inc., Crocs Inc., Reebok International Ltd., Steven Madden Ltd., Rocky Brands Inc., K-Swiss Inc., Kcp Holdco Inc. and Kenneth Cole Productions Inc.

However, Loom Footwear has a niche in sustainable outdoor athletic shoes. Thus, more direct competitors include Vessi, Allbirds and Cariuma. Loom Footwear’s waterproof shoes are currently less expensive than shoes from Vessi, but Vessi has a greater variety of shoes to choose from. Allbirds has more expensive shoes, but it has significantly more variety and also offers clothing in addition to shoes. Cariuma has comparable prices; although it has more colors and variations of shoes, Cariuma’s shoes are not as versatile or waterproof and are particularly targeted toward the skateboarding audience.

Gale Business Insights says that revenue in this industry totals to at least $287.66 billion. Two recent developments in this industry are the increase in product prices due to inflation and the increase of U.S. factory jobs, according to a January 2023 update to the 2021 IBISWorld report “Shoe and Footwear Manufacturing in the US” by Caleb Clark. Loom Footwear is unique in this industry because it offers two variations of the same product whereas it is common for the leaders in footwear manufacturing to continuously develop new product lines and adjust their assortment each season, according to a 2021 U.S. Industry Report for Footwear Manufacturing from the Encyclopedia of American Industries that was published by Gale Business Insights. A disadvantage of Loom Footwear in the competitive environment is its lack of product diversification and its limited brand equity compared to larger brands such as Nike. However, an advantage of Loom Footwear is its specialization in environmentally friendly athletic shoes.

Loom Footwear could potentially be classified under shoe stores (NAICS industry code 448210) or electronic shopping and mail-order houses (NAICS industry 454110), but due to limited information about these industry classifications, footwear manufacturing is more appropriate.

Target Audience: Age 18 to 35, Active and Environmentally Conscious

Loom Footwear promotes stylish, comfortable lifestyle shoes for young people in the 18- 35 demographic (Striving Singles or Young Achievers, according to Claritas). However, the target audience extends beyond demographics because the product caters to individuals who engage in a variety of activities such as running, hiking or working out. The audience for Loom Footwear’s products also goes beyond athletes as the shoes could appeal to includes individuals whose work requires them to be on their feet all day. For example, Loom Footwear has targeted hairdressers in a recent blog post. Psychographic segmentation for the audience includes environmentally conscious people due to the product’s manufacturing; according to a 2022 Multicultural Young Adults and Sustainability report from Mintel, companies must show the personal, not just global, benefit of sustainability for consumers. Moreover, geographic segmentation could consider individuals who live in areas with inclement weather because the shoes are waterproof.

Media: TV, Social Media and Influencer Strategy

To promote Loom Footwear, the company should make a television commercial and use various social media platforms to promote its shoes. By utilizing streaming (today’s primary TV option according to Nielsen), the company will be able to communicate with its target audience and seek other interested customers. The commercial will provide a sleek visual representation of the product and show off its key features using a detailed description of the product. Media such as a magazine or newspaper would not work to promote this product to our young audience, so social media platforms will highlight the product, show promotions and allow viewers to share the product with their friends. Each social media platform will bring in different audiences. To gain more clicks, the company should use influencers, according to Nielsen. An influencer has authority over their followers and will provide followers with knowledge and insight into Loom Footwear products.

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