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  • Writer's pictureKate Talbot

How Betabrand Embraces Crowdsourcing Data For Data-Driven Creativity

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Before the influx of marketing technologies, creative agencies had limited access to large-scale consumer insights. They used focus groups or surveys to discover what their audiences liked—or hated—and used this information to discover which emotion to trigger in a commercial, which ice cream flavors to test, whether to change the depth of their truck beds, and a lot more. Now with the vast amounts of data at our fingertips, campaigns can be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively to evaluate success in a short amount of time.

With technology continually advancing, there’s an opportunity for creative teams to take what seem like immense risks, but are really backed by the data. In adopting a mindset of data-driven creativity, forward-thinking companies can achieve business goals simply by asking people what they want, crowdsourcing data to understand their audience better and build loyalty.

Betabrand and Crowdsourcing Data for Faster Fashion

Take Betabrand, the San Francisco-based retail clothing company and crowdsourcing platform that relies on the intersection of data, consumer insights, creativity, and fashion to fund the more than 1,000 unique garments they’ve created since their inception of this business model in  2013. These pieces include “Dress Pant Yoga Pants,” an athleisure-meets-business wear hit, and the ever-popular-at-Burning Man, “Reversible Disco Hoodie,” modeled on space wear.

Their business strategy is based on data-driven creativity, marketing, and product execution. A recent example is the Modern Craft Project, a crowdfunding campaign and partnership with global footwear company Timberland to co-create a shoe with the Betabrand community and Timberland designers.

“Traditional fashion can take as long as 18 months for a designer’s idea to go from sketchpad to a retailer’s register. Through a marriage of crowdsourcing data and 3D digital rendering, we’re able to create and sell new products faster than even fast-fashion brands,” explains Chris Lindland, CEO of Betabrand. “With the Modern Craft Project, we presented people with multiple directions on where a design can go and they voted it to completion through a series of polls. The results were quickly rendered into products people want.”

The community voted on the shoe style, upper details, materials, and colors, and Betabrand used those data points to generate digital prototypes with manufacturer Li & Fung. With the crowdsourcing data, they were able to rapidly release two new shoe designs: a heel and a platform wedge prototype. Timberland used these designs to iterate on the next phase of consumer voting, with the goal to ultimately create the next great “wear-anywhere” shoe.

Bringing products to market quickly is top of mind for Betabrand. Lindland explains, “In 2017, we worked with Li & Fung to test four-week development cycles for new footwear and bag designs. We learned that the faster our products come to market, the higher the consumer conversion rates. By shortening the projects to five days, we saw conversion rate lifts of 2.5x.”

In addition to testing optimal conversion times for launch, Betabrand uses tools like Periscope Data and Facebook Ads to understand demographic data and intent and purchasing decisions.

Ultimately, Betabrand’s use of crowdsourcing data is all about galvanizing key audiences and making products people desire. Says Lindland, “By giving consumers a voice in design, they feel more invested in products.”

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