Consumer Products

Loud and Clear

Sound United — Personal Audio

To break into the lifestyle audio market, home audio leader Sound United came to frog for a product strategy that informed three differentiated brands and nine products.

frog and home speaker manufacturer Sound United identified a $100 million business opportunity in personal audio. To compete with lifestyle brand leaders, Sound United asked frog to develop a long-view strategy, a portfolio of new products, and a refresh of Sound United's brands: Boom, Polk and Definitive Technologies. We created a unique brand position for the brands as well as nine individual products.

Several rounds of ethnographic and market research were conducted to identify target segments. Three distinct customer groups emerged with clear preferences around features, functionality, price, and of course, style.

frog created more than 30 product concepts that were presented to target consumers to gauge interest. Ten products were down selected and road mapped for release. Each product was carefully crafted to generate a sizable opportunity through a combination of function, performance, and proven cultural resonance.

frog conducted a quantitative survey, including conjoint analysis weighing price and features of the early concepts, to understand the potential of each product. For each concept we built a high-level business case outlining the value proposition and market opportunity based on our analysis of the personal audio market. This rigorous quantitative approach informed concept development and gave key executive stakeholders the confidence to proceed with the designs.

Boom, deeply rooted in the Southern California skate, surf, and street art scene, appeals to a youth market in need of durable products with big sound. Boom hit the market in early 2013 with the Urchin, a pebble-shaped "Ready for Anything" Bluetooth speaker tailored for the brand’s 13-29 year old audience. With a durable silicone covering and dust sealed body able to withstand a drop of 10 feet, the portable Urchin delivers quality sound in a water and shock-resistant body. The Spooners earbuds offer a solid sound upgrade to stock phone earbuds and snap together to manage cable snag. The Rogue headphones have a bass-heavy sound profile, pivoting earcups and a rugged splash-proof design, which makes them perfect for DJs.

With a mixture of vintage and modern styling, Polk Audio's classic appeal resonates with consumers nostalgic for heritage products. With Polk Audio’s Nue Era headphones, the rebranded line introduces itself as a heritage brand tailored to music lovers who value personal style. Tortoise and champagne gold finishing harken back to an era of handcrafted devices, while state-of-the-art headphone technology provides immersive sound in a small package. The Buckle and Hinge headphones feature real metal construction that stands out in a sea of plastic competitors. Leather headphones and contrast stitching reflect the same attention to detail as the rich warm soundstage.

Definitive Technology, a brand with a solid reputation among hardcore audiophiles, was shifted slightly to be more bold and sophisticated while expanding the product offering beyond the living room.

To bring Definitive Technology’s high-quality sound to the mass market, frog and Sound United launched Sound Cylinder, a Bluetooth speaker tailored for tablets. Aluminum and Magnesium alloys cut down on weight and increase portability. With its iconic form and premium materials, Sound Cylinder reflects the high craftsmanship and outstanding sound quality that Definitive Technology is best known for. The Incline premium computer speaker, with its sturdy aluminum base and bipolar speaker design, creates room-filling sound in an impossibly small package.

For all three brands, packaging concepts were carefully designed to both articulate the unique brand expression as well as to adhere to Apple Store guidelines. Establishing a foothold at the world’s most admired retailer sent a bold message about the new offerings. The products are now available at Best Buy and other leading retailers. The products frog created for these three brands clearly establish Sound United as an innovative player in the personal audio market.

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