The Rewards of Creative Research

Understanding the importance of ‘Signature’ shoes in the Basketball Category




Situation: For those entrenched in the sports culture, it is clear that the game of basketball has a unique sub-culture that blankets lifestyle, music, brands, and event choices. Sport Chek wanted to understand and unlock the subtleties of channel marketing efforts into actionable ideas and programs that would emotionally connect with not only basketball players but also basketball fanatics. The end goal in mind was to engage customers at all points in the Customer Decision Journey using social and digital marketing.


Insight: Alongside immersive research specialists The Palmerston Group, we undertook a ‘Jam Session’ called 4 x 4 at the GTA’s Hoopdome with 8 basketball player enthusiasts – a segment of the basketball audience that lives and breathes the sport, and religiously and deeply follows the sport. Half of the participants were adult players and half were teen competitive players. To complement this research, ethnographic research was conducted in order to develop player typographies grounded in data. As a result of these research activities, we discovered that only signature shoes signify that a store is a basketball authority and has the ‘cool’ element that enthusiast’s desire. They absolutely expect a limited release of shoes. It is not a matter of carrying these shoes in large quantities – customers expect they’ll be out-of-stock immediately – but the halo effect to the store is significant.


Impact: Because the research was designed to support actionable business decisions, Sport Chek created a new tactic called a ‘Sneaker Release Calendar’. This new marketing tactic increased Sport Chek’s ‘swagger’ effect thereby giving the brand confidence on the basketball court. ‘Sneakerheads’ now have proof that Sport Chek understands the game.

Sklar Image

Click here to explore Sport Chek’s Sneaker Release Calendar. Check out upcoming sneaker launches and past sneaker releases.