New Balance Brief

Opinion formers: Trendsetters whose actions, attitudes, and pronouncements generally exert direct and indirect influence on those of the others. (

You work for the trend arm of an advertising agency.  Your client is New Balance and your aim is to raise their brand awareness and to understand the process of how trends are generated. You will work in a team of three.  New Balance would like a cross section to be tracked in terms of gender, age, tribe etc.


This is a team-based assignment. A critical path is key in deciding how manage your time. Decide in week 1 which skills your team will need to successfully complete your assignment.  It is important that you define your team roles.


  • Using the typologies as defined by Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘The Tipping Point’ or those as per the Curve of Innovation (Rogers 1964), first define what kind of person you think if most appropriate to spread brand awareness and why (research file).
  • Then find no fewer than three opinion formers based on your research and produce 3 moodboards/pen profiles to visualise why these people fit that particular typology – their behavioral attributes etc.
  • Write a proposal (500 words) outlining how you will track your opinion former e.g.  Key questions such as ‘How many times have your opinion formers worn New Balance this week?’ ‘How many people have asked your opinion former about your trainers this week?’ It is therefore extremely important that your opinion former is aware of their role in the process as they may have to keep a diary themselves.  You also need to decide what other research you will conduct when tracking e.g. focus groups, observational etc.  All of this should be detailed in your proposal.
  • Find your opinion formers by Monday 7th February.  You need to hand in the opinion former moodboards and your trend tracking proposal into Eleanor’s office (Waverley 102a) on Monday 7th February.
  • As a team you should keep a blog where you can upload information for your other team members to share.

Consent forms

  • You will also develop a communication strategy & innovative campaign, thinking specifically about how New Balance can roll this opinion former strategy out further, and promotions that would capitalise on any success.  The main aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the brand with the lifestyle consumer . Remember innovation is key – what has your opinion former told you about how people become aware of trends and respond to them?
  • Analyse New Balance’s current communication objectives, strategy and tacticsHow successful have these tactics been? How have these tactics been measured?
  • Define the New Balance competitor set
  • Define the target consumer(s) of competitor brands
  • Review competitor communication strategies & tactics, identifying any key learning that could be relevant to the New Balance brand
  • Research current innovative marketing campaigns



  • Research File which should include your typologies research, team meeting minutes, critical path, address of team blog, meetings with opinion former, tracking research, research page showing innovative marketing campaigns with own narrative, consent forms
  • Opinion Former moodboards and pen profiles (in portfolio – same per team member)
  • Trend tracking proposal (500 words in portfolio – same per team member)
  • Key Findings summary of entire project (500 words in portfolio)


  • Blog
  • Ten minute presentation to New Balance which will include the findings from the trend tracking and ideas for the communication strategy and campaign. (slides to be included in trend document along with packaged CD)
  • Trend document – 500 words per team member (+/- 10%) which will include both the trend tracking element and the communication campaign idea & strategy, this should include relevant imagery and research.


The project will last for 7 weeks; you will be required to start the project prior to starting the second semester.

Monday 7th February

Hand in opinion former moodboards (no fewer than three) to Eleanor Clayton in Waverley 102a. These must include the shoe size information and the style of New Balance trainer the opinion former would prefer.  From your selection opinion formers will be chosen across the year group (one per team) and their shoes acquired from New Balance.  You must also hand in the accompanying trend tracking proposal in order for it to be reviewed.

Monday 14th February

You will receive your shoes from New Balance and you should hand these out to your opinion former, you should continue tracking them and keeping in regular contact. You should also research your communication strategies.

Monday 21st March

Present findings to New Balance

Friday 25th March

Hand in portfolio


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