Case study

Sonic disruption in the noise-tech market

Expanding Loop's product portfolio to build a quieter world

Loop is an ambitious scale-up revolutionizing how earplugs look, feel, and sound. In 2022, Loop achieved a revenue growth of more than 350%, going from 12M to 42M, making it one of the fastest-growing brands in Europe and beyond.

Challenge

Defining what's next and elevating earplugs to earwear

Loop achieved tremendous success with their trendy and versatile products, designed for people wanting to focus and sleep better, for the noise-sensitive individuals, and for protecting the hearing of party goers.

The surge in popularity presented an exciting opportunity for growth, helping even more people live life at their volume.

Strategy

Prioritize growth opportunities to create a clear portfolio vision

Board of Innovation partnered with Loop’s leadership team to identify, size and select growth opportunities to create a clear portfolio vision. 

Starting from a broad use case matrix to get all options on the table, we then refined the opportunities to 16 different need spaces, based on user research. Each of these need spaces were sized, and compared on a competitive landscape to clarify which need spaces to enter.

Outcome

4 new product streams for expansive growth

Loop emerged with a clear portfolio vision, with consensus from the leadership team, and a well-defined product strategy resulting in focus on prioritized products and new opportunities for growth. 

Top pick earplugs
for concerts

“The first earplug every tester said would be happy to wear regularly.”

The best reusable earplugs for sleeping and live shows

“Feel free to move around, dance and sing; they’re not going anywhere.”

More than 12.000
5-star reviews

Over 2 million units sold

Loop achieved clarity in vision and direction, paving the way for continued growth and success.

Challenge

Defining what's next and elevating earplugs to earwear

Loop achieved substantial success in recent years, winning the Deloitte Fast 50 Award in 2022 with a revenue growth of 15275% from 2018-2021, becoming #1 bestseller on Amazon.com, and winning the Red Dot Product Design award for the Engage (Plus) earplugs in June 2023.

With these major successes, Loop wanted to sustain and capitalize on their breakthrough product's popularity. ​

Loop came to Board of Innovation to help navigate growth opportunities, define a clear portfolio vision, and streamline their innovation process. 

Board of Innovation’s expertise helped Loop define their portfolio vision, prioritize growth opportunities, and make strategic bets while minimizing risks. Our structured approach enabled Loop to make informed investment decisions, and gain efficiency and agility in managing their innovation process, to position them for continued success and market leadership.

The Big Pivot

Loop originally focused on selling to people who attended loud music festivals, but when COVID stopped the tunes, they adapted to new consumer bases.

Providing noise-canceling for other growing communities including parents working-at-home, people sleeping badly, and those of us who simply notice noise more after the isolation of lockdowns.

Particularly inspirational is the work they do for communities of noise sensitive people and a big community of neurodivergent people. Loop prove the value of listening to your community and adapting to it. They’re growing fast.

Strategy

Define a portfolio expansion strategy based on Loop’s strengths

We collaborated with Loop’s leadership team, engaging in a series of in-depth discussions and workshops to gain a deep understanding of their business, target market, and aspirations. By combining our expertise with their domain knowledge, we embarked on a journey to identify, size, and select growth opportunities that would form the basis of a clear portfolio vision.

To explore a wide range of potential growth opportunities, we employed a unique tool called the Use Case Matrix. This matrix allowed us to systematically map out various use cases and identify the different ways Loop’s earplugs could provide value to customers. We evaluated each use case to figure out if consumers actually experience a problem and the opportunity size of that particular use case.

Faced with hyper growth and a lot of exciting product ideas our biggest challenge was prioritizing our efforts and defining a coherent product portfolio strategy. The work we did with Board of Innovation resulted in a simple product portfolio vision and strategic tools that help us to prioritize in a very fast moving environment.

Maarten Bodewes, Co-founder of Loop

Moving forward, we collaborated with Loop’s in-house researchers to gain valuable insights into the needs and preferences of Loop’s target audiences. This helped us refine the use cases into 16 distinct need spaces, each representing a specific customer need or pain point. By sizing and comparing these need spaces on a competitive landscape, we created clarity and prioritized the most promising opportunities for Loop’s portfolio expansion.

Outcome

Four clear new product streams for expansive growth

04

New products streams

09

New North-Star product concepts

+163%

Growth potential

Clear portfolio vision: fueling scale-up growth
Through our collaborative efforts, Loop emerged with a clear portfolio vision that would serve as the foundation for their scale-up growth. We worked closely with their leadership team to define four distinct product streams, each with a well-defined role to address specific need spaces within their target market. These product streams provided Loop with a strategic framework that ensured focus, coherence, and effective resource allocation.

Prioritizing products for success
The development of a streamlined product strategy became a pivotal outcome of our engagement with Loop. The product streams serve as guiding visions, with each stream defining the boundaries for what will be developed in the immediate future (Next) and providing an aspirational North Star (Beyond). Within each product stream, we identified one or two key products to be actively sold at any given moment. By carefully curating the product offering, we ensured that customers were not overwhelmed with options, creating a seamless and intuitive experience. This approach allows Loop to prioritize product development and allocate resources effectively.

Addressing specific needs with accessories
To address the diverse needs of Loop’s customer base, we reassessed the concept of accessories and complementary products. These additional offerings, such as special eartips and digital solutions, expand core product capabilities, allowing Loop to cater to specific use cases without unnecessarily complicating their portfolio. This strategic integration of accessories ensured that Loop remained agile and responsive to evolving customer needs.

Growth opportunities and new revenue streams
As a result of our work, Loop not only achieved clarity and focus but also uncovered new growth opportunities and revenue streams. The well-defined product streams and portfolio strategy enabled Loop to identify untapped market segments and explore innovative ways to extend their offerings. By aligning their product development efforts with customer needs and preferences, Loop was able to position itself for sustained growth and capitalize on emerging market trends.

Loop Earplugs empower people to choose how they hear the world, by designing innovative earwear and inspiring everyone to live life fully.

It’s Loop's mission to elevate earplugs to earwear, and encourage everyone to live life at their volume. The +4M people around the world wearing Loop earplugs is a sentiment to the need for this new, global product category that Loop is pioneering.

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