In 2012, Sajay Dastoor, Matt Tran, and John Ulmen launched their Kickstarter campaign to fund an electric skateboard. They envisioned a world where people would use these boards as a means of transportation. They spoke of solving the “last mile” problem and of cities becoming cleaner and more friendly through lightweight electric vehicles. I joined them in early 2016 as Boosted’s first designer. It’s been an amazing ride to watch this product go from a fun idea to become a brand known and loved around the world. This isn’t just a skateboard with a motor, but it’s the fulfillment of a dream to solve a huge mobility problem.
Boosted is a tricky brand that doesn’t have a clean cut marketing formula to follow. It’s not a west coast skateboarding brand with a bunch of shaggy-haired surfers as their target audience, but it’s also not douchey a tech brand who is out of touch with culture. It straddles a fine line between cool and nerdy and is comfortable in the paradox. Early on we did lots of research, group rides, marketing surveys, and interviews to really figure out who our customer is and how we should go about speaking to them.
We look to the Boosted brand as playing a larger role than just selling electric skateboards. Communities organically formed around our product and celebrity YouTubers and social media influencers were naturally drawn to the board’s amazing experience. We took a big picture view and created strategies and programs to move each customer along on their Boosted journey.
We’re in the market of making people’s days better; of shortening dull, wasted time and increasing valuable, productive time. We’re committed to creating products that celebrate all the awesomeness that surrounds us in this world–to getting out there and grabbing life by the board. We talk about the transformation: Turn monotony into magic. From soul-crushing to soul-powering. Turn your cramped commute into freedom.
Before anyone can fall in love with our mission and our brand we need them to first know about it. We achieved this through out of home marketing on buses, transit stations, and trains. We also worked closely with content creators such as Casey Neistat, Sam Scheffer, Marques, and countless others to get the word out. It was honestly amazing to watch these people use our product, not just because of their relationship to the brand but because of just how much fun and value it gave them.
We also did a lot of out-of-home marketing on billboards, buses, trains, and transit stations. Our product is so relevant to transportation so it’s an easy fit to do our marketing in those places.
We put a lot of emphasis on photography. Riding a Boosted board is hard to describe but we aimed to capture it as closely as possible through photography and film. We aimed to do more than show people riding boards but to create images that could just as easily be seen art instead of advertising.
Shooting in urban environments tends to result in harsh shadows, with stark light vs. dark juxtapositions. To offset this, we try to shoot with sunshine and blue skies, which adds a nice balance to Boosted’s electric orange. We also incorporate smiling faces and natural foliage to add a healthy dose of warmth and happiness to an otherwise dark and grungy environment.
The best way to fall in love with Boosted is to get on a board. We empowered the events team by creating collateral, promotions, and imagery that could drive people to demo the boards. We hosted several creative contests (one that won us a Shorty Award) and found creative ways to get people engaged. From XGames to the local dealer down the road, we made sure to get Boosted’s name and experience out there.
A unique thing to the Boosted brand is the way communities naturally develop. In almost all major cities around the country and groups of riders who regularly get together and cruise the streets. We worked to grow those communities by hiring brand ambassadors, sponsoring group rides, and creating t-shirts and swag.
We also used the Boosted app as a way for people to share their rides and receive notifications on when group rides are happening in their area.
Boosted boards are premium products and they are also expensive. To help customers justify their purchase we aimed to have the brand feel just as premium as the boards. From packaging details to the website design, emails, and more, we sought a highly refined modern look to each touch point.
Our brand attributes were simplicity, thoughtfulness, speed, and fun. We achieved success through good typography, a strong grid system, a “less-is-more" mentality, and beautiful photography.