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Naboso // CASE STUDY

From Sole to Sales: Evolving Naboso’s Brand and Designing DTC Demand

Naboso Insoles

Call it luck or hard work or simply coincidence, but meeting Naboso founder and CEO, Dr. Emily Splichal, was like us looking into the mirror. Passion and enthusiasm oozed from her when she spoke of her ambitious brand and innovative products. Naboso is a fast-growing startup that produces innovative sensory insoles, mats, and flooring tiles that are enhancing the way people move by connecting them to the sensory side of movement. All Emily and the business needed was a creative and strategic partner who could transform their vision and great products into a clear and cohesive brand essence and expression, extend it with a design system, and successfully bring it to the masses with a DTC go-to-market strategy. And, lucky for us, Naboso found that creative and strategic partner in Digital Surgeons.

The Challenge

With proven products that customers were raving about, Naboso had some of the most important aspects of brand- and business-building taken care of. Problem was, they had an incredible product that people loved but they didn’t understand how to position and scale it. Naboso needed a partner who could help translate their disruptive vision of changing the way people live and move and bring it to life in an equally disruptive way.

The Outcome

What started as a small pilot go-to-market digital campaign campaign to prove immediate ROI quickly turned into a full branding and digital strategy partnership. We helped Dr. Emily and her team develop a true Naboso brand DNA and connected brand experience to enhance internal and external communications; we designed new packaging for their line of proprioceptive mats; we directed and executed a full product photo shoot; we reimagined and redesigned the Naboso digital experience and re-platformed it onto Shopify Plus; we set up advanced analytics to track and measure success; and we delivered a high-impact, full-funnel DTC go-to-market strategy that has set new benchmark standards for the brand’s online revenue.



ROAS on Rebrand Campaign


Increase in Monthly Revenue Over 3 Months


Happy-Crying Founders

Driving unprecedented DTC demand started with a small social media campaign.

When Naboso first engaged us, the COVID-19 pandemic had just begun—and with it their 2020 plan of primarily selling to gyms, doctors’ offices, and physical retail stores went out the window. With us, Naboso found a partner eager to make them a DTC-first brand, and the timing couldn’t have been any better. 

To prove the power of online, smart media targeting, and relevant messaging, we kicked off a small digital-only customer acquisition campaign for a couple of months, generating record-breaking sales and delivering a 150% ROAS. Although early on we believed COVID-19 could have played a factor in efficient CPMs on social channels, as time progressed, that relation became more inverse as CPMs normalized and revenue continued to increase with each passing month.

Solidifying the brand, its positioning, tone of voice, and visual language with a brand DNA and design study.

Soon after DTC became a necessity instead of a nice-to-have, Naboso and Digital Surgeons teamed up to zero in on the brand experience. We kicked off our Brand DNA process with our cross-functional team of writer, art director, and strategist to get to the core essence and expression of how to bring the Naboso brand to life. Within a matter of weeks, we had a spunky grown-up brand that knew how to speak its customers’ language and knew how to look the part, too. What we ended up delivering wasn’t a deck or a pdf, either. It was a living, breathing, best-in-class brand book and design study, all accessible within the same online experience for easy sharing and access.

“You guys took everything that’s been in our heads as we’ve been building this and translated it in a way that we could not. What you guys did is what has been in our hearts and in our minds for the last three years. It’s beautiful.”

Michael, Director of Sales and Strategic Relations

Creating a consistent 360º brand experience with updated product packaging design.

With the founder’s dream brand in place, it was time to fill in some gaps with the product packaging design. The Naboso mats, which are used for standing, training, and bodyweight exercises like yoga or Pilates, needed a refreshed look to match the updated designs of the other product packaging. Yet we didn’t want to merely copy the other packaging one-for-one—we wanted to step it up a notch and make the mat packaging more inclusive of the entire brand experience. Together, our writer and art director collaborated on creating mat packaging with designs and images that evoked the feeling of optimized movement, along with familiar brand language and copy that spoke to Naboso’s truths. The result is more than a killer look—it’s a brand-friendly packaging experience that also educates and engages consumers.

Directing and executing commercial product photography in our very own DS content production studio.

There’s almost no better way to capture the expression of a brand than with photography. Coming out of our Brand DNA co-creation process with the founders, we conceptualized, directed, and produced all new product photography to bring it to life. Our award-winning studio photographer, Steve Walter, led the charge. Where most agencies have to outsource this work, the process was as simple as the Naboso team shipping product to our studio, and we went from style frames to ready-to-launch photography rapidly. (Well, it wasn’t that simple. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to collaborate remotely with Steve and the Naboso team to pull of a successful shoot in our own production studio. But it was fun and successful nonetheless!)

Redesigning the Naboso digital experience and re-platforming onto Shopify Plus.

Naboso needed to quickly scale their ecommerce capabilities as they planned to launch new products in new markets. With 2020 plans of international scale, they needed a plan and platform capable of such aspirations. Shopify was an easy choice as the platform is a huge leader in the DTC space, and for good reason. With new product data, collections, and imagery in hand, our team of designers and developers began to build out the Shopify store with a focus on quick product views and ease of conversion. We wanted to design a commerce experience that was fast and cohesive to either new or returning customers, that also allowed for scalability and new product additions and product innovations along the way. Shopify Payments, transactional and marketing emails, automated fulfillment, and built-in analytics gave our team the tooling to create a highly optimized digital commerce experience in record time.

Setting up advanced analytics and reporting to ensure KPIs stay top of mind.

Shopify has a built-in analytics platform focused on sales, customer retention, and other key ecommerce metrics. However, to ensure our strategic focus remained consistent with brand goals and KPIs, we implemented a custom Google Analytics and reporting suite focused on the core metrics that startup founders and CFOS need to make real-time decisions on how to adjust, pivot, and utilize their financial investment planning. We made use of Enhanced Ecommerce in order to track conversion and sales data, as well as custom events to monitor user behavior and UI interaction. We then used Google’s Data Studio to create customized reporting dashboards to ensure KPIs were top of mind and continuously monitored by all members of the DS & Naboso team.

Architecting and executing a high-impact DTC go-to-market strategy.

Now that we had all of Naboso’s physical and digital properties refined and ready for the world, it was time to devise a go-to-market strategy. Because the insole and footwear spaces are so congested, both the Naboso and Digital Surgeons teams understood that this go-to-market had to make the brand the star of the show. Yet at the same time, it had to drive traffic to the new site experience and, of course, convert. So, our copy and design teams went to work crafting high-level, brand awareness messaging to go along with evocative brand visuals, while our account strategist and media strategist collaborated on creating a full-funnel blueprint for launch and post-launch media and advertising. Add in a launch email strategy and some human touches to the unboxing experience, and we had an airtight DTC go-to-market strategy in place for Naboso.

Stepping into a long-term partnership model with strategic consultation and ongoing growth as a service.

Following Naboso’s rebrand and go-to-market success, we began a long-term, ongoing partnership in which we’re operating as an extension of the startup’s marketing team and strategic consultancy. From rewriting and designing the investor and sales decks to developing organic social posts and a content editorial calendar, we’re handling just about every facet of the brand’s external marketing operations in concert with their senior leadership. The results so far speak for themselves, and we just consider ourselves lucky to be a part of the early success of such an amazing startup company. If you’re interested in enhancing the way you move, feel, and live by connecting to the sensory side of movement, make sure you check out Naboso today.

“A simple thank you does not reflect our gratitude for our design team at Digital Surgeons. They respectfully and passionately embodied our brand and mission and most importantly our business model and vision to scale.”

Dr. Emily Splichal, Founder and CEO

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