HOKA is a shoe company leading the way towards a more sustainable future. Partner, Inkyu Lee, and I developed a strategy that would prepare HOKA to embrace change, and to not just adapt, but to actively shape the future. It meant transitioning from a mass consumer demographic to connecting Consumer Citizens, people actively invested in brand relationships that reflect their socio-political ideologies and environmental consciousness.
“Nathan pushes and challenges himself, never taking the easy way out. His course projects had a strong vision as a foundation, accompanied by a deep thought process to strive for truly innovative outcomes. Advancing of responsibility and sustainability featured strongly in his work. I'd highly recommend Nathan for any innovative, pioneering organization looking for holistic brand design & strategy capability.”

—liisa puolakka
head of strategy & foresight at werklig 
assc. professor at artcenter college of design
Challenge: Navigating the "Take-Make-Waste" economy
Despite HOKA's growth, it faces three significant challenges: the performance lifestyle industry's universal emphasis on innovation, consumer misconceptions regarding environmental waste, and the industry's reliance on a "Take-Make-Waste" economy. This economic model of production and consumption involves taking resources, making products, and waste disposal that leads to environmental degradation. It's not only generated vast amounts of waste, it's created a rift with a new breed of consumers we refer to as Consumer Citizens. These consumers align their purchasing habits with their socio-political ideologies and environmental consciousness, demanding more from the brands they have an affinity for.
Insights: Shifting towards circularity
To combat these challenges requires transitioning from serving a mass consumer market to connecting with Consumer Citizens invested in brand relationships. The core of this strategy is to create a blueprint for HOKA to adapt, evolve, and thrive in the future—champions of circularity. We envision HOKA becoming the sole provider of cradle-to-cradle materials for all performance shoe manufacturers, transforming competitors into change partners. Driving this transformation is a confluence of economies: Behavioral, Circular, and Wellness. In other words, shifting consumer behavior, a sense of responsibility, and an emphasis on holistic wellness are key change drivers. Our insights support this approach to help shape the future as a cultural innovator leading the transition towards a circular economy.
solution: Championing the circular economy
HOKA isn't just ready for the future, it's capable of shaping it.
By championing circularity and providing cradle-to-cradle materials, HOKA can position itself as a leader in sustainability and innovation thus increasing adoption, value, and growth. This strategy not only helps reduce environmental waste but also redefines industry dynamics—a paradigm shift.

dig deeper