Media Bank: Timberland Branches Out… Justin Boots Says Thanks

Branching Out
Timberland is heading in a new direction. For its fall “Best Then. Better Now” marketing campaign, the 40-year-old outdoor brand is aiming for a younger audience by focusing less on practicality and more on style. “At its core, [the campaign] is an invitation for consumers to rediscover Timberland,” said Jim Davey, VP of global marketing. He added that online distribution through key influencers is a major component of the campaign, to engage the millennial consumer. “You need to reach consumers where they live and where they spend their time,” he said. Here, the executive shares some details on Timberland’s new push.

Why was now the right time to launch this campaign?
“We spent two years looking at how people around the world view the brand. What we found is that consumers have tremendous awareness and past connections to Timberland. They love the quality and authenticity the brand represents, but they want to see more style, more new looks and more youthful energy. We’ve also found that most of our brand stories work well across countries and cultures, so digital helps us create a globally consistent brand message.”

How does this campaign differ from others Timberland has done in the past?

“I’d break this into two pieces: content and distribution. When it comes to content, you’ll see a lot more focus on lifestyle and a head-to-toe — or as we like to say, toe-to-head — approach. In the past, you may have seen ads that focused on the performance of a new boot, or the story behind its recycled materials. All those things still hold true in our products, but from a messaging perspective, we’re focusing more heavily on style and lifestyle. And with content ranging from our 40-year heritage to new footwear and apparel collections to sustainability, we’ve got a tremendous range of storytelling opportunities to use with consumers online.”

Why is the millennial demographic so appealing?
“Millennials are the next generation of consumers for Timberland, and their active and spontaneous lifestyles call for the versatile outdoor gear that we’re poised to provide. We’ll never leave our outdoor roots, but consumers can now see the Timberland brand in their everyday lives, not just when the weather gets bad or when they’re headed into the woods.”

Dialed Up
As mobile shopping continues to trend, Famous Footwear is updating the way it communicates to shoppers. The retailer debuted its Rewards App for the iPhone and Android last week, allowing consumers to access mobile discounts and rewards through Famous Footwear’s customer loyalty program. “Mobile is increasingly becoming a necessary part of the shopping experience for our customer,” said Will Smith, chief marketing officer for the retail division at Brown Shoe Co. “We are meeting their need for convenience and access to the latest shopping trends, as well as savings.” The app also incorporates user-generated content. That means users are able to upload photos of their shoes and style inspiration, and connect it to their social media platforms through a feature called #MyVictory. “This gives shoppers a fun and easy way to engage with the Famous Footwear brand,” Smith said.

Give Thanks
Justin Brands Inc. is taking gratitude to another level. The Western boot manufacturer, which owns the American-made Justin Boot Co. and Justin Original Workboots labels, is looking to tap into consumers’ patriotism with its online “Thank You” campaign, meant to show appreciation for factory workers and consumers of U.S.-made products. “Our domestic production is a source of pride and something that separates us from our competition,” said Justin Boots brand manager Louis Russo. “This campaign allows us to tell that story.” As part of the digital push, the firm launched a microsite, JustinUSA.com, where people can write thank you notes to American factory workers. The brand also created an online video that depicts the day-to-day life of employees of Justin’s manufacturing facilities. “We’re increasingly getting involved in social media and we have a particularly loyal following on YouTube,” noted Brandon Barker, brand manager for Justin Original Workboots. “That’s one reason we developed a video to tell the stories of our factory workers.” The ad campaign also will include 30- and 60-second TV spots airing on Fox Sports Southwest, print ads in Western and equine publications, as well as boot hangtags, packaging and POS materials.

Trending Topic

Adidas Originals is picking up clicks among Facebook fans. According to analytics firm Stylophane, the sports brand generated the most likes among footwear labels for the month of August — the most recent period for which data is available — with 322,436. At press time, its total count is more than 21 million. Overall, though, Converse still ranks as the most-liked shoe brand on Facebook, with more than 37 million fans.