Veronica Cano, Marketing Partnerships Manager at OluKai, sat down with Promoboxx to talk about how they prioritize their retailer network and their passion for Hawaiian culture in their products and marketing campaigns. We chatted with Veronica, who has been with the company for over four years, to better understand the key trends she is seeing in the outdoor industry, and more specifically in the retail environment.
Tell us more about what makes OluKai unique, and the initiative to preserve Hawaiian culture…
OluKai has been giving back since the company started in 2005. It is a part of our brand values and it is something that everyone at OluKai feels strongly about. The Ama OluKai Foundation benefits Hawai’i-based organizations that preserve and celebrate Hawaiian culture. A portion of every sale of every product we make goes back to the foundation to fund and fuel its mission.
The Hawaiian Lifeguard Association, for example, has designated OluKai as the official footwear of the 450 lifeguards in Hawai’i, and every lifeguard helps us test new ideas; they are really involved in the development of new products.
Another beneficiary is the Polynesian Voyaging society, which seeks to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration; the society sponsors a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe that travels around the world without any modern instruments, inspiring global communities to respect and care for themselves, each other, and their national environments.
We also take pride in educating our retailers and their local staff members all about the Ama OluKai Foundation and how integral it is to our company and our products. Through understanding our products and what makes our brand unique, they can pass on a story that really connects with local customers and communities.
Why are local retailers important to your business at OluKai?
Local retailers are so important because they have a better understanding of the community they are serving, and they know what is relevant and exciting to local consumers. Many of our retailers host events and classes to engage with and give back to their community. That is really important to OluKai because they can share that knowledge with us, and then we can get involved and provide co-op marketing or an event to build something that is brand-relevant for us, but also connects back to their local community. It continues our tradition of giving back and connecting with our customers.
What trends have you noticed in the outdoor industry?
Providing a memorable experience is important for anyone working in the outdoor industry, brand or retailer. The ‘trend’ I’ve noticed is a focus on getting consumers outdoors and using the products outside. Many of our retailers host hiking events, trail walks and trail runs, and try to create a connection with their customers through outdoor activities. We look to support these and work with them when we can.
Do you think that the retail environment is shifting?
Over the last two and half years, I’ve seen the importance of having an online presence grow tremendously. Retailers are increasing their social media and digital tactics to compete with big companies like Amazon. I’ve also seen a lot of experiential storytelling happening in retail, with specialty retailers highlighting what they can provide and getting people into the store and creating unique experiences instead of just shopping for goods.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced with retailer marketing?
The biggest challenge is making sure we are providing assets, storytelling and messaging to the retailers, including our latest content and campaigns. Social media is difficult, specifically educating retailers on the importance of a consistent brand message with our national brand and what is brand appropriate. That is why we went with Promoboxx; we needed to streamline the process of sharing brand-approved content with our retailers.
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What do you think your most successful retailers are doing well?
Our retailers that focus on getting everyone outside, from their customers to their community members, and create personal connections with their customers are the most successful. This is something we focus on at OluKai, so it is great to see our retailers do it as well.
How were you supporting your retailers with digital marketing before Promoboxx?
We previously received one-off requests for specific images and content from retailers, and fulfilling these requests involved a lot of back-and-forth through services like Dropbox. It was very time consuming. It was an inefficient process. Promoboxx has helped us save time and makes us feel confident about getting to our retailers needs on time. We launched our first campaign about a month and a half ago, and already the platform is so efficient and we’ve received great support.
Any front runners on a favorite feature of the Promoboxx platform?
I’d have to say the analytics we can see for our retail marketing. Without Promoboxx, there isn’t a lot of analytics to measure the return on retail marketing efforts. Having the sophisticated reporting elements on Promoboxx is very helpful in my role. Promoboxx is an investment for a brand and having the reporting features help brand marketers like me present to senior management on how we are successful and share reporting that justifies all the elements we are putting into the platform.