Timberland is always thinking outside the shoe box — even when that means expanding past just shoes. As the brand ramps up its own national marketing efforts, it has the goal of becoming the largest, most sustainable outdoor lifestyle brand on planet Earth.
The strategy, focused from toe-to-head, means shifting from a shoe company (where its iconic yellow boot takes the spotlight) to a bonafide lifestyle brand. Among the myriad of marketing strategies Timberland is employing, Cassie Heppner, Director of North America Marketing is charged with tapping into the key online marketing channels of its independent retail partners and equipping those retailers to tell the new Timberland brand story.
Wanting to know more, we sat down with Cassie to gain an understanding of how this iconic brand engages with their local retailers.
When it comes to supporting independent retailers in their effort to market the Timberland brand, how did you come to develop and evolve this philosophy?
Independent retailers in the footwear and apparel industry are extremely customer-service oriented. We recognize how much influence they can have with customers and being effective brand storytellers. They are a critical juncture in Timberland’s brand positioning and we strive to support them with the assets they need to properly market the brand.
How vital has national alignment with local, independent retailers been to your brand’s success?
As we set out to sell-in Fall 2013, we shared the new brand positioning with our independent retailers and the response was very positive. The retailers were excited to see us focused and believed their customers would have a better understanding of the brand as well. As a result, we were able to garner placement in-store and online (eCommerce and social) of the retailers’ owned properties to communicate our message.
Since that time, our retailers have continued to support us and helped tell the Timberland story. We’ve gained opportunities in-store and online to promote the brand. We’ve seen an increase in our integrated product and brand storytelling so the consumer sees Timberland as more than a footwear brand and really as a lifestyle brand.
Example of a Timberland independent retailer Facebook share:
Can you describe the challenges your retailers face, and how Timberland has supported them?
Our local retailers are all trying to create exceptional experiences that will keep bringing customers back to the store to shop. Understanding this and their heavy task load, we’ve learned that we need to make marketing Timberland much easier for them. Any way we can simplify their lives is our best way to ensure they’ll promote the brand. We’ve made significant strides in simplifying technologies and processes for our independent retailers.
How do you incorporate retailer feedback into current digital strategies?
We make it a point to constantly listen to our retailers, whether its through our sales reps, meetings with retailers, feedback via Promoboxx, or store visits. We want to understand their pain points/challenges to market the Timberland brand and create solutions to make it easier.
For example, we received a lot of requests for content geared towards Instagram. After talking with a few of our retailers, we realized it was so important to them because of the ability to attract a younger audience in-store. We took that feedback to Promoboxx and they made it a priority to create a mobile app with Instagram functionality for retailers.
What are your top goals for 2015 and how does a retailer-first marketing strategy support them?
We know consumers live in the digital space consuming content. Timberland is focused on breaking through and connecting with the consumer in the digital space whether it’s their mobile device, iPad, or laptop. One way we are achieving this through our retailer channel, is with Promoboxx Match. The ability to serve co-branded local mobile ads to consumers within a few miles of our local retailers is very important to us.
Another important goal is winning in-store. This is focused on capturing more space on the retail floor to highlight the brand. As we get closer to the product, it’s all about showing and telling the consumer why our product is better than the competition. We’ll provide imagery and product knowledge to so the consumer understands the complete value of the product. For example, it’s not just a great looking shoe or jacket…it’s waterproof, too!
Tying it all together
Despite the complexities of supporting retail partners, Timberland has done a phenomenal job empowering their retailer channel; ultimately increasing brand awareness and driving more consumers in-store.
Thank you Cassie for taking the time to share why Timberland believes in retailers!
Ready to engage your local retailers with branded content? Promoboxx can help.
With Promoboxx, you can invite all your retailers to easily promote your brand online, in a way that highlights their local store. Promoboxx helps your independents highlight their store branding by co-branding all manufacturer content to each local account, then making it very easy for them to promote this content across important digital channels.