There was a time when Timberland was an iconic brand.
But over the past few years, the brand began to fade into the apparel oblivion.
Now, the brand is posed for a massive comeback, Phil Wahba of Fortune reports.
This, in part, is because the brand is repositioning itself — and also in part because it was acquired by VF in 2011. VF is behind many successful and iconic brands, including North Face, Lee, Vans, and Jansport.
Wahba notes that before the acquisition, the brand’s sales were stagnant. Now, Fortune reports, the brand is on track to hit $US3.1 billion in revenue 2019.
So how does the brand plan to do this?
It helps that the brand’s core product is sturdy, but the brand is primarily focusing on its identity and target customer, Fortune explains. That target customer is quintessentially cool, and probably eats local produce.
Previously, the brand was lost and trying to appeal to everyone. “The marketing identity crisis ultimately confused consumers, failing to make clear enough what set Timberland apart,” Wahba writes.
Timberland knows this, too. “When you go after lots of consumers, with lots of messages, the odds are higher for a misfire,” Timberland brand president Stewart Whitney said to Fortune.
Now, the brand is trying to appeal to those who love a #ModernTrail.
The brand’s Instagram bio reads, “the Modern Trail is about everyday adventures, connecting with fellow explorers and sharing what’s discovered. Show us your #ModernTrail.”
The #ModernTrail is not the Appalachian Mountain. In fact, it’s probably somewhere in Prospect Park or in Portland.
The brand is pretty transparent about who it’s trying to cater to — its Instagram captures a particular aesthetic and shows off highly filtered fall-friendly gourds and hipster capital Brooklyn:
But it’s a specific breed of hipster that Timberland is catering to: the breed with cash to burn.
Further, Timberland is focusing on making the brand more exclusive by selling the shoes in urban locations, versus all over the place.
“That helps you elevate the brand, and when you elevate the brand, you elevate your selling prices, your margins and your profile,” Whitney explained to Fortune.
And while the famous traditional boot is still sold, the brand is selling more fashionable alternatives, too:
Timberland is also focusing on its clothing line, Fortune notes. While boots will likely continue be the heartbeat of the brand (footwear accounts for 80% of the brand’s business, as Fortune points out), this is still another sector where Timberland can prove to show off its newfound style.
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