Timberland has been undergoing a renaissance.
The brand was acquired by VF in 2011, and now, it’s on track to amass $3.1 billion in revenue by 2019, according to VF. In 2014, revenue was $1.8 billion, Timberland’s President, Stewart Whitney, told Business Insider in a phone interview.
One major reason for Timberland’s recent boom is that the brand has refocused who its target customer is.
“We certainly weren’t achieving everything that we could, and knowing who the consumer target is and what’s most important and relevant to them — is it has been key to the turnaround,” Whitney said to Business Insider.
The company has zeroed in on what Whitney calls the “outdoor lifestyler” (or the “OLS”).
But these customers aren’t woodsmen — in fact, they’re the opposite of that.
“However, most of these folks live in cities, so they don’t get to engage in the outdoors in the traditional sense as they would have otherwise but the outdoors is important to them, and it takes on a different connotation specifically around the social aspect of the outdoors now, whether that’s walks in the park, whether that’s doing green activities in the city, et cetera,” Whitney said. “You know, it’s a real opportunity for them to explore their everyday [life] and do it in an adventurous way. In fact, that’s our promise — to deliver every day adventures to the consumer.”
Judging by the brand’s Instagram account, it’s a very specific sort of adventurer Timberland is after — the kind who finely curates his or her Instagram photos and shops at organic farmers’ markets.
These people appear to be young, too, which at first might seem like an issue.
But Whitney doesn’t seem to be concerned that many young people are drawn to fast fashion these days. And, given the resurgence of traditionally uncool — albeit functional — footwear, it’s clear that young people have priorities that are more pressing than being trendy.
“”[There are] probably two primary drivers,” Jeff Fromm of marketing-research firm Futurecast explained to Business Insider in November. “One is that millennials love brands that are useful — and some of these brands have strong usefulness in terms of their design and functionality, and millennials also love things that are [a] good value, off the beaten path kind of stuff. Some of these brands have that going from them.”
Whitney believes Timberland’s heritage boosts its appeal.
“It comes from a brand with 40 years of heritage, and I think I believe that’s what you’re seeing from young consumers today, as well as appreciation for brands that have a unique and ownable heritage,” he said.
Timberland has been focusing on additional pillars for growth — like continuing to develop both its men’s and women’s casual footwear selection, improving its menswear, and focusing on its Timberland Pro line, which goes back to the brand’s workwear roots.
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