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Tommy Hilfiger on why embracing risk is the key to innovation

Tommy Hilfiger CBO Avery Baker unveiled a nine-step process at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity that she said enabled the business to transform itself in line with consumer expectations.

Gigi Hadid in Tommy Hilfiger's Tommy Now show
Gigi Hadid in Tommy Hilfiger’s Tommy Now show

Tommy Hilfiger underwent one of the biggest business model shifts in its history when it moved to a “see-now, buy-now” runway show called Tommy Now in 2016. That meant shortening a typically 18-month production process into just six months, as well as launching its product live in 70 countries around the world simultaneously as brand ambassador Gigi Hadid hit the catwalk.

Speaking at Lions Innovation, a division of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this week, chief brand officer Avery Baker referred to the change as leaping off from a traditional S-curve. “When success is achieved, companies have the hardest choice to make – do we stay on that current path and hope we’ll continue ever upwards or take the leap to new levels of relevance?”

She referenced the fact consumer gratification is arriving much sooner than ever before today, with expectations set and met by other industries, meaning fashion has no choice but to try and keep up or be increasingly deemed irrelevant. “The first sign of madness is repeating the same behaviour over and over again and expecting a different outcome. We had to change the way that we thought and most importantly the way that we behaved,” Baker explained.

The resulting Tommy Now show generated over 2.5 billion impressions worldwide. “Our biggest learning of all is that embracing risk is powerful; it’s liberating. We have to retain the guts to keep pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone again and again; keep pushing ourselves to keep up with the pace of consumer expectations. By doing so we can rewrite the rules around creativity and innovation,” Baker explained.

She highlighted a nine-step process that she said enabled the business to do this, grounded in an entrepreneurial spirit that allowed everyone in the organisation to make decisions, while still ensuring the brand would land safely. Head over to Forbes to read the steps.

By Rachel Arthur

Rachel Arthur is Editor-in-Chief of Current Daily, the leading news source for fashion, retail and innovation, and the co-host of its weekly Innovators podcast. She otherwise serves as Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Current Global, a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion luxury and retail. By background she is an award-winning business journalist and consultant, contributing to titles including Wired, Forbes and Business of Fashion.

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