There is so much opportunity in being a big business that there’s no excuse for not doing the right thing, says Christopher Raeburn comparing his British-born Raeburn brand with the global scale of Timberland, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast.
Raeburn has been creative director at the latter since late 2018, where he says he is focusing on putting responsible, innovative design at the centre of its strategy. But it’s through his work and experience for the smaller Raeburn business that he’s able to do so, he explains.
“One of the ways I’ve always looked at Raeburn is almost like a Remora – those small fish that clean sharks… sometimes they can clean the teeth and everything like that. I think it’s a really interesting analogy, because by swimming alongside sometimes those big big fish in the ocean, A) you have the opportunity to clean them, and that’s exciting because they want to be cleaned. B) you have the opportunity to talk to them a little bit and then maybe you can start to really steer them. And if they want to be steered and it’s a really good partnership then you’re going to go in the right direction together,” he says.
Raeburn, which was founded in 2009, has built up its business focused on three key areas that all come under the circularity header: reduced, remade and recycled. But that was the case long before sustainability itself became a “trend”.
“I never really set out to start a responsible company. It was more a company that started from common sense. And it fascinates me, as I say, that there is all of this stuff out there. And why can’t we reuse and remake it before we even need to buy anything new,” Raeburn notes.
Join us as we also explore why scaling such a model is essential for the future of our industry, how much opportunity is coming down the pipeline from what we currently consider trash, and the role business has to play in education today.
The North Face has expanded its “Walls Are Meant For Climbing” campaign this year, aiming to reach a global community of up to 100,000 people and re-evaluate perceptions of what walls represent.
The campaign supports the brand’s second installation of its annual “Global Climbing Day”, which will take place on August 18. Partnering with a multitude of indoor climbing spaces globally, the brand will offer free climbing lessons for anyone attending on the day, donating $1 per person to the non-profit The Khumbu Climbing Center in Nepal. It is also launching a limited edition collection available for purchase now.
According to the outdoor brand, the aim of the campaign is to create a community and reflect its founding values. “Since 1966, we’ve seen walls not as obstacles but as opportunities. They are mirrors that reflect the best versions of ourselves. Walls do not divide us, walls bring us together. Walls are meant for climbing.”
With this initiative The North Face aims to reach a much larger audience than in 2017, where the campaign attracted 20,000 people to participate in climbing activities globally.
It has also taken this as an opportunity to let female climbers tell the stories of how they started their journey of conquering walls.
Under the banner “Climbing, the Great Equalizer”, the brand has released a total of four inspirational videos, each illustrating a unique story from a diverse set of characters – featuring three female climbers and one male. This week’s release – which has so far been viewed over 300.000 times on YouTube – tells the story of Monserrat Matehuala, who dedicates the video to “my brown girls from the ‘hood’.”
Brands are upping the ante when speaking to their consumers in a way that mirrors their values and in particular, their anxieties, in modern societies. In a politically charged landscape, encouraging positive activism is an increasingly important tool – as also seen by Patagonia’s Action Works platform which encourages charitable behavior.
H&M’s non-profit arm has launched an alternative to the Fortune 500 list, published each year by Fortune magazine. Foundation 500, as it’s called, showcases female-only business leaders from around the world.
Done in partnership with humanitarian agency, CARE, the aim is to challenge stereotypes and redefine what a business leader looks like. The initiative ties to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals on women’s empowerment and gender equality, which demonstrate that empowering women is one of the most effective ways to break the cycle of poverty and create economic growth.
The stories of successful women from 11 emerging countries, including Burundi, Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Jordan, Peru and Zambia, among others, are told, alongside imagery captured by Malin Fezehai in a style similar to that of business magazines covers.
“The entrepreneur is the hero of our time, and it is estimated that over the coming years over 1 billion women will enter the workforce – a majority through entrepreneurship. But, you can’t be what you can’t see. Women rarely make the covers of business magazines, in fact the last time a woman was on the cover of Fortune Magazine was October 2014. With the Foundation 500 list we want to redefine what a business leader looks like,” says Diana Amini, global manager at H&M Foundation.
The 500 women included are a representation of the 100,000 participating in the Global Program on Empowering Women through Enterprise Development initiated by H&M Foundation and CARE in 2014. From 2014-2020, H&M Foundation has pledged 120 million Swedish krona ($14 million/€12 million) to support over 200,000 women entrepreneurs from emerging markets with seed capital and skills training to start and expand their businesses.
”Born with zero privilege, the women portrayed in the Foundation 500 list have made their own fortunes in the harshest of startup-environments. Yet, their stories often go untold. I wish I had seen women like these on the cover of business magazines when I grew up in South Sudan,” said British/Sudanese supermodel, entrepreneur and H&M Foundation Ambassador, Alek Wek.
“Media can play an important role in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by unveiling inspiring stories helping to change mindsets of what women entrepreneurs can achieve and giving role models a platform to show what is possible. This can contribute to changes in convictions, attitudes, behaviour, rules, regulations and policies,” the write-up from the Foundation reads.
Those orders are fulfilled directly from Gucci stores in London, New York, Dubai, Los Angeles, Madrid, Miami, Milan, Paris, Sao Paulo and Tokyo. A launch video (as below) shows three women – in Tokyo, Milan and LA – having an urgent need to replace their Gucci wares after laundry shrinkage, coffee spills and theft.
Said José Neves, founder, co-chairman and CEO of Farfetch at an event launching the company’s Store of the Future concept yesterday: “Luxury takes time but it needs to take time the right way. If you’re in a Michelin-starred restaurant, you want it to be slow. What you don’t want to be is waiting for the table. So luxury takes time to produce and bring to market. But once it’s there then it’s all about fast delivery. And the reason for that is that time has become – or perhaps was always and now we’re more conscious of it – the ultimate luxury good.”
He referenced start-ups including Airbnb, Uber, Deliveroo and Spotify as providing us what we want, exactly when we want it, as well as research carried out by Bain & Company that shows the number one consumer criteria when buying luxury online, is timely delivery.
Farfetch operates a distributed model, meaning it has thousands of points worldwide it ships from – including brand stores, boutiques and warehouses. It does so to 190 countries, with 89% of its shipments heading overseas. It already offers click and collect in 24 markets and same day delivery in 12 cities.
This 90-minute launch with Gucci (also dubbed F90) is an exclusive one for six months before it will roll it out to other partners.
Gucci president and CEO Marco Bizzari said: “This service represents the type of new service level that the luxury fashion industry needs to embrace in order to meet the ever-increasing expectation among luxury customers today, for an outstanding level of service that is flexible and seamless across channels and geographical locations.”
A number of other fashion retailers have trialled such deliveries in the past, including the likes of Warehouse and Oasis in the UK. MatchesFashion.com recently launched 90-minute delivery in London also, while Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter are testing out a “You try, we wait” service.
The idea of humans as contradictory beings isn’t a new one, but social media is making such personal dichotomies more evident than ever before, even in life’s happiest moments, according to a new report launched by off-price luxury e-commerce site, The Outnet.
Written in partnership with audience intelligence platform, Pulsar, the study analysed 33 million posts related to the way in which consumers share moments of “joy” and “thrill” worldwide across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during May 2016.
Central to the findings is the idea that consumers are indeed extremely fickle. We celebrate uniqueness for instance, but we seek to be part of a tribe. We’re less concerned about material wealth, but what we wear and how we display it is more important than ever in our images. And we’re eagerly searching for time to disconnect, but we continue to capture those rare moments by digital means.
None of that may sound at all surprising, but the depth of the study provides some valuable lessons for businesses playing in the content marketing space and looking to figure out what motivations lie behind consumer behaviour today.
The perfect example lies in the selfie – one third of all photos in the study included a person or people in them. Rather than being solely about personal image or a means to draw attention to the creator, however, the report suggests these portraits are increasingly leaning towards supporting individuals’ growth and development.
Social media has long been a place for users to curate and edit the best versions of themselves, but the focus of that is moving to being primarily about positive steps to self-improvement and the achievement of one’s goals.
In fact, personal growth as a theme was the number one driver of discussions around joy and thrill globally (49%) in the study, which maps to broader evolving consumer trends currently in existence. Wellbeing and mindfulness have moved the topic of health, for instance, beyond a conversation surrounding just diet and exercise, to entire mental and physical lifestyle choices, which are in turn impacting businesses at every level.
This makes personal growth as a whole a really interesting one for companies to consider in terms of the way they speak to consumers – it’s not only about selling products to them anymore, but ideas and emotions that will both fit with and help fulfill such lifestyles. Brands should be thinking about how to help consumers feel more empowered, and to provide them with a service that improves their lives.
As Andres Sosa, EVP of The Outnet, said: “Having these results available for the business will be a key focus point in helping to drive our communication strategy forward. We can create touch points in relation to these moments, ensuring what we offer as a brand truly replicates and resonates with [them].”
The same goes for the way in which consumers look at the idea of belonging (referenced in 31% of posts globally). There’s desire to find joy in solidarity with others, even with the individuality that so anchors social media otherwise.
The digital era has brought about a quest for uniqueness as well as the idea of existing as part of a tribe. Businesses today should therefore be thinking about offering greater personalisation than ever, but ensuring their fans and followers feel a part of their community alongside.
The final trend in the study surrounds the idea of joy and thrill as it relates to experiences and discovery (16% of posts). Consumers are not only travelling more than any other time in history, but valuing such adventure in order to have greater things to share on social media. We’ve shifted to a time of less conspicuous consumption and instead happiness in discovering and capturing the everyday beauty of the world.
This directly relates to the fact that shoppers are valuing experiences over material wealth to a greater extent than ever before. According to the Boston Consulting Group , 55% of all luxury spend today is on luxury experiences, and that number rapidly scales when looking at the millennials market specifically. This is about being able to say “I did this” rather than “I bought this”.
Again, it’s crucial for businesses to respond to these changing motivations to best serve their customers – to think about experiences and that broader lifestyle piece as a part of their brand in the same way they curate their product proposition.
The Outnet, which is part of the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, focused on thrill and joy as the foundation of the study to relate to its recently launched #TheThrillOfTheFind social campaign and its “Everything Reduced But The Thrill” tagline. Overall, the results serve as a positive outline of seemingly incongruous trends to consider for content strategy, but in a broader sense, they’re also a unified reminder that consumers today seek meaningful relationships and not just transactions.
Disclaimer: The author Rachel Arthur served as a consultant and contributor to this study on behalf of The Outnet.
How has the combined Yoox and Net-a-Porter online fashion giant been faring since the Italian and UK businesses linked-up? Pretty well actually with global growth in the double-digits and m-commerce sales growing fast – very fast.
OK, for three-quarters of the period covered, Yoox and NaP continued to operate separately (their ‘merger’ was announced in March and completed in early October) but if we pretend the business was one big happy family from January 1, the figures do look good.
The business released its sales figures for 2015 on Monday and we heard none of the complaints about unseasonably warm or cold weather denting sales. Instead, it saw a rise of a bigger-than-expected 31%. And in Q4, when the weather was particularly challenging and lots of fashion retailers suffered, the business still managed a sales rise of 27.8%.
Some of that was down to the weak euro that made its sales look better. But even with positive currency effects factored-out, the rise for the full-year was 21% to €1.7bn. While a lot of that was about Yoox selling goods at a discount, full-price sales were also key. Revenue at its online flagships (for brands such as Dolce & Gabbana and Marni) rose 19.2% for the year, and 20.8% in Q4.
And the company said it saw an “excellent performance” at the Net-a-porter and Mr Porter’s sites. In fact, last year’s ‘In-Season’ business line (ie NaP itself, Mr Porter, plus Yoox’s Thecorner and Shoescribe sites) saw pro-forma revenues of €893.3m, up just short of 37%.
What also characterised last year was the fact that more and more sales came via m-commerce as smartphone and tablet shopping made as much of an impact on luxury as it did on the mass-market. That’s a wake-up call for high-end brands still unconvinced by the smartphone shopping revolution.
Mobile accounted for as much as 40% of Yoox-NaP’s sales last year, boosted by native apps, which surged an astonishing 180%. It’ll be interesting to see what those percentages stand at this time next year.
Also important was the group’s expansion internationally with some markets being standout performers. While it grew in double-digits across the world, particularly impressive was the 37.3% UK rise, the 43.3% North American rise and the 36.9% Asia-Pacific rise.
The company had 27.1m average monthly unique visitors last year, up from 23.6m in 2014, and saw 7.1m orders, up from 5.8m. It had 2.5m active customers, up from 2.1m and the average order value was a healthy €352.
Some analysts doubt it will be able to maintain this level of growth – let’s face it, there has to be a slowdown at some point. Will 2016 be the year that happens? We know that luxury shoppers are worried about falling share prices and aren’t getting so much cash through from their oil wells, while aspirational shoppers are concerned about talk of a possible global recession.
But the Yoox arm of Yoox-NaP in particular has shown itself well able to grow in bad economic times as well as good. I’ll be interested to see whether it can make the NaP part of the business turn in healthy profits though. Whatever happens, it will definitely be an interesting year for this business.
This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday
Fashion is the most popular blog subject in Spain, couture in France, and weddings in Canada. That’s according to data from blog discovery platform Bloglovin’, which analysed the top search terms from its userbase in 96 countries.
The research took into account 750,000 searches made on the platform each month between July 1 and September 30, 2015, with a resulting infographic depicting the most interesting and versatile of the terms.
Some other highlights include yoga in Italy, interiors in South Korea, crochet in New Zealand and tattoos in Argentina. Meanwhile, the UK is searching for vegan and the US is all about travel.
The Bloglovin’ team put the latter down to the fact 68 million Americans travelled abroad in 2014, which is a record for the country. In terms of blog searches, they’re favouring this kind of inspiration over say fashion or food.
Josh Fischer, Bloglovin’s VP of product, explains: “What was interesting was the emergence of other more ‘lifestyle’ topics such as fitness, yoga, family and travel. A common trajectory we see for many bloggers is that they start out primarily talking about what they wear, but as they build an audience, people want to know more about them as a person; where they vacation, how they stay fit, etc.”
He says the data is useful for brands and content creators alike when planning on a global level, because it shows what resonates the most in different markets.
Agent Provocateur has launched on Snapchat and Periscope simultaneously in order to provide candid insights into life working in one of its shops around the world.
#ShopGirlTakeover, as the social media initiative is being called, sees sales associates taking control of the brand’s Snapchat channel for a day as well as has them answering fan questions via live broadcasts on Periscope.
Creative director Sarah Shotton says: “I love how Snapchat and Periscope offer a candid way to document ?a moment in time, and who wouldn’t want to see what AP Agents from around the world get up to? Want to know how to get into suspenders in 30 seconds, or what to do with a whip? These are your girls!”
The results have generated over 1.2m views on Snapchat and 10,000 views on Periscope in the month its been running so far, thanks to takeovers in London, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Toronto, Shanghai and Melbourne.
Singer Paloma Faith, herself an ex-AP employee, has also had 24-hours on the channels as part of her tie-up as the star of Agent Provocateur’s autumn/winter 2015/16 #KnickersForever campaign alongside photographer Alice Hawkins.
Natalie Massenet, chairman and founder of Net-a-Porter, has indicated she is staying put with the company after it merges with Yoox SpA. In an interview with Bloomberg TV she said: “We’ve only just begun.” The 50-year-old founder will become the merged company’s executive chairman, with defined responsibilities reportedly in areas such as editorial content, advertising strategy and fashion press.
Describing herself as a “reluctant leader,” Massenet said the scale of the business is all that will change. “We’re going to be the same, but bigger,” she said. Here are some of the other interesting things she commented on:
On launching e-commerce
“If a Martian came to earth and looked at shopping, they would say, ‘Explain this to me again? So people with a lot of money are asked to leave their homes and go to you, you then put them in a really cold room with bad lighting and ask them to take all their clothes off and put on the clothes, and then they have to make the decision then and there without the rest of their wardrobe and their shoes, then they go home, um, and then they pay you for that?’ and the Martian would have probably said, ‘…If the person’s paying, shouldn’t you go to them, shouldn’t they try things on at home with the comfort of their friends and people advising them that they know, shouldn’t they be trying things on with their own shoes and shouldn’t they have time to think about it, and if they want to keep it, they keep it, but if they don’t, then shouldn’t you go and get it from them and say is there anything else I can do?’ So actually, just because shopping existed in one way doesn’t mean that’s how people wanted to shop.”
On that viral retirement video for former CEO Mike Sebba
“[Sebba] had been running the company for 11 years and I had this fear that because he hadn’t been so outward-facing, that he wouldn’t be a digital part of our history, because these days if we can’t find you on Google, do you exist? I don’t know! Am I here? So I thought we need to make sure that Mike Sebba, CEO of Net-a-Porter, goes down in history as having been the CEO of Net-a-Porter for eleven years, so I thought we need to make a digital footprint. It was about going viral.”
On creating a print magazine
“We thought, we’re a multimedia company, we are where our consumer is, and why are we ignoring print, in the same way that if you’re a print publication, you’re a media company, you would never ignore a website, you would not ignore social, you’re there. So, for us to be a complete media business, and to communicate with our consumer we needed to be there in a different form. But then what we did was we didn’t just say, ‘Oh let’s take the website and put it into a paper format’, we approached that platform with what’s great about it, and our editors create the most beautiful reading, immersive, inspiring experience that lasts; it sits on your coffee table hopefully.|”
On the shopper of tomorrow
“They’re a very demanding customer… and they’re the ones who are [going to] dictate, and do dictate, everything. They’re also very lucky. It’s such a great time to be a consumer; they have choice, they have everything at their fingertips, literally, and everything comes to them. The shopper of tomorrow does not need to move, they are a very busy person, like today, and demand more from their retailers, demand a lot, and our job is to anticipate their needs and be there for them.”
On growing in China
“In mainland China right now, the AOV on e-commerce transactions tends to be much lower than where we’re playing thanks to the strength of some extraordinary e-commerce businesses out there. So the consumer is well engaged in e-commerce, but the time will come when they turn to e-commerce for different things. We’re using our media, our magazine, our digital magazine that comes out in Chinese once a week 50 times a year, and we’re using that as part of the education process in terms of talking about fashion and inspiring the consumer, and we’re seeing really exciting, strong growth in China. It was within our top 20 markets five years ago; it will be within our top 10 within the next year.”
On the future of the business
“Well, we’re going to be the same but bigger… we’ve only just begun, our penetration and our addressable market is still negligible, we’ve got cities that we aren’t even talking to. Within just our existing space, we’re tiny, so I think, just keeping our heads down, focusing on the consumer, focusing on our brand partnerships and doing everything that we’re doing but doing it better… I think that you’ll see more local service propositions and we’re going to have to continually advance the speed with which we deliver and how we cater to the consumer’s needs. I think that we will have learned how to be local but global… while still retaining a very focused DNA for each of the brands, and not trying to be all things to all people, I think that’s important.”
The interview “Leaders With Lacqua: Natalie Massenet” airs again today at 7pm GMT, and at 3pm, 9pm and 11.30pm on Friday, July 3.
Levi’s has launched a digital platform set to host everything from shoppable videos to consumer-generated imagery as part of its new Live in Levi’s global campaign.
Created in partnership with AKQA, the microsite is designed to serve as a living lookbook or a showcase of the brand’s jeans being worn around the world. It will combine storytelling with social media and e-commerce, aiming to engage and activate its global community based on the idea of shared experiences.
“Nearly everyone in the modern world owns, or has owned, a pair of Levi’s jeans,” says Stephen Clements, executive creative director at AKQA. “The global ubiquity of the brand and the diversity of people’s style is what we wanted to celebrate. It’s something no other brand can claim.”
Indeed, the tagline for the campaign reads: “A billion jeans. One-of-a-kind stories. This is how the world lives in Levi’s.”
Anchoring the initiative at launch is an interactive shoppable film. Featuring influencers including Sleigh Bells frontwoman Alexis Krauss, through to street-style star Julia Sarr-Jamois, it invites users to further explore each individual story at any point while watching. Access is then provided to photo galleries, product information, videos and links to shop the look.
“The people who wear Levi’s have always been the inspiration for our brand,” says Jennifer Sey, CMO for the Levi’s brand. “This innovation is a way for us to open up our legacy and invite participation from all over the world by allowing users to shop for iconic Levi’s products highlighted in the film.”
In an earlier interview with The Drum, she explained: “We were inspired by all the letters we receive from consumers and so we just wanted to create and facilitate a space for the stories they are already telling about Levi’s. I would say the three goals of the campaign are to assert the brand’s denim leadership, to tell authentic self-expression, which is really our point of differentiation, and to put the brand back at the centre of culture again as opposed to on the fringe.”
The film was shot in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Shanghai in collaboration with editorial and production company, Monster Children.
Fans are invited to contribute to the project with their own Levi’s moments by using the hashtag #LiveInLevis across social platforms. The results will be curated by Levi’s and paired with a relevant product that users can click to buy. A certain level of localisation will also occur as content is created and promoted relevant to specific markets.