Brands

Rebooting 2020

How industry brands are strategizing for the upcoming seasons.

After months indoors, consumers are eager to get outside. At the same time, outdoor companies are operating in a new normal.  What do consumers want from brands and how are brands strategizing for 2020 and beyond?

We are in the new normal. And one thing is for sure, consumers are looking to spend some time outside. Biking and running are seeing an uptick, and the mental and physical benefits of being outside are being embraced more than ever. Brands are facing many challenges as the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold. But one bright spot may be a new embracing of the outdoors by consumers. We asked brands how they see these elements impacting the way they will do business in the coming months. Here’s what execs at six brands had to say:

Outdoor excursions with The North Face.

The North Face: Steve Lesnard, Global VP of Marketing & Product Creation

What do you expect will be big sellers for you as consumers explore the outdoors this summer and fall?

“We’re seeing an uptick in outdoor camping gear for consumers excited to plan their next big adventure or just trying to get creative in the backyard.”

In this uncertain time, how are you marketing products to consumers? Have your investment priorities shifted?

“We want to help communities by continuing to offer full pay and benefits to retail employees throughout store closures. TNF has also donated 60,000 gloves to healthcare workers and supported The Renewal Workshop in offering medical gowns to healthcare workers.”

Are you creating smaller capsule collections to accommodate retailers’ inventory challenges?

“We’ve leaned on partners to create smaller capsule or specialty collections in line with our values. On Earth Day we announced the launch of our Remade collection, a collection of creatively repaired, one-of-a-kind upcycled styles, and an exciting t-shirt collaboration with a streetwear partner to directly benefit New York City COVID-19 relief efforts.”

The Oboz design team’s weekly socially-distanced get together.

Oboz: Rich Hohne, Director of Marketing

What do you expect will be big sellers for you as consumers explore the outdoors this summer and fall?

“Customers want function in their footwear, especially comfort, durability, and fit. Our Sawtooth II and Bridger styles fit right into this sweet spot, as does our new Arete.”

In this uncertain time, how are you marketing products to consumers? Have your investment priorities shifted?  

“Prior to the pandemic we had been working on increasing our catalog of online training tools for retailers, which we supplemented with additional training to fit customers by phone and video. We opened some videos to consumers to help them find the best fit from home.”

Are you creating smaller capsule collections to accommodate retailers’ inventory challenges?

“With such a long lead time for footwear it’s challenging to change or reverse directions. We have a fairly lean SKU count to begin with. We are moving forward with new product introductions as they are evolutionary segments for Oboz — not revolutionary — and fit well where we see people heading with outdoor pursuits.”

Cotopaxi’s #OneUtah tee.

Cotopaxi: Annie Agle, Director of Brand and Impact

What do you expect will be big sellers for you as consumers explore the outdoors this summer and fall?

“We want our products to help people transition to out-your-front-door activities that help promote health and wellness. Providing masks made from remnant material from cancelled orders helps us decrease waste, while also allowing us to support factory sewers and provide customers with a necessary product.”

In this uncertain time, how are you marketing products to consumers? Have your investment priorities shifted?  

“We’ve invested in public relations during this time. We’ve also collaborated with Brands x Better, which raised over $3 million through collective corporate giving. Out first ever Quaranteam Questival — a virtual scavenger hunt- provided teams and families with a way to have fun and give back.”

Are you creating smaller capsule collections to accommodate retailers’ inventory challenges?

“We launched a #OneUtah tee, whose proceeds went to supporting local COVID response. We’ve tried to be mindful of the financial strain on folks right now. We don’t want customers to feel badly about the things they don’t have and can’t afford.”

Krimson Klover Work From Home Collection.

Krimson Klover: Marily Melis, Marketing Director

In this uncertain time, how are you marketing products to consumers? Have your investment priorities shifted?  

“We have pivoted many items to be positioned as ‘local hike friendly’ versus ‘travel ready.’ We created a Work From Home collection of wrinkle free travel clothes. The Journey Jogger pant was initially designed as the perfect travel pant, but also works as a comfy and classy around the house item. We have positioned our skirts and dresses as ‘Virtual Happy Hour Outfits.’ Typically, we don’t do a lot of discounts, but our weekly BOGO offerings have taken off.”

Are you creating smaller capsule collections to accommodate retailers’ inventory challenges?

“We recently did a co-promo with Kelty via Instagram that has done really well. The Together20 outdoor brand partnership campaign proved to be a success.  Since we won’t be meeting at tradeshows, we wanted to bring a more visual offering to the buyer’s inbox with a virtual fashion show.”

Rock Climber Maiza Lima in Vasque’s Breeze LT Low.

Vasque: Joe Peters, Marketing Director

What do you expect will be big sellers for you as consumers explore the outdoors this summer and fall?

“This evolved approach to how consumers are recreating in a more localized fashion is laddering up to our products well.  With our evolved brand position launching in June, which heavily leverages into the idea of ‘Nearby Nature,’ this will resonate with the collective condition many of us find ourselves within. We had already planned on launching a more comprehensive kids offering, so this is a nice opportunity for us to talk about our recent partnership with Children & Nature Network.”

In this uncertain time, how are you marketing products to consumers? Have your investment priorities shifted?  

“We’re doubling-down on digital channels in driving brand/product awareness.”

Toad&Co continues to focus on sustainable and versatile outdoor style.

Toad&Co: Sarah Matt, Head of Marketing

What do you expect will be big sellers for you as consumers explore the outdoors this summer and fall?

“The shift to spending more time outdoors — from backyard to backcountry — aligns with what Toad&Co has always stood for. Our sustainable, versatile, comfortable approach to one-wardrobe allows people to seamlessly transition through their days, without an outfit change.  People are looking to simplify and focus on what matters.”

In this uncertain time, how are you marketing products to consumers? Have your and investment priorities shifted?  

“Customers come to us for relevant content, delivered in an optimistic way, so we are staying the course while remaining sensitive and sensible. Our revenue share programs support local retail and partners like Search Inc., which supports people with disabilities in the Chicago area.”

Are you creating smaller capsule collections to accommodate retailers’ inventory challenges?

“We have strategically approached our Spring ’21 collection to reduce style count, leverage key carry-over styles and introduce new styles that keep the collection feeling fresh.”

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