How Timberland is using digital to promote sustainability

How Timberland is using digital to promote sustainability
thierry
Wed 02/10/2019 – 14:35

Sales activation
How Timberland is using digital to promote sustainability

As consumers become increasingly aware of their impact on the environment – such as plastic consumption – it’s no surprise that brands are also jumping on the bandwagon. But outdoor wear retailer Timberland is going one step further, with a commitment to plant 50 million trees by 2025.

(Author : Essential Retail)

Alongside that it has launched a global campaign Nature Needs Heroes, features 12 ‘sustainability ambassadors.’ Each ‘hero’ will don new styles from its autumn collection, as an opportunity to talk about its long-term sustainability strategy, says senior marketing director for EMEA, Giorgio D’Aprile. This is the brand’s largest ever global campaign in terms of scope and scale.

D’Aprile, says digital is “one of the key pillars” of its communications around the campaign, with 75% of its media investment already going on digital channels.

The company is active on Facebook, with 10 million followers around the world, as well as Instagram, which has a slightly younger audience. However, it also using the website to push its message, which has 30 million users a year. “On the site the first thing you will see is the stories [about the campaign] and going into some detail about the work Timberland is doing for the environment.”

Omnichannel will also play a huge part in communicating the message, he says. Timberland will be contacting customers via its database to visit the stores to take part in various activities around the campaign. For example, in December they can come in-store and adopt a tree and then track its growth online.

The opposite is also true, he says, with in-store customer communication via online. “At the end of the consumer journey, we are asking them for email contact… So it can start form online or offline, but the point is to combine the two elements together.”

Other initiatives include giving customers a discount on new shoes when they bring an old pair of any brand in to be recycled, which can be used online or in store, notes Marianella Cervi, Timberland’s EMEA head of sustainability.

Encouraging sustainable consumption is part of the firm’s whole approach to retail, she says. For example, when its Carnaby Street store opens in November, visitors will have the choice to customise their own footwear, using a table to choose the colour, materials, details of the laces etc.. “to design your own” (DYO) shoe, which will then be shipped to their address a few weeks later.

That is more than just a selling gimmick, she says. Not only will consumers be more aware of the materials that go into the shoes (the company is close to reach its goal of 100% sustainable organic cotton within the next few year) but it will help build an “emotional connection” with the product.

“There are studies that suggest when you are engaged in the process of designing your own garment, it is 300% [more likely] it will stay longer in your wardrobe, if you combine that with already having Timberland footwear that ensures long life because of the quality of our product. That is the most sustainable thing you can do.”

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