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Clarks partners magazine brands to change perceptions

Shoe retailer engages fashion-conscious audience to reappraise brand

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BACKGROUND

Clarks wanted to dramatically shift perceptions of the brand from old fashioned to more dynamic and relevant to a fashion-conscious audience. The Clarks brand has a strong heritage and solid quality credentials; however amongst the fashion conscious it wasn’t an aspirational brand. Clarks needed to challenge this through a very targeted re-positioning campaign in order to change perceptions from being old fashioned and staid to an inspiring and classy choice. 

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IDEA

Time Inc. decided to tackle this as much more than a media brief. Clarks has very broad appeal, with a customer base that spans all ages, presenting a challenge when you need to deliver a very targeted message and achieve stand out amongst a niche audience. Another issue was a retail space that is very much at odds with the vibrant exciting product that the fashion editors recognised in Clarks. Time Inc. designed a broad marketing approach that tackled these inconsistencies head on and encouraged the fashion-savvy to re-apprise the brand and engage with it.

EXECUTION

Leveraging the expert skills of Time Inc’s fashion editors to ramp up the fashion credentials of the Clarks brand, they utilised a diverse creative canvas via print and digital platforms. In print across Marie Claire, InStyle and LOOK display and advertorials depicted real-life, stylish consumers shopping in key cities across the UK, working to align Clarks with cool independent shopping areas. This ‘in the moment’ approach worked to ensure that the Clarks was seen to be trend setting. Involvement of the editorial team ensured this fresh perspective on Clarks felt genuine and would be trusted by the savvy target audience.

To tackle the retail experience challenge, Time inc. built a virtual shopping square (tablet-optimised) with eight stores. These brand boutiques (LOOK Boutique, Marie Claire Beauty Room, InStyle Jewellery Den etc) offered a different experience for the fashion-conscious audience and the opportunity to purchase the Clarks product. Competitions and social media (ie. hashtags, Instagram feeds) drove traffic to the website.

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Clarks gave the editorial team access to their retail space and this opened up an opportunity to create a new look and feel in store that would make an impact on the fashion-conscious audience they sought to attract. Areas within key flagship stores were styled by the editorial teams, with fashion advice attached to each product, a ‘Shoes of the Week’ section and a free magazine of their choice with every purchase. Crucially however this initiative also extended to staff training, to ensure they were fully briefed and aware of the campaign. A one day academy held at Clarks’ HQ in Somerset, where the editorial teams trained Clarks ambassadors on how Clarks taps into keys trends, plus advice on how to pair up specific pieces with the new shoe ranges. The end result was a more fashion-literate workforce, conversing in the same style as their target audience.

RESULTS

The results are testament to the brand impact that can be achieved when the editorial expertise of fashion editors is utilised across the broad creative canvas that modern publishing businesses now offer. The marketing initiative delivered an incredible uplift in the key metrics for Clarks.

  • Clarks is Fashionable              +80%
  • Clarks is On-trend                   +58%
  • Clarks is Exciting                     +38%
  • Clarks is Inspiring                    +120%
  • Clarks is Young                        +76%
  • Clarks is Middle-aged              -20%
  • Clarks is Boring                       -40%
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