As a venerable company with a 50-year history, The North Face is determined to present an image not as a decades-old brand with an established and “comfortable” reputation – but as a company that’s on the cutting edge of delivering state-of-the-art outdoor clothing products. The North Face wants to drive a new standard for the next generation of consumers. The firm recently rolled out its marketing campaign for FUTURLIGHT. It’s jackets, bibs and vests constructed with nanofiber technology. Nano-spinning holds potential as a historic game-changer to disrupt the status quo. It can shift the paradigm for what people expect from the performance of outdoor clothing and gear. The North Face’s new head of marketing, Steve Lesnard is running with FUTURELIGHT to create a campaign around this unparalleled product to bolster the image of his company’s brand.
A tagline developed for FUTURLIGHT by Lesnard and his team says it all: “Defy the past; wear the future.” Steve Lesnard said the campaign leveraging FUTURELIGHT is also proactive, rather than passive. He is encouraging users of the product to create and contribute their own stories of adventure and exploration using social media and other means to share their experience. “Defy the future; wear the past” bears the classic characteristics of a Steve Lesnard marketing approach. That means creating a marketing message that is simple, concise, punchy and easy to deliver – while also being highly memorable.
Lesnard is ever conscious that today’s marketing message must perform well in the lightening-fast environment of social media communication. At the same time, actively involving real users of the product builds a grassroots momentum and generates one of the most powerful forms of marketing – WOM – Word of Mouth advertising. Studies show that people are much more likely to buy a product if it is recommended by a trusted friend or family member, rather than being pitched by a slick advertisement. Steve Lesnard said a successful marketing campaign must stand apart. It must do something significant to position itself against the competition in a strikingly favorable way. It’s not just getting noticed, Lesnard said, but getting noticed in a visceral, proactive way.