p10-12 Outdoor TIMBERLAND:SGBGolf_NEW_template 24/03/2009 09:36 Page 11
Three years ago, I led our outdoor distribution in Europe, then I was
promoted to my current role about 18 months ago. I think it is fair to say
that from an outdoor point of view we got off to a false start between 18
months and three years ago, and it has taken us 12 months to redefine how
we are going to approach the overall outdoor market.
SGB: What do you mean by that false start?
PH: We redefined the outdoor side of the business and made it very
specialty-focussed. While we are very much an outdoor, lifestyle brand, we
are never going to compete with the likes of North Face, Arcteryx and
Berghaus at the top of the mountain. Realistically we are further down the
mountain in terms of our approach. Where we got it wrong, was trying to
pitch ourselves straight against those brands.
SGB: What's going to change, going forward?
PH: We have Tony Underwood leading our outdoor distribution channel and
have reverted to an employed sales force except in Scotland.
Today we have two distinct product groups and two areas of target
consumer. One is the more mature consumer, the outdoor enthusiast,
where we already have loyalty, great products and solid retail distribution.
We will be targeting the younger “outdoor athlete” with our brand new
collection called Timberland Mountain Athletics (TMA), which is due to be
launched this Autumn. This consists of a range of technical multi-activity
and trail running footwear and reflects our strong environmental credentials
with the launch of ‘green’ rubber, (exclusive to us for 12 months) where a
percentage of the outsole of each of the shoes in the collection is made wider audience from an outdoor perspective. They probably haven’t been
from recycled car tyres. the people right at the top of the mountain. That’s really where we are
TMA will form a big part of our marketing strategy for the Autumn, coming from…from an outdoor adventure point of view. From a TMA point
backed with a full above the line campaign that includes press, TV and of view we see the range being accepted by a much younger outdoor
online activity. consumer.
TMA represents an exciting move forward and we are doing it hand-in-
hand with mainstream products. Customers will have the opportunity to SGB: So would TMA be aimed at the trail runner and the crossover athlete?
purchase some of the core performance items, equally it could include the PH: The way we were looking at this a few years ago when we were putting
six-inch classic boot, which in the past has had selective distribution. this collection together, was the rise of the 'Millennial consumer'. A lot of it
We recognise that we have iconic products in the collection and we want was built more around urban sport. While we talk about trail, there is a link
to give outdoor consumers the opportunity to purchase them alongside the to that and no doubt further down the line as we extend this collection we
performance product. We will focus on resort locations such as the Lake will be looking in that way.
District where we’ll have 12 new stockists by the Autumn.
SGB: What is the core of the TMA range? What about apparel?
SGB: Has your core outdoor customer changed? Technical products are now PH: The way we approach everything is as a ‘footwear first’ company and
accepted more broadly, the fleece is ubiquitous on British streets… It's only we have a brand diamond where each and every product has to touch one
the most technical products that are exclusively for the outdoors consumer part of that diamond to fit. The product is about quality, it’s about
now. innovation and in some form there has to be an environmentally-friendly
PH: We are fortunate in that our end customer has always been part of that aspect to it as well. We start with footwear first, but from the apparel
perspective the way we are set now is that the US have their own licensing
agreement with apparel.
Everything that is sold or distributed outside of the US is designed in
London. They took the more outdoor-performance-type products back
about 18 months ago and as we move forward there will most certainly be
an apparel collection to sit alongside TMA.
It’s not going to mean a change in the general Timberland apparel in the
UK…we already have the Outdoor Adventure range which sits very nicely
with the outdoor-specific footwear that we have today, and we have had
very very good response to it for the sell-in for Autumn ‘09.
SGB: What are the standout products for TMA?
PH: In the Mountain Athletics line the standout would be a couple of
products - The All-Mountain Inferno, which is a Gore-Tex® product, and the
Route Racer which will be featured in the TV advertisement. Both are very
noticeable in terms of the bright colours that we are using.
SGB: How are you going to reach retailers and educate them about your
MARCH 2009 SGB OUTDOOR 11
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