Levi’s is a 162-year old brand that has earned the reputation for quality products and reliable services. It has in many ways surpassed the regular notion of a “brand”, expanding into the “lifestyle” realm. Much of this is due to the way customers engage and feel about a product.

Anit van Eynde - Levi'sSavage connected with Anit van Eynde, Vice President of Brand Marketing at Levi Strauss&Co, to better understand how the company has stayed connected and continues to innovate in brand activation, engagement, influencer marketing, and strategy.

S: How has Levi’s brand engagement and activation adapted to Millennials and Gen Z?
AvE: Our brand values speak to all generations in a consistent tone of voice. Authentic self expression and being at the center of culture has been our philosophy where we embrace real-world experiences and use online and social media as a forum to continue that dialogue and engagement, and to connect with new and old fans. What unites these activities is that they build meaningful long-term relationships with a network of people who have stories to tell and who connect with our brand values. The aim is to create engaging experiences in the real world that people will want to share again and again, and for Levi’s to continue to be a go-to brand in their journey during the key moments within their lives.

Right now – and this is important when talking especially about the millenials – the influence of streetwear brands, style and culture on the fashion industry is undeniable. Macro trends such as the casualization of fashion as well as its democratization, in part through the rise of channels like Instagram have been important contributors to this.

We then need to factor the massive influence of streetwear and the 1990’s in fashion at the moment. We’re seeing it as a real return to authenticity and near-now nostalgia. Our collaborators are at the forefront of this movement, Vetements, Off-White and of course, Supreme –give further authentic hype.

The 90’s were a high point for our brand. Music, fashion – the people who were pushing culture forward were doing it in Levi’s. What we at Levi’s find fascinating is that the millennial kids – who were just twinkles in their parents’ eyes during the 90’s – are the ones propelling the retro trend most.
They don’t only desire to wear authentic brands, they also want to have authentic experiences, whether that’s through fashion, travel or food.

This is what we’re also taking in account when creating our new brand activation campaigns.

S: What is your approach to influencer marketing and how does this affect your brand strategy?
Brand Activation - Levi'sAvE: We live in a globally connected world, and while there’s not a one size fits all approach, we look for a common thread that runs through all of our external partners that we work with – and they align with our brand values. Levi’s ambassadors are the generations who wear their wardrobe hero’s in an authentic way, they feel effortlessly cool when they put on their beaten up vintage pairs or rock their new purchases.

We’ve been worn by laborers of the American West, to pioneers and innovators to street-style icons, rock stars and everyone in between. So it’s not always about working with someone with the biggest audience figures, it’s about partnering with someone who has a voice and an engaged audience to share it with.

Going back to living in a globally connected world – this gives us the opportunity to see how our fans – who are at the center of everything that we do – react: they like, they comment, they buy product and they wear it .

S: Capturing, analysing and working off customer and audience data has been a question of much debate among retailers. How do you track and work off the data you receive both in store, offline, and online to create better brand engagement and influence customer behaviour?
AvE: We utilize an in depth marketing analytics tool that measures all marketing activities versus sell-out and equity/MS….. Furthermore, e.g. for PR activations, we continue to believe in the importance of individual manual observation to ensure high quality results and an ultimate analysis.

S: How has Levi’s adapted to the way consumers engage with content? What has been your experience with content marketing and the innovation AR/VR, MR, and AI assistants bring to the retail industry?
AvE: We see the constant growth of digitalisation and also importance of gamification when it comes to current consumer engagement trends and we’re taking these into account when creating new engagement concepts. For example, last year, we launched the 247 Levi’s® app in Europe. The app rewards you for living in Levi’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: registered users can get new styles or explore the city to earn coins and use them to get discounts for Levi’s® products, tickets for cool events and more. This way, we combine digital and analog – in a fun way consumers like to experience!

Levi’s strongly believes to not forget about the power of the real world, and think about how you can bring real world experiences to the digital world. We like to maintain a balance between the online and the offline world.
There’s a reason why we physically gather at conferences like Savage Marketing. It’s because some experiences are just better in real life. And the best ones you’ll post about because you’ll want to share them and relive them. This belief will always be of big importance in our consumer engagement strategies.

S: What is your golden rule to stay true to the Levi’s way of marketing?
AvE: It all starts with a crystal clear strategy that informs not only your decisions on what you are going to do, but, almost as importantly, what you’re NOT going to do. We always focus on three key pillars:

  • Levi’s leadership is all about being the most loved denim brand in the world.
  • As the world’s original and most authentic denim brand, Levi’s products have also long been a blank canvas for authentic self-expression and this is something we wanted to continue to celebrate.
  • And then, we’ve always been at our best as a brand when we’ve been at the center of culture, and so we’ve made it a priority to put the brand back at the center of popular culture, the social zeitgeist and of youthful optimism.

These pillars inform everything that we do as a brand.

S: What is your proudest moment in 2018 and why?
AvE: In a world, where consumers’ primary vehicle for interacting with a brand is through a screen and their attention span is just three seconds, we continue to create “real world personalised experiences” and build content creation strategies that enable us to amplify these experiences through the digital world.

This strategy drives brand relevancy with different consumers, put the brand back at the center of culture and enables us to speak with existing fans and create new ones through an authentic voice, through self expression and focusing on our core values. This strategy clearly drives our brand and business in Europe; this is something that really makes me proud everyday.

Don’t miss your opportunity to meet Anit in person and discuss brand marketing strategies at Savage Marketing 2018 Conference. Reserve your seats now!

Anit van Eynde Savage Marketing Speaker

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