It is just over a year ago that Belgian accessory brand Kipling embarked on a full 360 degree rebrand – a change which saw the implementation of a new creative vision, embraced under the leadership of a new management team. Under the motto Live.Light, the relaunch aimed to attract a younger customer, an ‘urban adventurer’ with a vibrant and dynamic ‘on-the-go’-mentality. However, the move wasn’t so much about a revolution, but about a carefully crafted evolution that adopted change but also stayed true to the brand’s values and core philosophy as well as original creative vision and purpose of each product. The new mantra is “do fewer, but bigger”, with Kipling curating new products for a new lifestyle and attitude of the Millennial and Gen Z consumer.
“The full 360 degree rebrand saw Kipling look to attract a younger customer. Currently rolling out across 3000 locations worldwide, this new vision will meet the needs of a more modern customer, whose millennial lifestyle requires bags that are not just versatile, but also casual”, says Jurgen Derycke , Digital Sales & Marketing Director EMEA at Kipling.
According to Jurgen, a digital-first approach, teamed with a holistic, omni-channel perspective was key in the success of the rebrand and in achieving the desired results, not just in terms of improved sales, but also in terms of a genuine connection with its consumers. “We have a digital-first approach, but we also have an omni-channel view, including offline and online to create a complete experience. This approach is already paying off when it comes to reaching the new customer. It’s about an experience-driven and aesthetic approach, combined with social and e-commerce. Our goal is not only to sell, but to tell a story about the brand and functionalities of our products”, he explains.
Kipling’s style predominantly targets the 24-30 age group, a new generation who values an active life which is filled with city tripping and urban exploration, and this is the feeling not only Kipling’s design, but also the whole brand ethos and message tapped into. “They like to express themselves, going their own way. They cherish meaningful moments outside of work, make peer driven decisions when engaging with brands. They are inquisitive, witty, confident, adventurous and curious in the urban cities”, says Jurgen, adding that “out-of-the-box thinking” and an “injection of creativity” was required to develop Kipling’s relaunched ranges that offer “thoughtful designs with casual coolness”.
Jurgen believes that a good, targeted social and digital media strategy can build and drive brand loyalty, but that digital and social media campaigns work best alongside each other, complemented by traditional marketing. “Digital allows you to react faster and target your campaign more precisely to the right public. But we also work hand-in-hand with the trade marketing division in order to ensure a 360 experience. All campaigns are the result of close alignment between the regional and global team agreement where all efforts come together”, he says.
This new approach, which is so in tune with its young clientele, has also influenced Kipling as a company and employer and has opened up new positions within social and digital media, which also drives the progression of the brand. “We are always on the look-out for talent, especially in the digital world. After all, who knows this world better than a digital native”, says Jurgen. “The social media universe is in constant change; it’s challenging to keep up with the novelties. That’s what actually makes it fun and always interesting”, he adds.
As a global brand, Kipling continues to develop its marketing strategies with authenticity and a long-term vision, striving to lead the way with integrated campaigns that not only put its customers at the heart, but also provide a 360 experience and seamless journey through its brand message and communication. Today Kipling’s well-known bags and accessories are available around the world in over 80 countries. We are on a mission, to live a vibrant and colorful life – to go places you never been before. We lighten your step, powering your curiosity, to go your own way.
Kipling is a subsidiary of VF, the world’s largest apparel and footwear company comprised of over 30 brands.