Integrated Marketing and a Brand Relaunch Done Right

When I get the chance I like to highlight great examples in the area of integrated marketing.  One I recently have come across is a new brand relaunch campaign for Keds footwear. In an attempt to revitalize their brand and make them hip to the 18-24 year old demographic they have pulled all the pieces together, integrated multiple relevant touch points and did it methodically over multiple years to grow interest.

So, what exactly is Keds doing?  First of all they have clearly defined their target audience (Adults 18-25) and are going after them in ways that make sense.  What’s more, they have been building up to this campaign for 2 years laying the groundwork including revamping the website, initiating fashion partnerships and joining forces with museums and retail outlets.  Keds also started a new advertising campaign in 2009 as a way to reintroduce the brand and it’s positioning to their target demo.

Keds has created a multi-faceted campaign with elements that should resonate with this target.  For starters, they are using influencers on college campuses to create excitement.  Specifically, they are targeting large campuses with strong arts and fashion programs which coincides with the individual style and creativity elements of the promotional campaign.  These school choices clearly make tremendous sense.  They are also using significant social media to generate interest and interaction with the brand.

(Click below to see the actual Keds site)

Let’s look at the key elements of the plan:

  • A mobile vehicle in the shape of a shoebox will be visiting college campuses in nine US cities.  The vehicle includes interactive touch-screens where visitors can watch videos of local artists, locate Keds retail outlets and learn about charity organizations that Keds is working with.  Also included is a gallery of Keds shoes inspired by each city being visited.  Outside the vehicle there are multiple activities including a kiosk where students can design and then purchase their own Keds.
  • A shoe-design competition that includes a $1000 prize for the winner and a $5000 donation to an art-based charity of their choice.
  • Charity component where Twitter users can post messages describing what inspires them about their city.  For each post $1 will be donated to a local art-based charity in that city.
  • Local artists in each city will use the sneakers as a canvas and will also create a mural on an 8-foot canvas inspired by the Twitter postings.
  • YouTube campaign with video from the tour and the artists participating in each city.
  • A fashion show will take place in each market using local models wearing Keds shoes and clothing from local designers.  They will also include performances from local bands and DJ’s.
  • Student ambassadors have been hired for each campus to promote the events and help run the local elements.
  • Advertising campaign featuring charitable and art-based initiatives.

The website pulls all of these elements together very well and each of the different activities is clearly identified.  This campaign has just kicked off and the Facebook page and Twitter feeds are already talking about it.  The PR plan is not totally clear, but it is apparent that the PR folks are working hard as they landed a big NY Times article, local newspaper interviews and numerous blog posts.  However, I couldn’t find an actual press release.

Integrated marketing leverages the right promotional and advertising vehicles to achieve the brand’s goals.  If the goal here is to broaden appeal and reintroduce this iconic brand to the target I think they are doing and effective job of using integrated marketing.  It remains to be seen how successful it will be as this is just launching, but from an integrated marketing perspective it is a great example of how to do things the right way.

For more details you can also read this NY Times article.

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Susan Zweibaum

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