Look anywhere this winter and then chances are you can see someone wearing canada goose, parka, or vest. The Canadian-based clothing retailer has become so successful at marketing its puffy, doughboy jackets as elite winter wear that they’re one of many season’s most favored brands. The company’s parkas, recognized by the round, two-inch patch about the left sleeve as well as the coyote fur-trimmed hood, once warmed arctic explorers and Canadian Rangers, these days are commonly spotted on celebrities like Emma Stone. More recently, like North Face fleece jackets and L.L. Bean bean boots, the white goose down-filled jackets are getting to be well-liked by students.
What sets Canada Goose apart from other outerwear companies are its exorbitant prices-$745 to get a women’s coat, $245 to get a hat at Bloomingdales. Prices may go as high as $1,700.
But those steep price tags haven’t hurt business somewhat. Fortune magazine reports that during the last decade, Canada Goose has seen revenues explode from $5 million to more than $200 million, with many experts predicting that figure could rise to $300 million at the end of the year.
Component of Canada Goose’s success can be associated with playing up its humble founding five decades ago in a tiny warehouse in Toronto (the outerwear remains made in Canada). And once private equity firm Bain Capital acquired a majority stake within the company in 2013 for the rumored $250 million, it was required to promise to keep the manufacturing there.
Canada Goose is actually a marketer’s dream, says Susan Fournier, School of Management Questrom Professor in Management and faculty director from the MBA Program. Fournier invented a subfield of promoting on brand relationships and researches how companies create value through their branding.
BU Today spoke with Fournier about Canada Goose’s ultrasuccessful logo and the methods it offers formed relationships with its customers.
BU Today: The reason why Canada Goose this kind of popular brand at the moment?
Fournier: I don’t their very own marketing plan looking at me. All I know is the fact their marketing comes from grassroots. They had a strong narrative, then it started getting found by certain groups. People started to think about hardcore Canadians braving the cold, so it became a fad after which transitioned from a fad right into a strong brand. I believe it’s mostly about this and keeping prices high, not going crazy with sublines like making lighter fall jackets, for example. Also protecting distribution therefore they don’t arrive for much less store like TJ Maxx or an outlet. It’s that, being smart enough to never kill it.
So you’re stating that some brands damage the things they have by expanding too quickly?
I feel that’s the way it is with a lot of things. Burberry came back now in popularity, nevertheless they were at an increased risk for a time, and exactly the same thing was true with Calvin Klein. They made their brands too available. If you’re gonna be exclusive, availability-both distribution and pricing-is the complete opposite of that, so you have to balance that tension really carefully.
In the advertising campaign, there is the four Ps: product, place, price, and promotion. The pricing as well as the distribution are the most significant for the brand this way. It’s growing, everyone wants it, so it’s difficult to say, “Well, we’re not going to make it readily available for everyone,” as you always want to serve shareholders and make the largest profit.
Is price the principle barrier for accessibility?
I do believe distribution, too. Barriers to accessibility would even be, “Can you get a hold of it?” You must work a bit harder to discover it. This brand has exclusive distribution; it’s not everywhere. Those are two barriers.
There’s lots of hardy outerwear out there-L.L. Bean, North Face, Patagonia. How have those brands convinced folks that winter gear is fashionable and even a luxury item?
That’s interesting too. The North Face has expanded hundreds and countless percent over the recent years, and so they could risk blowing everything up. But individuals are still to their ultra down coats, so that they will still be hanging in there. But they’re type of at this close edge.
At some point, several of these brands were only seen in small communities, like L.L. Bean was previously for fishermen and hikers, but they broadened. I do believe that’s the first step; you start out to shift the category frame that you think of this as. It’s not hard-core expedition wear, it’s about outer fashion. Outerwear is still outerwear, but you don’t need to go with an arctic expedition anymore.
The initial step is transitioning the company to fashion. Remember Swatch? The innovation in Swatch was that watches was once about timekeeping, and they managed to get about fashion. They told customers that in case they bought a Swatch watch, it absolutely was actually like they had 10 watches as a result of interchangeable bands. Same thing with eyeglasses. You once had one pair, and today people often have several with different designs.
Then it’s component of a trend that individuals are likely to pay more for. Folks are paying more forever quality things generally speaking. Look at the iPhone like a great example. Who within their right mind goosejacka to enjoy $800 on the phone? But we’re succeeding enough for an economy, and it’s become a little easier for a lot of people.
How about the backstory for businesses like Canada Goose? Will it be important to make a narrative around a brand to achieve success?
During these narratives you are feeling like you get to be aware of founder like a person. They’re adventure seekers. It’s the same thing with Patagonia and L.L. Bean. I believe that’s an enormous factor. Maybe more in contemporary consumption, much more so previously 10 or 20 years, this concept of the narrative is essential. There are numerous brands around when you don’t use a story, along with a character inside your story, you’re behind. Such as your English classes, you will need a character along with a plot to make a good story.
Having a story differentiates you and also gives your brand authenticity, which can be crucial for brands today. Harley Davidson is a great example-they already have this founder myth. The founders of Snapple were hugely important for getting Snapple off the floor; these were window washers. If you dig into some of your top brands, they all have these mythologies. Plus they possess some credentials in terms of authenticity.
Canada Goose doesn’t do plenty of advertising; it relies instead on product placement in movies and word-of-mouth. What’s so effective concerning this sort of advertising?
That’s type of what I was returning to. The beauty here is they don’t possess a advertising campaign using a capital M, meaning traditional stuff. Instead, they’re doing cultural branding. Cultural branding means you need your brand to naturally become area of the culture-put simply, placing these products to the audience that you want it to gain traction.
The technique is you try to get people to make use of the product and speak about it using their friends. That’s not in the hands of the marketing team; that’s at the disposal of the consumers. It’s far more powerful and credible, far more approachable. You would like to become part of culture. Whenever you become a part of culture, then you might get in to a movie using a scene where characters happen to be in an extremely cold climate. Hollywood wants brands that happen to be hot since they convey a lot of meaning, and yes it keeps going. Those people who are fashion bloggers want the manufacturer because it’s something which keeps going. It offers authenticity; it’s not likely to seem commercial, and it’s not pushing an item.
Why has Canada Goose chose to focus on the college market?
I don’t know the solution to that without seeing their marketing plan. I could possibly see teens as a target; I don’t know if it’s just college. But you figure college students might have the capability to afford these items, which it’s a good target audience, one that’s hip. They’re not targeting youngsters.
A BU student created a parody patch and raised funds on Kickstarter to manufacture the patches. Does Canada Goose reap the benefits of parodies that way?
All depends in the parody, but 80 percent of parodies are kind of good. If they’re choosing your main message, and discrediting you, that’s probably a bad idea. By way of example, Matthew McConaughey did several Lincoln car spots, and people made parodies that hit a little too near to home.
But go ahead and take case of Snuggie. Those blankets were offered on infomercials, then the parody world got ahold of these, and a great deal of parody commercials got loaded onto YouTube and that’s when that brand went nuts. A brand name wants men and women to accept them as part of today’s cultural fabric.
Every brand wants to have the product that everybody wants, therefore the challenge would be to keep it cool. The test for Canada Goose will be coming up, and let’s see when they can ride this wave and never kill it.