Woodland reinvents market strategies to catch ‘em young

Woodland, the leader in outdoor and adventure footwear in India, is reinventing its marketing strategy and its core target group of customers, to focus on teenagers in an attempt to capture buyers young and retain them through their active youth years.

“Our core target group in Woodland has been 17-25 year olds. We now want to make the company younger by reorienting this focus to 12-25 year olds. Teenagers are not only keenly aware of brands and the latest fashion trends, they are in fact, becoming the fashion trend setters, unlike the past where their older brethren used to set the trend and the younger siblings would follow them,” Harkirat Singh, managing director of Woodland, a part of the Canadian Aero group, told Financial Chronicle. The Rs 700-crore company’s design and development team has therefore been given a mandate to focus on vibrant and peppy designs for footwear and apparel for teenagers.

“We are getting closer to this target group through social media, whether on Facebook where we already have six lakh fans who like us, YouTube, Twitter, or through events on the ground in different cities across north, south and west India,” said Singh. The company that sells adventure equipment, weatherproof jackets and leather footwear has been actively associating with college festivals putting up small Woodland adventure zones in these locations to expose more target customers to its brand. In addition it has also tied up with specialist outdoor adventure organisers to run an ‘Adventure Club’ that reinforces its brand tagline of ‘Explore More’.

“We organise camps, treks, safaris to help reinforce our brand association with adventure and nature,” said Singh. These include Camp Panther at Rishikesh, Leopard Beach tented camp at Shivpuri village of Uttarakhand, Himalayan Bear stream camp at Pauri Garhwal, Camp Tusker at Haridwar, Camp Blue Bull in Madhya Pradesh, river rafting/kayaking activities, trekking, wild life safaris, cycling and rappelling, fishing and skiing.

“We are using the planks of adventure and ecological responsibility to connect with youth across the globe as we find this is a common language that cuts across nationalities. We plan to open our own retail stores in overseas markets once we get a better understanding of our target audience in key export markets such as Saudi Arabia, Dubai, South Africa, Hong Kong and Singapore,” said Singh. The company also plans to have local language pages of Woodland on social media to engage with youth in those geographies that are its target customers. At present, exports constitute between 20-25 per cent of its total sales.

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