Interview: Content is king for Wrangler

International denim fashion brand Wrangler is set to put online and in-store content at the heart of its new EMEA marketing campaign, which is planned for the autumn/winter season.

The business is also looking at ways it can use some of the new technology and content marketing it has developed online, including features such as its "fit guides" and product GIFs, into stores, according to Edoardo Brutti, retail & trade marketing manager for Wrangler EMEA.

Commenting on his business, Brutti said: "We are focusing on tools that help us make our brand experience with consumers compelling and seamless between online and offline.

"When it comes to online, we have been investing in understanding how our consumers want to shop and how we can enable them to find what they want when they want it. We have also invested resources in creating content that explain our innovations that are at the heart of our product offer."

These include the aforementioned tools, which Wrangler wants to introduce to the shop floor "in order to engage with consumers and create more selling opportunities".

Essential Retail caught up with the Wrangler representative following this year's RBTE and Retail Design Expo (RDE), and Brutti described the shows, which took place in March, as having "a great portfolio of exhibitors, all with qualitative proposals resulting in a good inspiration for future ideas on how to understand and engage with consumers on a different level".

He revealed that he attended the events at London Olympia, alongside 12,000 other retail professionals, primarily for inspiration and networking.

On RDE, which ran for the first time this year, he added: "I was positively impressed with the excellence of the show considering that it was only at its first edition; a well-balanced mix of insights and practical solutions for retail brands, which was very well appreciated." 

Wrangler's parent company VF Corporation, which also owns brands such as Timberland, Lee, Vans and The North Face, announced its first-quarter results on 1 May – with jeanswear revenues up 1% year on year. Revenues for Wrangler were up 5% driven by strength in the Americas region, but a reported drop in European sales was attributed to weakness in Eastern Europe.

Operating income for jeanswear in the first quarter was up 2% to $132 million, with operating margin growing 20 basis points to 18.9%. Overall, the organisation is confident about the year ahead and says it is on track to deliver a record year to shareholders.

Detailing what is in the pipeline for the retailer in 2015, Brutti described the launch of the new brand platform, Born Ready, which is planned for this autumn, as "a big milestone this year".

"Born Ready is the role of Wrangler in today's world. Born Ready speaks to our roots of looking good and working hard," he noted.

The campaign will aim to promote Wrangler's new category, performance denim, which the retailer argues can be worn as a stylish fashion statement, whatever the weather conditions.

Overall, the company's core strategy is not dissimilar to those of the wider retail industry, with many businesses aiming to connect their digital and physical offerings so that customers have a seamless experience, no matter how they decide to engage with a brand. No retailer can safely say they have reached this goal, but the majority of businesses this publication talks to appear aware of the benefits of following this path.

On the tech challenges facing Wrangler, Brutti said: "Creating a real omnichannel experience is definitely a key one if you look at what consumers expect from brands today.

"They want the right product at the right time; they have no time to wait. The challenge here is to meet their expectation and always be ahead of the curve."

Talking specifically about eCommerce, he remarked: "Our main goal is to create the best possible experience in our category for our consumers online.

"It is not just about making jeans shopping easy and accessible. It is also about creating content that is worth seeing and giving people a reason to come back. We are investing resources in brand storytelling content that will be live in AW15 when we launch Born Ready. Stay tuned."