Lingerie Goes Multichannel
Sep 2 2014
Triumph, the nearly 130 year-old multinational lingerie and undergarment company, is going through some changes. I recently had the chance to sit down with their Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, Mario Pace, and talk about them. You’ll be able to hear Mario expound on this topic in person, along with marketers from the Weather Company and Hiscox Insurance, at Incite Summit: East.
Triumph is a venerable, well-established, and hugely successful brand throughout Europe and Asia. Recently, they’ve begun moving into the North American market. As they’ve been expanding into the US, they’ve also taken a thorough look into how they run their marketing.
“Right now at Triumph, we’re in a very delicate and important transition phase from marketing 1.0 and 2.0 into marketing… something else.”
You see, most lingerie marketing hasn’t been quick to adopt new practices.
“Traditionally, lingerie marketing is about a flawless picture of a woman under a spotlight, and nothing else. Traditional print is what most of the brands do, if they do it. Most of the time they don’t even do that.”
Mario and his department are trying to be different.
“Basically, what we’re trying to do at Triumph today, specifically with the launch in the USA, is to develop more of a multichannel, 360 degree marketing approach. Trying to shift resources, efforts, and energies to the digital space, big time. Trying to engage in conversation. Trying to make content that promotes and is a vehicle for that conversation.”
“We need to engage with what we believe is key to the consumer. We have identified a brand pillar: the fit. Not sexiness, not seductiveness. It’s the fit.”
And if anyone has the experience and know-how to do that, it’s Triumph:
“We’ve been around for 130 years. We know women, we’ve been shaping women since 1886. We’ve been seeing and fitting women from corsets to modern bras. We want to entertain that conversation on fitting issues and fitting needs, because that’s the background and foundation of our company.”
However, this shift or return to a fitting focus didn’t come from just anywhere.
“In the past, it was all studio shots under beautiful lights. Kind of aloof, kind of distant. We started asking ourselves the question: ‘Is this what women really want?’ That woman looking for self-confidence, for advice from a brand, is that what she really wants?”
That question was the beginning of a comprehensive, organization-restructuring customer first initiative.
“Last year, we interviewed, 10,000 women from 6 different countries, and we asked them: ‘Are you happy with your underwear?’ We discovered 69% of them were wearing the wrong sized bra. From there, we started an ongoing listening report, which triggers from digital and feeds all the way down into the customer experience.”
This has led to a demand for completely new roles in Triumph’s marketing department.
“What we need in-house are digital strategists, people who know how to intercept and listen to what the conversations are, what people are asking on Google, what they’re saying on Twitter, and from there building the proper strategy to own that space.”
Mario and his team are finding that, with these new roles, they’re able to be a part of a growing conversation.
“When we bring in people with these competences and explain what the needs of the brand are, we’re finding it’s a wonderful match. People with no experience in our industry—but with experience in engagement and listening—discover the potential of the conversation.”
By listening to their customers and finding this new discussion space, Triumph is trying to change not only the way people look at their brand, but at how they look at their own bodies.
“We’re trying to morph a taboo: talking about your body, talking about the ‘glitches’ in your body, the intimate, difficult moments. We’re trying to change that from being a weakness to being a point of differentiation and strength. Up until a few years ago, we would have thought that this was too intimate a place, that we couldn’t even get there. But now we’re untapping great potential.”
With this new focus, Triumph is looking towards an entirely different marketing future.
“I believe in the future, with this multi-channel, omni-channel business approach, the marketing department here in Triumph in the US will have to grow to include and incorporate a more multifaceted marketing department. We’ll definitely need to have an experiential marketing expert who can weave that brand experience through our different channel—be they brick and mortar, online, or in different departments. As the business grows, the content and editorial side needs to grow as well. The conversation will go on as we uncover new areas, even within the fitting topic itself. For that we definitely need content specialists, and the people who know how to editorialize the brand message.”
So as Triumph expands across the US, you’ll be able watch in real time as an old brand learns new tricks, and see what happens when a company that’s been around for over a century makes listening to and engaging with their customers in new ways its first priority.
“It might not sound like new music for people working in other categories out there. But for us, it’s a radical revolution. It’s a Copernican revolution.”