One of those competitors whose home is also synonymous with winter weather, L.L. Bean, is a case study in what can happen when a brand abandons the place that made it so special. Only 25% of L.L. Bean products are still “Made in Maine,” and its famously loyal customers have noticed. The company recently reduced its lifetime warranty to only one year after purchase (with a receipt), and though the brand blamed the backtrack on customers who were taking advantage of the policy, it probably has more to do with the fact that customers are simply returning a lot more products than they used to, back when the bulk of the brand’s products were still manufactured in Maine.
Obviously, not every brand can use its home state or country as the foundation for its marketing. However, Canada Goose proves that if a brand tells a powerful story of place, of authenticity and legacy, then consumers are willing to pay extra for it.
In 2018, Canada Goose installed “cold rooms” in five of its 12 brick-and-mortar retail locations. This experiential retail concept is as simple as it sounds: consumers can walk into a -27 degrees Fahrenheit room, complete with ice sculptures, to test out the legendary warmth of Canada Goose gear.
The idea originated with the cold room at home in Canada where the brand tests all its new products. It’s also a great example of what the future of retail might look like. Brick-and-mortar retail was already in trouble before the COVID-19 pandemic, and that trend will only continue as retailers absorb the financial hit of a year of lockdowns and restrictions.
While Canada Goose is hardly the first brand to debut novel retail experiences in an effort to draw consumers away from Amazon and e-commerce, Canada Goose’s cold rooms offer another advantage. As CEO Dani Reiss said to Fast Company, “We’ve found that the cold room is very exciting to customers right now, but we think it will continue to have value long after the novelty factor has worn off. It means customers can explore buying a coat in the summer months, when it’s hot outside.”
For brands to survive in the future, they simply can’t afford more than half a year of seasonal downtime during which consumers aren’t shopping for their products. Canada Goose has found an innovative way to bring a bit of Canadian cold to its customers, even in the dog days of summer.
How BMDG Can Help Transform Your Brand
Part of what makes Canada Goose such a special brand is found in the brand’s name: Canada. As we’ve seen, the brand’s home is valuable reputational real estate, especially when it comes to selling winter gear. At Britton Marketing & Design Group, our home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is equally essential to our success. We’re inspired every day by its people, its unique blend of urban excitement and rural serenity, and the insights it gives us into helping brands market to the New American Middle.
We recently partnered with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership (NEIRP) to rebrand the region we call home. The tagline we came up with—Make It Your Own—captures the newfound vitality and entrepreneurial spirit that is at the heart of the region’s transformation from a manufacturing center into a center for innovation.
At BMDG, we love nothing more than finding new and innovative ways to help our clients tell the story of the place they call home, and using that story to connect with consumers.
Images: canadagoose.com, Instagram, Business Insider