Woodland banks on CSR, activation & digital for growth

Woodland has earmarked Rs 100 cr for retail expansion, even as it partners with NGOs & Volkswagen for its CSR initiatives and enters the personal care space

e4m by Simran Sabherwal
Updated: Jul 3, 2013 9:24 AM
Woodland banks on CSR, activation & digital for growth

Woodland had entered India in the early 90’s, a niche brand making inroads in a then ‘non-existent’ segment, at a time when specialised and international brands were still to discover the country. Overcoming the initial resistance from customers to try the product, the company has grown and is looking not just to ramp up its stores, but also extend its product portfolio to adventure gear and personal care, while remaining true to the brand philosophy of adventure.

Woodland claims that its holds 85 per cent of the market share in the adventure footwear category and 5 per cent share of the total branded footwear market and is still seen as a predominantly footwear brand with footwear contributing around 65 per cent of total revenues. However, the apparel and adventure gear categories have seen growth and now make up to 35 per cent of the revenue, up from 30 per cent. While 70 per cent of Woodland’s revenue is currently from tier I cities, the company is betting on tier II and III cities contributing 40 per cent of the total revenues in the future.

Woodland recently introduced its campaign “Why Stop?”, which is an extension of the company’s tagline “Explore more”, asking the consumer to give in to their explorer instinct. Woodland traditionally extends its international campaigns to the Indian market for its TVC and print communication and the latest TVC is a continuation of that.

However, on the digital front the company uses ‘elite ambassadors’ (adventurers who can inspire people to try the outdoor life) to target its core TG, aged between 18 years and 25 years.

The major chunk of the marketing budget (8-10 per cent of the total revenue) is spent between the months of September and January, a period when almost 60 per cent of the brand’s revenues comes in. While traditional media – print and television – garners a major portion of the kitty, the digital medium too plays a crucial part in the company’s marketing mix.

Woodland also stresses on activations in a bid to get customers to use the product in rugged terrains. As part of this, the company organises camping trips, camps (a trip to the Mount Everest Base Camp is planned in the future), get customers to experience ATV rides, mountain climbing walls in schools and collaborating with music festivals as part of its experiential marketing efforts.

With the focus on the environment and outdoor, the brand’s CSR initiative – ProPlanet – is also an effort by the company to remain true to its core philosophy to keep the environment safe, and is backed by innovation and technology. Carbon neutral stores, which offset carbon footprint by planting trees or getting carbon credits from consumers or products, an eco-index indicating the impact of the product on the environment or even linking employees’ appraisal and KPIs to community work and tree planting are among the many methods adopted.

Woodland’s brand associations, too, have followed the same principle – planting 60,000 trees in a campaign with youth channel MTV, working with various NGOs to promote sustainability or even promoting adventure-motor sports as green partners of Volkswagen India.

Amol Dhillon, Vice President, Strategy & Planning, Woodland shared, “We are also the first brand in the world to run a campaign on LinkedIn, where we ask Indian corporates to come out with joint ideas on how to make a greener economy and take a leadership position in terms of sustainability.” The various activations and initiatives of the company are connected back to the social media platforms.

Going forward, Woodland, which has over 400 exclusive standalone stores in India and clocked revenues of Rs 850 crore in the last fiscal, is on an expansion drive. Dhillon informed, “We plan to add 60 stores in the current financial year and grow by almost 25-30 per cent YoY.” The company has earmarked Rs 100 crore for this expansion.

Some of this growth would also be on account of the company expanding its product portfolio. The company has entered the adventure gear space and retails tents, sleeping bags, rucksacks and more. As part of its diversification plans, Woodland is also tying up with partners to retail camera, mountain-bikes, ropes and snow shoes. Woodland is also making its foray into the personal care space with co-branded and outsourced products such as creams and lotions for the eyes and skin, especially for adverse weather, by the end of the next quarter.

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