After more than 106 years in business, L.L.Bean was widely known as a fall and winter brand, represented in consumers' minds by the boots and flannel on the pages of its iconic catalogues.
The brand set out to become known as a champion of time spent experiencing the shared joy of the outdoors year-around. As summer approached, L.L.Bean needed a way to earn its way into the media and consumer conversation. But there was no meaningfully positive brand news on the horizon.
Based on L.L.Bean's key drivers of business strength, the following objectives and goals were set:
Social Engagement: Once we gained attention, we wanted people to engage with L.L.Bean's brand platform: "Be an Outsider."
- KPI: Social Engagements (likes, comments, shares)
- Goal: Exceed .1% Social Engagement Rate (Industry Avg. Engagement Rate)
Earned Relevance: L.L.Bean needed to earn its way into cultural conversation, to become a relevant warm weather outdoor brand among lapsed and prospective consumers.
- KPI: Total Earned Media Impressions
- KPI: Tier 1 Media Placements
- Goal: Exceed 150M Earned Impressions & 10 Tier 1 Media Placements (Highest earned media record for L.L.Bean to date, from 100th Anniversary Bootmobile Launch)
Behavior Change: Demonstrate an increased likelihood for participants to spend time outside and consider the L.L.Bean brand.
- KPI: Organic Search Volume
- KPI: Likelihood to Work Outside
- Goal: Exceed 15% Week 1 and 20% Total Campaign Search Interest (2016/2017 Google Trend Search Avg, Compared to 100% During Dec/Jan of Each Year) & 50% Likelihood to Work Outside (Behavior Change Goal)
L.L.Bean's core outdoor enthusiast target audience wasn't as "outdoorsy" as you'd think.
They spend 95% of their lives indoors. And 50% of that was at surprisingly stationary desk jobs. In fact, their jobs were the #1 barrier holding them back from spending time outside.
Yet research shows that working outdoors actually makes us better employees. We're 50% more productive, we're 3X as creative, and 92% of people are happier when they work outside.
Idea & Implementation
Be an Outsider at Work was a movement designed to help get more of the outside into people's workdays. We opened the world's first ever outdoor co-working space, provided native social tips to make working outside easy day-to-day, and published a white paper with research proving the benefits of getting outside at work.
Instead of starting by thinking about what L.L.Bean could post next, we thought about what the brand could do next that would be worth people – and the brand – posting about.
- The First Ever Outdoor Co-Working Space: We opened the first ever outdoor co-working space. It was the perfect manifestation of L.L.Bean's belief in the power of the shared (hence co-working) joy (hence focusing on productivity, creativity and happiness) of the outdoors (hence an accessible outdoor setting). We even partnered with innovative collaborative workspace brand Industrious to power a free online reservation system and social outreach to its modern workers.
- Influencer & Press Relations: We made sure to maximize the impact of our outdoor co-working office openings by inviting influencers and the press to work outside for the day, hosting Instagram stories, radio and TV remote segments, and a 27-interview satellite media tour. We then shared the stories, news coverage and broadcast clips through our owned social channels and paid social advertising.
- NowThis Native Video: Popular digital publisher NowThis, known for its ability to propel cultural ideas with social-first provocative pieces, released two videos documenting L.L.Bean's outdoor co-working space and research. This led to through-the roof social sharing and vibrant public comment threads among co-workers about putting L.L.Bean's ideas into action in their offices.
- Research White Paper: Bosses had to believe the outdoors delivered real work benefits, so L.L.Bean bucked category norms by co-authoring a whitepaper with pre-eminent workplace strategist and bestselling author of "The Healthy Workplace," Leigh Stringer. The "Be an Outsider at Work Handbook" was distributed through native advertising optimized to downloads on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and seeded with the press.
- Infographic: We created an infographic that documented key statistics from our research and offered simple reminders of how to get outside during the workday. It made a stellar email marketing asset and was widely cited by the press and bloggers.
- Digital Video Tips: On Instagram and Facebook, we launched a series of social-first silent video tips that made our big idea ultra-doable. Each one cited a compelling statistic (e.g. 50% increase in performance after 4 days working outside) and then a simple tip (e.g. A Fresher Outlook: Make outside spaces bookable conference rooms).
Suddenly, L.L.Bean was being heralded on the front page of USA Today (the #1 US newspaper) and quickly changed both the way people viewed work and thought about the brand.
Consumer Engagement: Thanks to over 3,972,000 campaign video views and 86,528 social engagements, L.L.Bean was at the center of conversation.
- Goal: .1% Social Engagement Rate (industry avg.)
- Result: .44% Social Engagement Rate (440% of goal)
Earned Relevance: L.L.Bean landed 478 earned placements in national and regional press, including The New York Times, CBS, NBC, Fox, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc. and The Boston Globe. PR message pull-through was 100%, with 83% carrying two or more messages.
- Goal: Exceed 150M Earned Impressions (previous brand best)
- Result: 406M Earned Impressions (271% of goal)
- Goal: 10 Tier 1 Media Placements (previous brand best)
- Result: 52 Tier 1 Media Placements (520% of goal)
Behavior Change: People loved the idea of working outside and 91% rated their experience working outdoors as a positive reflection on the L.L.Bean brand.
- Goal: 15% Week 1 and 20% Total Campaign L.L.Bean Organic Search Interest (2016/2017 avg)
- Result: 26% Week 1 and 22% Total Campaign L.L.Bean Organic Search Interest
(173% and 114% of goal respectively)
- Goal: 50% Likelihood to Work Outside (internal aspiration)
- Result: 95% Likelihood to Work Outside (190% of goal)
Press and consumer comments speaks for themselves:
"The next frontier in office space? The outdoors." – The New York Times
"L.L.Bean campaign brings new meaning to out of office." – AdAge
"Upset you missed it? Petition L.L.Bean to do it again." – Inc.
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