China can bring a lot of surprise to global brands. In this particular case, The North Face, the global leader of authentic outdoor adventurism, found itself in the unfamiliar position of the 'underdog' in a market where outdoor had gone 'soft' to frivolous fashion because of market leader Columbia and powerful local brands' much earlier entry with media dollar fueled advertising. The challenge couldn't be more intimidating. Columbia dominated The North Face in every aspect including retail scale, media spending, brand awareness and market share. Plus, outdoor exploration needed to be lead back on the authenticity track.
In order to inspire an authentic outdoor movement, The North Face deep dived into cultural truth of modern China and sought after opportunity for market disruption. The efforts were well paid off.
Riding on the trend of people taking outdoor as the exit from the control of formatted and unhappy city life, the brand launched a national "Go Wild" campaign to directly engage people through social and digital innovation programs, avoiding the trap to compete competitors' media-spending driven advertising approach. The record level brand engagement enabled The North Face to make serious progress against market leader Columbia in both sales growth rate and cost-effectiveness, which ultimately helped to close the market share gap to within a whisker.
The North Face couldn't be more excited to be on fast track towards the north.
OTHER CONTRIBUTING COMPANY
CREDITS OF PEOPLE
Edward Bell, Head of Strategy, Ogilvy Shanghai
Morgan Cao, Senior Planner, Ogilvy Shanghai
Keen Yim, Business Director, Ogilvy Shanghai
Kelly Liu, Senior Account Executive, Ogilvy Shanghai
Kama Zhang, Creative Director, Ogilvy Shanghai
Stanley Tao, Head of Copy, Ogilvy Shanghai
Fiona Chen, Creative Director, Ogilvy Shanghai
Vivian Tu, PR Management, Ogilvy Shanghai
Jason Zhan, Social Strategy Director, Vitamine
Ripple Zhang, Senior Social Strategist, Vitamine