“Agility in the marketplace is going to be the most important thing for any brand,” Levi Strauss & Co’s vice-president and managing director for northern Europe, Richard Hurren, told delegates today at the Drapers Fashion Forum.
Describing Levi Strauss’s “change-it-up consumer journey”, Hurren explained: “We look at everything as a start-up, a 166-year-old start up. If we look at something in that way, there are no stupid ideas, and so it’s important that we keep that close to mind.”
“The consumer is no longer segmented,” Hurren added. “We can’t operate in silos as a distribution point. If the consumer sees ‘Levi’s’ above the door, they expect a Levi’s experience. Everything has merged now, and the whole channel-less approach is important for our future investment.”
To that end, Levi’s is being “prescriptive” in the ways in which it opens stores.
Hurren said: “By doing that we can navigate and control our brand equity. It’s easy for brands in a challenging and discounted marketplace to lose that.”
Central to creating an emotional connection with Levi’s customers is its personalisation and customisation offering. Noting the brand’s “legacy expectations” regarding customisation, Hurren said: “We keep customisation at the centre of everything we do. That for us has been a major part of our growth and development: using our products as a blank canvas is how we engage with our consumers.”
In 2018, the brand introduced print studios into stores, enabling them to learn more about customers’ logo preferences, which Hurren said “gives great insights into efficiencies into our supply chain and how we can leverage that into the wider organisation.”
Sustainability is a big focus of Levi’s. To date, it has saved around 3 billion litres of water through its sustainable initiatives.
However, Hurren noted the business has “been quite quiet” on its efforts: “We’re more about how we can impact our communities in which we operate and from a product development cycle. We haven’t been out there shouting about our sustainable credentials because the most important part is making that change. It’s more about what we do rather than what we say.”