Volcom Presents A New Brand Vision To Retailers At Costa Mesa Headquarters
At a first-ever event of its kind, Volcom presented a new brand vision to a group of about 100 guests— 90% of which were key retail accounts— and endemic media outlets last Wednesday, July 9, before Agenda Long Beach got underway. The 23-year-old brand, now under parent company Kering (formerly PPR), is looking to its roots to create a different angle from which Volcom is viewed by consumers and retailers. It’s original tagline, “Youth Against Establishment,” is going away and being replaced with a statement that Volcom executives, including Co-founder and chairman of the board Richard Woolcott, say has been a part of the brand’s philosophy since day one.
Upon entering Volcom’s vast skatepark shrouded in fog, the crowd was seated for an elaborate video presentation with bright lights and loud music. That was followed up by an introduction of the brand’s new mantra, “True To This” based on its inception, history, and recent film, and supported by the tagline “Spiritual Intoxication,” a phrase Volcom thinks embodies the state of mind reached while in the moment surfing, skating, snowboarding, or doing whatever you are most passionate about.
“It’s all about simplifying, clarifying, and then amplifying,” says Volcom's Senior Vice President of Marketing Ryan Immegart, who explained that he and the rest of Volcom’s senior management team have been on the road for the past two months conveying this new brand platform to its partners. “The timing couldn’t have been more perfect with laying the foundation for this with our recent film. The momentum has been building, and this process has been an enlightenment period for the brand. I believe when we look back, the future of Volcom will represent the culmination at this time.”
Simple white tents, lights, and backdrops adorned the Volcom courtyard Wednesday, and greeted nearly 100 guests, who were served up wine or Volcom’s version of a Moscow Mule over dry ice, making the drink look a bit like an inviting science experiment. The lack of logos and white, simple backgrounds are also part of this overarching theme of simplicity, as Volcom hopes the athletes and stories around the brand will “speak for themselves.” As part of this next level roll out, Volcom has been building its staff to hone in on key underdeveloped regions such as Asia Pacific, and is also becoming more deliberate in its marketing campaigns moving forward, says Volcom CEO Jason Steris. The brand’s marketing efforts will be placed on four key categories that are seen as major growth opportunities: bottoms (denim, pants, and shorts), boardshorts, snowboarding, and women’s.
“We set out about 12 months ago and retooled our whole women’s program, and over the past three months we’ve seen enormous store comps,” says Steris. “I haven’t seen comps like this in ten years. It’s a big opportunity for us, and we’ve got the right team assembled. We will be focused on our team riders— Quincy [Davis], Coco [Ho]— and our brand ambassadors, team collection, and merchandising.”
Todd Hymel, COO of Kering’s Sports & Lifestyle division, explained that Kering’s role as parent company is providing Volcom with the support it needs to focus solely on creating and marketing the best products possible. Kering, a company that saw $14 billion in revenue and $2 billion in operating income in 2013, has plans to invest in Volcom for the long haul, not just the next 5 or ten years, says Hymel.
With that, Volcom’s Woolcott addressed the room of retailers and media. He started off by thanking everyone for supporting the brand from its humble beginnings, helping it grow to what it is today, and closed the presentation by sharing his thoughts on the future.
“I think it’s a great time for the industry,” says Woolcott. “Granted there is still a lot of challenges, but there is a lot of good energy right now, too—better than what we’ve seen in a long time. There’s newness, there’s freshness, there’s creativity, people are pushing themselves, and companies are getting better. We need that. That whole sea of sameness that we’ve all been struggling with over the past couple of years, I see that going away— particularly when I walk into your stores.”