Showcase Marketing Case Study: Kentwool
Complete Website Rebuild, User Engagement Strategy, eCommerce & Social Commerce Development.
A Brief Company Overview...
KENTWOOL is an Upstate manufacturing company that’s well over a hundred years old and spans 6 generations. They process high-end Merino wool which is spun and shipped to larger wool product producers such as SmartWool, WigWam, St. John, and Loro Piana. For the life of the company, they’ve focused exclusively on business-to-business relationships—at least up until that point.
In 2008, things changed. KENTWOOL CEO Mark Kent was on the 18th hole at the BMW Nationwide Tour Pro-Am—in position to Eagle. However, he couldn’t take his mind off the pain of his badly blistered feet. "Why doesn’t anyone make a better golf sock,” he asked his caddy. After missing the putt and limping off the course in pain, Mark’s caddy asked: "You run a manufacturing company, why don’t you make a great golf sock?” It was a lightbulb moment…and KENTWOOL Socks were born.
KENTWOOL faced several challenges—not the least of which was shifting from a traditional B-to-B model to B-to-C. So the initial challenge was how they could differentiate the manufacturing side from the product side. The second challenge was how they could hit the ground running and drive huge exposure for the product, which they dubbed (and rightly so) The World’s Best Golf Sock. Finally, the third, and arguably biggest challenge, was introducing a premium product (a $20 sock!) in a down economy.
They went in search of marketing and PR advocates to help them craft their story and drive awareness both locally and nationally. They hired several local marketing and PR companies to assist in their efforts. Each of these afforded them some impact, mostly local.
Shortly after, they partnered with a national sports PR firm in Washington, DC to engage the 2-million strong hardcore golf audience. Under the PR firm’s direction, product sales grew and continued to trend upward. But to get to the next level would take a serious marketing effort, driven by a well-thought out Interactive Program. The PR firm challenged KENTWOOL to establish a national brand image and "look the part” in order to gain real traction as a national premium brand. That’s when they found Showcase. They came to us with one primary goal: "How can we get more online sales?”
Immediately, our team went into overdrive establishing national-level branding and developing online and interactive components to catapult sales and give them the credibility they needed to compete with major brands such as Nike, Reebok, etc.
We re-energized their branding elements and developed the KENTWOOL "look-feel,” including establishing several new websites for the KENTWOOL brand, one focused on the manufacturing side (www.KENTWOOL.com) and the other focused exclusively on the golf sock product (www.KENTWOOLsocks.com). In addition, we built KENTWOOL a first-class eCommerce solution that was deployed on their website (shop.KENTWOOL.com), Facebook Page (KENTWOOL FB), as well as a mobile site application. From the get-go, we have worked with KENTWOOL on every aspect of their branding and growth performance, including ad designs, product packaging, trade show displays, newsletters, and more.
All of these combined efforts—from branding, to marketing, to PR, to an optimized interactive program—have caused the KENTWOOL brand to exploded nationally, with several dozens of PGA & LPGA players endorsing their socks, including Bubba Watson (2012 Masters Champion), Matt Kutcher (2012 Players Championship winner), Ryan O’Toole (LPGA star), among others. In a relatively short period of time—less than a year—KENTWOOL has experienced phenomenal growth, as golf sock sales have more than tripled. They’re now in a staggering 200+ golf pro shops, as compared to only 25 from last year. And because of the success of their socks, they’re expanding their line of products beyond the golf course. Their cohesive and consistent branding and marketing techniques are paying off in dividends they could have only imagined just a few years ago. And now, the sky’s the limit for 2012 and beyond.
To learn more about Kentwool and the world’s greatest golf sock, visit: www.kentwoolsocks.com
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