Recently, we had a brief meeting with a client who wants us to handle marketing communications for their group of businesses. The client said something that got us musing about what we will be sharing in a jiffy. The client said, “I don’t want mere advertising. I want marketing communications”. We are delighted whenever a client makes that vital distinction. So today’s lesson is on marketing communications using the shoe brand called Camper.
Camper is a contemporary footwear brand from the island of Mallorca, Spain. Founded in 1975, it is a family business (of about four generations now) with a rich shoemaking heritage that it uses to create unique designs. As of 2011, over 6 million feet around the world wore Camper shoes for that season. On some of those feet, the left shoe and the right shoe didn’t match, such are the originality and playfulness with which the Camper brand invites the world to share its enthusiasm for that most ordinary and honest of human endeavours: WALKING.
We found the statement below on their website for their shoe collection called TWINS:
“Opposite yet Complementary. In 1988, we challenged the idea that shoes must be identical by designing a pair where the right shoe was different than the left. Since then, TWINS has been revisited each season through new typologies, treatments, and materials that continue to play with the idea of mismatched design.”
Camper cares about SLOWNESS – it promotes the notion of the ‘WALKING SOCIETY’. It abhors the trend towards speed in modern life, as exemplified by brands like McDonald’s and Nike. Instead, it invites us to slow down and take in the wonderful world around us, assuming we haven’t lost our capacity for the appreciation of the simple joys on offer. For Camper, putting one foot in front of the other isn’t just a means of locomotion; it is one of the defining characteristics of our bipedal species, a reminder of our connection with the history behind us and the earth beneath us.
“Contact earth” is one of Camper’s much-repeated marketing themes. The brand name Camper means “Peasant” in Catalan. And for Camper, the brand name represents the Peasant Way of Life – austerity, simplicity, and discretion, which is reflected in the design rhetoric of the shoes, communicated on the website, the give-away booklets at their stores, and so on.
You may want to stop here and read from the beginning again, thinking about your own business this time.
What kind of brand do you want to build?
What is the story and heritage you are creating for the brand?
How long will you do mere hustle?
No matter the size of your business, you can start putting these perspectives into place.
In a fast-paced world, Camper is talking about slowness and has built a very successful global brand. That is what branding is about – to truly be unique in what you do. Making your business have its own life, purpose, and why it exists makes the difference in your marketing.
Don’t just tell your target audience to buy, tell them what you are about, and they will fall in love with what you are selling. When was the last time Coke told you about beverage? It is mostly about happiness and friendships.
Remember our lesson on “big idea”. Camper is another reminder of why you need one. Define what makes you unique, articulate how it relates to humanity or something of essential concern, then communicate it as much as you can. It is a game-changer.
Did you pick a lesson?
If yes, leave a comment and share it with others.We can build amazing brands in Africa, one step at a time.