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Here’s why Aigle’s new marketing strategy works amazingly well

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One of the advantages of having a strong brand is that meaningful diversification can enable you to unlock growth. Here’s the example of Aigle, an historic brand of rubber boots which has diversified into side products.

Aigle has manufactured its famous rubber boots since 1967 in Châtellerault (France) and launched its outdoor strategy in 1989. The group went through difficult times however and was taken over in 2004. The revamping of the logo and the “rebirth” of the brand follows the work done in 2006 and, among others, the opening of dedicated stores (like the one on the Champs Elysées in Paris) and the expansion in Asia (especially in China) where 43% of the revenues are made. This outdoor strategy is very much coherent with the implicit positioning of the plastic boots, the historical product.

For its 160th anniversary (the brand was created in 1853 under the name “La Compagnie du Caoutchouc souple”) the stores got a new visual identity with a strong emphasis on the traditional material and methods used. The boots are indeed made from natural rubber (and not synthetic one like for the cheaper products) and serve as anchor in the marketing strategy.

Yet the product diversification begins to be fruitful as the company moves from a mono-product strategy to a mono-purpose (outdoor activities) strategy. This strategy encompasses the development of textile products and shoes for different types of outdoor activities. Under the “outdoor” umbrella the brand has micro-segmented its offer.

 

Today 65% of the revenues are made from textile products, 15% from shoes and boots account for only 20%.

 

Advice for your marketing strategy

What Aigle did very well was to use a historic brand as an anchor for a new strategy. They did that in a very comprehensive and coherent way by enlarging the product scope and keeping the brand scope. In other words, the company was focused on outdoor activities; it remains today focused on that but more products are proposed to complement the original rubber boots.

The danger is obviously to enlarge unreasonably the scope (to eyewear, undergarments …) and also to lose the DNA of the brand (which is an authentic and traditional brand). One must therefore be very careful about the quality of the products and the distribution network. The quality of the whole range must be the same but you should also keep an eye on how your product is distributed to avoid losing this little touch of “exclusivity” that makes it attractive.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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