“A Cause Marketing Campaign Concept for Birkenstock in Collaboration with Soles4Souls” is a college group project of Marc Azzi, Madeleine Lossie, Yejin Kim, Jaie Padhye and me. This is no real campaign of Birkenstock or Soles4Souls and just a theoretical concept for our class at LIM College. I will share parts of this project in short form below. Find all references by clicking here.
A Cause Marketing Campaign Concept for Birkenstock in Collaboration with Soles4Souls
Brief Background of Birkenstock
Tradition since 1774 in Germany
- 1896 – Konrad Birkenstock begins manufacturing and selling flexible footbed insoles
- 1964 – Madrid model was launched; first fitness sandal with a deep and flexible footbed
- 1966 – Birkenstock entered US market
- 1988 – Environmentally-friendly production standards worldwide
- 1990 – Production expanded and modernized to reduce energy consumption
- 2016 – Brand celebrates 50 years in the US
Brand positioning & competitive category
It is positioned as a premium-quality footwear brand with heritage of European craftsmanship.
“The original, iconic Birkenstock footbed is known for its high-quality natural materials: cork, latex and jute. Step in and experience for yourself the unrivaled comfort and support.” – Birkenstock
Brief Background of Soles4Souls
- Originally founded as a disaster relief organization where philanthropist shoe executives provided footwear to people impacted by Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005
- Officially formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2006
- Since 2006, distribution of more than 30 million shoes in 127 countries to needy, poor people
- Over half of distribution events occur in the US
“Soles4Souls created sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world.” – Mission Statement Soles4Souls
Birkenstock’s Business Challenges
Birkenstock’s shoes are often called as “Pretty Ugly”, somehow pretty but at the same time also ugly. They are only cyclically fashionable and associated with hippie and eco style. They still have an old-fashioned image and are often associated with a household shoe of parents or grandparents. Birkenstock’s current target audience are people in their Forties and older. Unfortunately they are fighting big problems with counterfeit products and unauthorized selling. Additionally they are not available on Amazon anymore which lead to a decrease in sales.
Timberland, Wolverine and Deckers are under their top competitors.
Birkenstock’s Business Opportunities
Birkenstocks are still timeless and casual. They are well-know and appreciated for their high premium quality products. Through the anatomically shape of the sole their shoes are high in comfort and are contributing to healthy feet. Customers can wear them in combination with almost any spring or summer outfit, or for a relaxed evening at home. Birkenstock offers a variety of styles and colors and invents their famous shoe always new. Their biggest opportunity is to attract a younger customer base again by redefining their target audience. This can be accomplished by our proposed cause marketing campaign.
The proposed Cause Marketing Campaign Concept for Birkenstock
The proposed cause marketing campaign for Birkenstock will launch at the New York festival “Pinknic” in June. 10% of the ticket price will go to Soles4Souls directly. They will have their own booth there where they sell a special edition of pink and white (suiting the festival colors) Birkenstock sandals. People can come in and give their old pair of shoes to the booth and will receive a discount of 50% on a new one. For every old pair of shoes and every sale of a new pair, a pair of shoes gets donated to Soles4Souls. After the launch at the festival the campaign still runs in regular shops and online.
Building Brand Equity through the Cause Marketing Campaign
Birkenstock’s image will change from old-fashioned to ”en vogue” through presenting the cause at Pinknic. A younger target audience will be reached (mid 20ties to 30ties) which helps to invoke new brand feelings in a younger generation. The brand will establish itself as a trendy, healthy shoe which leads to social approval among all participants of the festival. Birkenstock will establish itself in a new market sector as a brand that wants to do good in the world. Also, Soles4Souls is a very well-established non-profit with a clear goal to help end poverty by distributing shoes, collecting donations etc. which makes it the best partner for the campaign.
Approaches for a measurable Outcome
The event sells 12,000 tickets which are already sold out. These 12,000 people are potential customers at the booth. Sales, both online and brick and mortar, are expected to rise after the festival. An uplift in the following and engagement on Social Media Channels will be noticeable for both Birkenstock and Soles4Souls. Additionally the festival will run under the hashtag #BirkenSouls which will animate the engagement and participation online. The familiarization with a new target audience, social media engagement and a general rise in awareness will follow.