© 2019 Ben Grossman

"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."  - Maya Angelou

CASE STUDY:

L.L.BEAN
BE AN OUTSIDER AT WORK

L.L.Bean recently doubled down on a new rallying cry to the public: Be an Outsider. As the campaign took off, L.L.Bean’s Brand Engagement team, a progressive combination between social media, content, public relations, experiential marketing and dynamic retail, needed to begin to deliver proof on its promise to help people experience the shared joy of the outdoors.

 

And to ensure that its connection with consumers was authentic, L.L.Bean wanted to focus on earning its way into the hearts and minds of its target audience.

 

Here’s how we made it happen.

The Challenge

After more than 100 years in business, L.L.Bean is widely known as an apparel brand, stuck in consumers’ minds as Fall and Winter products on the pages of catalogues. 

 

In order to be taken seriously as the modern outdoor retailer it is, the brand had to be known as a champion of time spent experiencing the shared joy of the outdoors. L.L.Bean needed a way to gain cultural relevance during a time when it hadn’t even been part of the conversation.

 

The Insight

As much as L.L.Bean’s consumers love the outdoors, they don’t get nearly enough of it. One big reason? The gross majority of the brand’s “outsider” target audience have traditional desk jobs. In fact, 95% of their time is spent indoors, and nearly half of that is spent at the office. 

 

Yet research shows that when we spend more time outside, we’re better workers: 50% more productive, 300% more creative, and 92% are happier. In other words, work doesn’t have to be a place we go – it’s a thing we do. And we’re better at doing it outside. But if we were going to change workplace behavior, we knew we’d need to do something to disrupt the biggest routine our audience has.

The Idea

“Be an Outsider at Work” became a movement to help people get more of the outside into their work days.

 

We started by asking a few provocative questions: What if open floor plans were truly open? Is blue sky thinking better done under a clear blue sky? Would more bright ideas see the light of day if we did, too?

 

Then, we introduced the world’s first ever outdoor coworking space in partnership with innovative workspace brand Industrious and published research that proved the benefits of getting outside at work. In doing so, we didn’t just open a new type of office space, we opened people’s minds to the importance of the outdoors.

The Experience

Every part of the campaign gave “Out of Office” a whole new meaning.

 

Our outdoor offices opened in green urban spaces across L.L.Bean’s priority markets, from New York City, NY to Madison, WI; from Boston, MA to Philadelphia, PA. We invited the press, influencers and everyday workers to book an outdoor desk, team conference room or stationary bicycling desk to realize the benefits of working al fresco. As part of the experience, we leveraged L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Program to conduct tree-side team-building for some of the worlds’ biggest companies.

Concurrently, we released the results of a proprietary research study in collaboration with workplace strategist Leigh Stringer. An in-depth white paper, shareable infographic and snackable social content brought the research and actionable tips to life, demonstrating both the benefits and ease of spending just a few more minutes outside each day at work.

Popular digital publisher NowThis released videos that were shared digitally and talked about in office environments everywhere. A satellite media tour with local news channels across the country inspired workers with fresh perspective before they left for their morning commutes.

 

Results

Suddenly, L.L.Bean was being heralded on the front page of USA Today and in the Workplace Wellness pages of Forbes. The brand had quickly changed both the way people viewed work  and thought about the brand. And workers across the country were all in.

USA Today Covers L.L.Bean Be an Outsider a Work

Thousands of employees from some of the world’s most admired companies – Google, IBM, McKinsey, Superfly, Blue Apron, Pinterest and many more – booked co-working spaces with L.L.Bean and shared our digital content with their networks.  

 

Along the way, we captured plenty of the attention and began to change consumer mindsets:

  • 406 million earned media impressions across 478 placements

  • 4.6M digital engagements 

  • 73% lift in branded search

  • 91% participant likelihood to work outside in the future

  • 4.4x the industry avg. engagement rate