Hailed as a premier footwear and accessories brand, Cole Haan has focused on maintaining its trademark image while also investing in innovative technologies and strategies. For example, the brand partnered with Uber to extend same-day delivery to New York City customers.
Cole Haan also has made a series of significant investments to ramp up the digital experience. Over the past few years, the brand has re-launched its web site and developed a new app that offers Apple Pay as a payment option. Now, social media has become a key area of focus, especially as Cole Haan’s network of loyal brand advocates become more engaged and active across social networks.
“We’re always looking to innovate in that exciting, continually evolving space where e-Commerce meets social media,” said David Maddocks, CMO and GM of Business Development at Cole Haan. “Social media is where our consumer lives. Naturally, it makes sense for us to meet them where they are and serve them engaging, brand-building content. And, because of social media’s immense influence in culture today, it has become a critical component of our marketing mix and powerfully contributes to our brand voice and identity.”
Because social media has become an active playground for Cole Haan’s target customers — both current and potential — the brand has developed a vast toolkit of successful tactics and advertising strategies. Most recently, the brand has invested in Promoted Pins and Buyable Pins. It launched Buyable Pins on Pinterest in June 2015 through a partnership with Demandware, Cole Haan’s e-Commerce provider. With the new functionality, consumers can easily click and purchase items on their pin boards directly through the Pinterest iPhone and iPad apps.
Many shoppers use Pinterest as an outlet for inspiration and ideas, Maddocks noted. But now, “inspirations can come to life, with a relatively easy path to an e-Commerce transaction.”
Cole Haan consumers use Pinterest to re-pin more than 5,000 products to their own boards, Maddocks revealed. Whether they’re pinning a pair of oxfords or a complete outfit, consumers will be able to use Buyable Pins to easily shop products while also finding aspirational content and fashion inspiration.
“We can already see what types of imagery and keywords are performing best across all social platforms,” Maddocks said. “But we’re beginning to optimize our Pinterest content and are looking forward to seeing what’s on the horizon as Buyable Pins become more mature in the marketplace.”
Although Buyable Pins are still in their infancy, the Cole Haan team has already seen several trends emerge in terms of consumers’ overall engagement with the new advertising channel.
“We’ve started to see that content that demonstrates a depth of product offering — such as featuring multiple color options — or provides a level of lifestyle inspiration as though it might be user-generated, tends to perform best,” Maddocks explained. “The more you can offer up your product or your brand in a way that doesn’t feel intrusive to the user and feels native to the platform will yield the most success.”
Looking to the future, Maddocks hopes that Buyable Pins will become a core platform for commerce. “Our customers using Pinterest today for discovery are showing high intent to buy as they build boards with Cole Haan products.”
However, the brand is intent on testing and learning, he noted. Measuring likes, repins, traffic to the site and conversions will be key moving forward.