Powerful Brands

Outdoor & Action Sports

Setting Our Sights

Never Stop Exploring™. The North Face® brand takes this message to heart in our products, how we connect with our consumers and how we manage this iconic business. In 2014, when the lines between outdoor, active and lifestyle brands and products continued to blur, The North Face® brand once again demonstrated its strength and positioning as the world’s largest outdoor performance brand.

The North Face® brand represents products that define and redefine categories while continuing to deliver high returns. 2014 was no exception. In its second year, our Thermoball™ platform surpassed $100 million in sales and established itself as the transitional outerwear of choice among consumers.

Seeing the strategic opportunity for greater visibility across all four seasons, we successfully launched our Mountain Athletics™ collection. This premium line, built for athletes’ training needs, features superior durability, range of motion and moisture management, and even offers goal-based, sport-specific online conditioning programs. Finally, our Ultra Series™ footwear line made meaningful contributions, delivering the perfect balance of performance and protection for a full range of activities, from hiking to trail running to training.

The consumer is at the center of everything VF does. Through deep consumer insights work, we tapped into the passionate connections people have with The North Face® brand and promoted the concept of exploration. This process led to the creation of the “Your Land” advertising campaign, which unites the adventurer within all of us – from the elite outdoor athletes to recreationists. Every day, The North Face® brand inspires explorers everywhere to get outdoors and enjoy the places that connect us to the world we share.

Connecting with Consumers...One-on-One

Off the Wall®. Synonymous with the Vans® brand for nearly half a century, this skateboarding phrase pays homage to what was once one of the hardest moves in the sport – rising up above the rim of empty backyard pools in 1960s Southern California. Redefining and inspiring new styles, innovating products, and empowering creative self-expression are hallmarks of the Vans® brand's rise to become the world’s largest youth culture brand. In 2014, for the first time, the Vans® brand achieved $2 billion in revenues. Both Footwear News and Footwear Plus recognized Vans® as “Brand of the Year.”

We work hard to continually evolve our Vans® brand product and marketing strategies, while staying true to our roots, ensuring that our brand resonates with each new generation of consumers. At the intersection of action sports, art, music and street culture, the Vans® brand connects with consumers across the globe by transcending definitions, genres and media. Every day, around the world, we connect with consumers … one-on-one.

In 2014, we proudly opened our second permanent House of Vans® location, this time in London. Occupying the Old Vic Tunnels beneath the London Waterloo railway station, the House of Vans® is open to all and includes a music venue, art gallery, cinema, café, bar and London’s only indoor skate park. At no other point in the Vans® brand’s history have our products and connections with consumers been stronger and more exciting – whether through various media platforms and events or in our owned and partner stores. In the year ahead, we’ll stay sharply focused on developing aspirational and functional products that respond to the needs of the consumer as we expand geographically, while empowering Vans® brand loyalists to creatively express themselves.

Building on a Classic

The original yellow Timberland® boot has become an iconic symbol of authenticity, quality and innovation. But the Timberland® brand of today strives for, and is achieving, so much more.

When VF first acquired The Timberland Company in 2011, it was clear that the opportunity extended well beyond the yellow boot. Early insights showed extremely high awareness and affinity for the Timberland® brand worldwide. But consumers didn’t see it in their daily lives. The brand needed more energy, more relevance and more style. So, we focused on growth as an outdoor lifestyle brand.

To sharpen our strategy, we launched an aggressive two-year insights campaign, talking with 18,000 consumers in eight countries. Key learnings? They care about style – a lot. They’re more city-based than we thought. And in their world, it’s all about digital.

Armed with these insights, the Timberland® brand revamped everything from product design to marketing. In product, we renewed our focus on style across footwear, apparel and accessories – delivering versatile looks that also provide the comfort and performance consumers need for everyday adventures in or outside the city. Style comes first; function and versatility – hallmarks of the Timberland® brand – set us apart. In marketing, we began engaging with consumers in a deeper, more meaningful way.

While these insights began to inform the brand’s strategy in fall 2013, they took full hold in 2014. And the numbers suggest the strategy is working. In 2014, the Timberland® brand achieved a 13 percent increase in sales globally, on a GAAP basis, and we see even greater potential ahead as we target $3.1 billion in global revenue by 2019. After all, we’ve barely scratched the surface in categories like men’s apparel and markets like China.

The Perfect Fit for Consumers’ Lives

A varied and vibrant range of brands rounds out our Outdoor & Action Sports coalition. Handbags to backpacks … activewear to surfwear … socks to travel gear. And they’re as diverse in the geographic markets we serve as they are in the variety of needs they meet. But there’s one thing they all have in common: They fit our consumers’ lives. That’s because everything from the styling to the manufacturing to the retail experience is rooted in our vital connections with consumers.

Key highlights include:

  • The Kipling® brand was VF’s fastest-growing brand.
  • The lucy® brand revamped its lucyPro outreach program for fitness pros, offering exclusive benefits to yoga, Pilates, fitness trainers and fitness instructors.
  • The JanSport® brand hosted its annual Mount Rainier Climb, bringing retailers together for fellowship and testing of the brand's mountaineering products.
  • The Reef® brand commemorated its 30th anniversary with a spring throwback collection featuring retro prints and washes.
  • The Eagle Creek® brand won the Men’s Journal Gear of the Year Award for its new EC Lync™ System, a suitcase that converts to a superlight backpack, but packs down into a small pouch.
  • The Eastpak® brand conducted its fourth edition of The Eastpak® Artist Studio project,
    which challenges fashion icons to reimagine the brand’s most recognized pack.
  • The Napapijri® brand launched product availability in Asia, leveraging the Timberland® brand's platform that was already in place in Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.
  • The Smartwool® brand created the Fan Field Tester program to test product and tap new ideas from elite athletes and highly engaged consumers.
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