Content brand of the week: Boden, the very-British brand that’s going global

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Boden, isn’t that a town in Cheshire?

Nope. That’s Bowdon.

Hip London chain of BBQ restaurants?

You’re thinking of Bodean’s.

Giant mountain in Wales?

Snowden.

Veteran German road cyclist?

…Andreas Kloden. Look I’ll just tell you, Boden is a mail-order clothing company that has been around for over two decades. It has set itself apart from others in the market and flourished into one of Britain’s biggest, most iconic brands.

Ah yes, I think I read something about Boden in the news this week.

That’s right, the brand has appointed its first ever ‘Global Brand Director’, signalling a clear intent to develop the Boden brand around the world, building on successful first steps into German and US markets.

Aren’t Boden’s clothes a bit twee for world domination?

Twee they may be, but twee has worked very well so far for Boden. The brand has a great understanding of the type of people who buy its clothes, insight that is reflected in its catalogues, and latterly its content too. World leaders and their wives wear Boden, it doesn’t get more global than that.

Impressive. But isn’t the whole mail-order thing a bit out of date?

Yes, and no. Ecommerce has certainly moved things on since 1991, but Boden has managed the transition well and the online content on Boden.co.uk demonstrates an ability to move with the times, which has sadly eluded some similar companies. The Style & Fit section of the retail site is dedicated to shoppable style guides and trend tips for Men, Women and Kids – mixing commercial aims with editorial approach. Here’s a particularly beautiful example of what we mean.

Sounds pretty similar to a lot of fashion brands.

True, but for Boden at least this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want glossy video content there’s these two ‘Man of the Moment’ profile pieces (as well as others), if you’re after interactive engagement try the new ‘outfit maker’ web app (pictured), and then there’s the social side of things. Boden is active on six social sites; Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and YouTube. There’s also a brand blog. And don’t forget the magalogues.

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Magalogues?

Staying true to its mail-order roots, Boden has worked very hard to keep its catalogues relevant, taking an editorial approach and grouping its product into mini-collections with names like ‘Amalfi’, ‘British Summertime’ and ‘Mexican Holiday’, to inject a little bit more life. The Summer 2013 issue was ‘guest edited’ by Grazia, lending some journalistic credibility to what was already a pretty polished publication.

Sounds like Boden has it all.

Indeed. The brand identity, while it’s not popular with everyone, is as clearly defined as any you’d like to see and the content offer is as comprehensive as it is diverse. The perfect example of a brand that has become a publisher.

If it’s good enough for Michelle Obama, it’s good enough for me.

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Last week’s content brand: Gymbox

Author: Tom Owen

A strategic storyteller and compelling content creator, awash with acuity and adept at alliteration. I work for Speak Media. www.speakmedia.co.uk

2 thoughts

  1. Great post, Tom. I can totally see Boden going the way of J Crew with trend-led styling & great editorial paving the way for a more fashion-conscious customer.

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