Content brand of the week: Barbour, the brand that’s getting Downton with the kids

Ahh memories, he was probably my favourite member of a cartoon elephant royal family of all time.

Are you thinking of Babar by any chance?

Yeah, why? Aren’t you?

No I’m talking about the heritage British clothing brand, Barbour, that celebrates its 120th year in 2014 and is enjoying a major resurgence in popularity.

Well, wouldn’t you rather talk about Babar? He’s a pretty natty dresser himself, see.



If I’m being honest, there may be a link between the two after all. You see, Barbour was long thought of as a brand exclusively for the ‘country set’ (which is a nice way of saying ‘royals and celebs’) but has become much more mainstream in recent years. The brand is even a favourite of HRH Liz, Phil, Chaz and the rest of the royal fam.

What’s this got to do with HRH Babar though?

Well Babar is very much an ‘old Barbour’ kind of guy (complete with sketchy views on colonialism – much like our Phil) – he’s been wearing Barbour coats for decades on his country estate, and he’s probably a little bemused at the swathes of young city folk who are taking the brand to heart.

So Barbour has inadvertently alienated its base consumers with this new expansion into mainstream popularity?

Au contraire, mon frère. It seems that Barbour has managed to expertly navigate the pitfalls associated with a split in consumer base, largely by creating content that chimes with both audiences and segmenting it appropriately.

Prove it

OK, I will. On its blog, Barbour sticks with the kind of stories you’d expect from avid watchers of Countryfile – it’s all nature spotting and recipes for devilled whitebait.

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 11.31.51

However, when you head over to the brand’s well-followed Instagram feed the visuals reflect a more youthful audience, with many of the recent snaps featuring young hip festival goers at Camp Bestival.

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 11.59.31

If Pinterest is more your bag, the festival theme continues over on the social scrapbooking site – the board titled Festival Inspirations is pure pinbait.

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 11.57.23


I just made it up, but it’s good, right? Regardless of your feelings on the birth of a new buzzword, you can’t deny the brand’s segmentation strategy is a good one. Barbour has found a way of reaching the right people with the right content by distributing it on the most relevant channels to them. It’s all looking good and the brand should be poised for another 120 years of success.

Happy Bar-thday to them!

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Author: Tom Owen

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

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