Walking through Melbourne Central shopping centre at the weekend, my eye was drawn to the Levi’s store window decal. Their concept store is home to The Levi’s Tailor Shop, who offer their customers a free alteration service on jeans. The shop will also Customise, Personalise and Repair your favourite denim. As a short-arse, I’ve always had real difficulty with jeans that never fit. But not anymore. Even though the store was really busy, the exceptional staff that night gave me so much time, measuring me and helping me make my decision and marking my jeans for a free alteration, which I could pick up the next day. What a brilliant way to engage a dormant customer!
A brand that defined generations
Admittedly I haven’t owned a pair of Levi’s since the 90s, nor has the brand appealed to me since then. Levi’s is engrained in American culture going as far back as the 1800s, initially as durable workwear, to then becoming quite possibly the brand that defined the baby boomer generation, perhaps I didn’t want to wear the same brand as my dad? Levi’s not only dominated their category, they created it.
No longer cool
We know that brands need to evolve to stay relevant and be authentic for the next generation, and while Levi’s got it right for so long, they failed to answer to cultural revolutions in the 90s and 00s. They didn’t respond to the hip-hop revolution with it’s demand for all things baggy, and the All American brand was no longer cool. Sales have been declining steadily since the 90’s when competitors like The Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch became a more attractive alternative to shoppers along with the rise in own label jeans in the likes of Topshop in the UK.
Regenerated brand tailored to a local market
But I think Levi’s are turning themselves around and their sales figures are on the up. Walking through their store last week, I’ve become re-invigorated by the brand. An exceptional customer experience and simple brand engagement has opened my eyes to Levi’s and I bought 2 pairs of jeans. I believe they’ve taken stock, listened to the needs of the next generation and delivered a brand that’s still authentic to customers. Millenials are attracted to brands with authenticity which Levi’s have in bucket loads and hipsters will flock to anything that was dubbed uncool in the past 20 years.
Levi’s are cool again.
Check out The Levi’s Tailor shop, which they also brought on tour during festival season in Australia.
Director of Brand Projects.