As an established leader in the luggage industry, Samsonite has created high quality, reliable luggage and bags for over 100 years. Recently, Samsonite set out to evolve the brand perception from a high quality, functional and durable luggage company to a high quality, functional, durable and versatile company with a breadth of products – including a casual bag line targeted at college students.
With the launch of a new casual bag line, Samsonite entered a crowded marketplace with popular, youthful brands like VF Corporation’s JanSport and North Face, Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and Longchamp dominating the market. While these brands were top of mind with college students, there was not a strong push behind messaging causal bags as multi-purpose. Samsonite felt they could capitalize on this unchartered territory by positioning the brand as versatile in both style and need.
CONSUMER RESEARCH: WHAT DO COLLEGE STUDENTS THINK
To validate this opportunity, our Brand Planners went straight to the source, talking to college students between the ages of 18-24 years old about their lifestyle, purchase motivators and casual bag needs. Between school, work, hitting up the gym, hanging out with friends and checking out the latest bars, they are constantly on the go. Casual bags are a huge staple in their wardrobe and a functional piece used to carry everything they need throughout the day. Since they are always on the go, they need a bag that is durable and versatile. They need a bag that stands up to their lifestyle.
While Samsonite offered students the durability and versatility necessary to withstand their trying lifestyles, Samsonite was not in the target audience’s consideration set for casual bags. College students categorized Samsonite as a brand catering toward older business men and women—outdated and stogy, yet dependable and reliable.
Given these findings, we sought to capitalize on the core values of the brand, highlighting how the key benefits of durability and versatility are relevant to college students’ lifestyles.
THE THREE YEAR PLAN: DIGITAL MEETS PHYSICAL
PHASE I: The Tough Tour
We brought the value proposition of durability to life by creating a college-relevant, experiential program to generate brand awareness around the new backpack and messenger bag line among college students. The Samsonite Tough Tour visited 17 college campuses across the Northeast and included multiple touch points for students to engage with the brand, including an armored truck, inflatable obstacle course, retail trailer and premium registration tent.
PHASE II: The Ready for Anywhere Tour
Based on the success of the campus tour, Samsonite activated phase two of the Tough Tour at Spring Break 2012 in Panama City Beach. Spring break provided Samsonite the opportunity to reach the largest concentration of 18-24 year old students in one location—with approximately 450,000 students from 350+ universities visiting Panama City Beach over a 3-week period. For this phase, we rebranded the tour as the “Ready for Anywhere Tour” and enhanced the existing assets to further bring to life the product’s versatility and durability attributes.
PHASE III: For Everyday and Someday
We created the brand’s first, college-targeted microsite to deliver the versatility messaging. The microsite focused on lifestyle imagery to help students visualize how Samsonite provides options for every situation in their college career – whether walking to class, hitting the gym or traveling abroad. The layout encouraged exploration, with expanding tiles that provide additional product information as you navigate the site.
To gauge the impact of Samsonite’s Tough Tour, AMP conducted a baseline and comparison wave survey. Based on AMP’s measurement program results, the campaign greatly improved brand awareness (+24%), appeal (+24%) and likelihood to recommend (+21%).
The Spring Break “Ready for Anywhere” tour yielded tremendous results as well:
- 88% of event participants agree that the Samsonite casual bag collection is “for people like me”— reflecting an increase of +41% from baseline
- 84% of respondents agree that the Samsonite casual bag collection “understands my needs”—reflecting an increase of +35% from baseline data
- 75% of respondents agree that “seeing this event made me more likely to consider buying Samsonite casual bags”
The website was also incredibly successful. 92% of pre/post survey respondents reported ‘more likely to purchase Samsonite as a result of seeing the website,” and 96% reported ‘learning about products that I did not know Samsonite carried as a result of seeing the website.’