Birkenstock stands for comfortable and stylish quality sandals and shoes. With Birkenstock Natural Skin Care, the company moves into a new category.
Birkenstock is known for its quality sandals and shoes, using the legendary footbed, providing support and comfort since 1774. A quick search on Google confirms the strong positioning.
The brand is moving in many directions. Its 1774 line is taking a position in the luxury sandals and show segment. Birkenstock joined forces with, for example, Maison Valentino, “Dior by Birkenstock” (reread the last three words again…), and other high-end brands.
At the same time, the brand is moving into a new category with “Birkenstock Natural Skin Care”
While the 1774 product line is connects to the Birkenstock core, Natural Skin Care is an actual departure into a new category.
The product development team connected the world of sandals and shoes with skin care using a cork cap on all-natural skin care products.
The question is: will consumers buy natural skin care products from a high-quality shoe and sandal brand?
Like any other professional company, Birkenstock has probably done all the research to answer the question with a firm Yes.
My experience is that consumers who purchase the core product are often asked whether they would buy the line extended products as well.
The answer is often Yes, simply because the people who were asked the question already like the core product. Never mix the intention to purchase with an actual purchase decision. People buying skin care products will do so in the context of the skin care category. Birkenstock competes with brands like SkinCeuticals, CeraVe, Kiehl’s, and Rituals. A tough one!
To answer whether Birkenstock Natural Skin Care will be a huge success inside the skincare category, we could turn the question around. Would Kiehl’s “Finest Apothecary Skincare” ever be a success as the finest shoe and sandal brand? I doubt it.
What Birkenstock could have done is to apply the Conquer strategy: growing a new brand in a new category. Using a new brand gives freedom to operate and grow into currently impossible areas. At the same time it is also easier to stop without harming the brand in the original category. The Birkenstock Natural Skin Care products look great on the paper – it would be a shame if they do not succeed because of the “wrong logo”.
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