Polaroid Eyewear manufactures and distributes polarized sunglasses and eyewear products across the world. Despite their strong global presence, the brand’s sales had declined in the UK market since their peak in the 1980s. So in 2007 Marketing Zone re-launched the Polaroid sunglasses brand in the UK market, and sales have been growing ever since.
As Polaroid sunglasses were no longer well known, the challenge faced was that you can’t get publicity for a product without distribution, and you can’t get distribution without publicity. So where do you start? Well, read on and discover how our PR and social media strategy has delivered extensive trade and consumer publicity, even getting Polaroid sunglasses selected for celebrities at the BRIT Awards. And great publicity has led to retail expansion for Polaroid.
Objectives and Solution
The aim of the re-launch was to find productive routes to market and build brand awareness with consumers and trade partners. To do this, Marketing Zone studied the product and the market and came up with an integrated marketing campaign which is delivering top-class results. The brand is now available in high street favourite’s John Lewis, Fenwick and Next as well as in Specsavers, Vision Express and sports shops nationwide. Polaroid sunglasses are also available in all major UK airports, at UK Center Parcs, and on board cruise ships, ferries and selected airlines.
About Polaroid Eyewear
Polaroid has a 75-year history and is regarded as a leader in polarized lens technology. It all started when Dr Edwin Land invented the world’s first polarizing material for commercial use in 1929 and went on to establish the Polaroid Corporation in 1937. Polaroid Eyewear has continued to innovate, and Polaroid sunglasses are the brand most of today’s consumers trust when it comes to polarized sunglasses.
It all starts with a great product
When people have a pair of Polaroid sunglasses in their hands to try, they fall for the brand. So we recommended that we make a start by letting the product do the talking. Marketing Zone kicked off the campaign by demonstrating Polaroid’s unique polarizing technology, with some useful style tips for the sales staff at airport retailers. It was vital that sales people tried Polaroid sunglasses themselves so they could experience the benefits. With training and a handy pocked-sized guide, we boosted their knowledge and then tested what they’d learnt. Everyone took part and everyone passed, winning their own pair of Polaroid’s. This created a team of well-informed brand ambassadors that believe in the brand and sell with passion and confidence. We even gave them a lens tester lanyard to wear as part of their uniform so they could show customers the difference polarized sunglasses make.
To support the sales teams we put in place back-lit point-of-sale posters to build brand presence in store. And to prove the point that that products and people matter most, Polaroid has gone from nothing to a Top 3 best seller.
Next step the web – meeting targets early in just 9 months
Once we had created a knowledgeable sales team, we needed to prove that Polaroid sunglasses were a credible brand that people wanted, and that opticians would gladly stock. But we needed to overcome the fact that you can’t get publicity without distribution, and you can’t get distribution without publicity. So we turned to the web. By creating www.polaroidsunglasses.co.uk we could raise awareness and explain the benefits of Polaroid’s unique technology.
The site acted as a showcase for Polaroid’s great styles and meant that we could run publicity campaigns that got excellent coverage. As soon as customers could buy sunglasses online – they did. In its first year, website sales smashed the full year target in just 9 months. We discovered that people buy more than one pair of sunglasses for different styles or occasions, due to the reasonable pricing and great designs available. We made it easy for people to buy online by having a flexible returns policy, with downloadable guides for clip-on sunglasses so customers could easily tell which shape and size they needed. The site now gets No1.Google rankings and makes sales equivalent to a high street store.
Digital marketing drives sales
Search engine optimisation and pay-per-click advertising has made a difference to online sales. It’s an area which is constantly monitored and refreshed so that Polaroid stays at the top of Google’s search listings. The Polaroid website is fully search engine optimised with key words and phrases included in the copy to enable good results when customers search for polarized sunglasses. We have added a blog to the website. It lets us create rich content and interact with our customers, and supports our search engine optimisation strategy.
Social media has played a role in increasing traffic to our website. By tuning in to the blogosphere we can understand what people think of Polaroid sunglasses. The Polaroid Sunglasses Facebook group engages customers and potential customers with Polaroid news and information. Twitter helps us to monitor how the public are feeling towards Polaroid sunglasses, and connect with them to encourage more sales and traffic to our website. Bloggers and followers on Twitter now contact Polaroid directly to recommend the brand, offer to review products and share the Polaroid message. This is quite a turnaround from where we began in 2007 and it will only get stronger as we continue our strategy.
PR was an important tool in raising awareness among customers. We ran a media relations campaign with press releases featured in print and digital channels. After steady progress and positive grass-roots results, Polaroid sunglasses is now becoming a regular feature in the media with coverage in glossy magazines such as Grazia and Elle, in key trade titles like Marketing Week and Optician, and on TV. With celebrity fans including Fearne Cotton, it’s fantastic to see fashion influencers now recognising Polaroid’s style credentials.
Because the benefits of Polaroid sunglasses can be seen the most clearly when the sunglasses are worn, when we distribute press releases we also offer the press complimentary sunglasses. Then editors can really understand the brand. It’s this logical thinking that makes Polaroid stand out in the press, and has contributed to the rise in sales. With reviews, style features, contests, reader offers, viral campaigns and surveys, Polaroid polarized sunglasses have been seen and heard by 90 million people.
As Marketing Zone’s relationship with Polaroid Eyewear in the UK has grown, we’ve taken on international projects. To support Polaroid’s global expansion, Marketing Zone put together an International PR kit. Translatable press releases and product catalogues are provided each year on new initiatives and new collections, and we created a PR guide to help international teams be successful. Our press stories get coverage from Russia to India and Italy. We’re now frequently called upon by the international Polaroid sales team to provide copy, design and strategic advice to support a variety of their global projects.
Trade marketing too
As brand awareness has increased so has the number of retailers stocking Polaroid sunglasses and so have sales. Now you can buy Polaroid polarized sunglasses from high street retailers and top department stores as well as travel retail outlets and availability is growing all the time. With a raft of trade marketing support – from bespoke catalogues to point of sale materials – Polaroid can ensure their trade partners get the best, most relevant support, customised to their stores and shoppers.
Press Day to celebrate new collection launch
2012 is the year that Polaroid celebrates its 75th anniversary. To mark the occasion, Marketing Zone arranged a Press Day to launch Polaroid’s anniversary collection of sunglasses. The event was a big success, with over 130 VIP guests including fashion editors, journalists, celebrities, stylists, and bloggers attending. And just a week after the event, we’d already made over 650,000 connections for Polaroid on Twitter, and have since seen coverage in top fashion blogs and the national press.
The story continues…
As Polaroid’s outsourced marketing agency, we provide an extensive range of services – it’s a powerful mix that gets tremendous results. Since 2007 to the present day, we’ve taken the Polaroid sunglasses brand from strength to strength, and we haven’t finished just yet! It just goes to show that the right communication gives a brand new life. And that’s good news for any business.