Campaign India Team
Jun 19, 2017

Cannes Lions 2017: 'We have to give our people the chance to fail'

Tommy Hilfiger's chief brand officer, Avery Baker revealed a nine-step process brands can follow to stay relevant

Cannes Lions 2017: 'We have to give our people the chance to fail'
Speaking at the Innovation Stage at the Innovation Lions, Avery Baker, chief brand officer, Tommy Hilfiger, discussed how the brand rolled out #TommyNow and the challenges it faced along the way. 
#TommyNow was a fashion show, which allowed consumers to immediately purchase items they viewed at the show. 
She said, "Becoming more relevant to the youth is difficult. It's even more difficult for us in the fashion business. Today, the fashion business is competing with itself and from the outside. Tommy Hilfiger's DNA is 'We will not be limited by an outdated set of rules. Will reflect who are we and the real-time age in which we live."
She added, "Tommy is a USD 6.6 billion company. We operate in 130 countries. So getting this big a company to change was difficult. We changed our creative DNA in less than six months. It was madness. But if we wanted to be relevant for younger audiences, we had to head into this. We had to act. We created a process that allowed many people to make decisions and yet keep the safety of the brand in mind."
Baker then revealed a nine-step process the brand used in the build-up to #TommyNow and stated that this would be vital for brands to follow.
Make the vision clear: We had to get everyone to identify with the vision. So we got them to understand first. 
Unlock the inner entrepreneur: This got us outside our comfort zone and got us to think more creatively. We opened our mind and figured that ideas can come from anywhere. This helped in getting and identifying new talent.
Unleash creativity: Creativity is at its happiest when its solving problems. We compressed our 12-month timeline to a 6-months and this was a challenge.
Make failure a real option: 'What if' thinking is any organisation's most valuable resource. We have to give our people the chance to fail. Facebook has a policy, if you hit your target too often, you're not trying enough. We trusted our own team and realised that if they didn't fail, that made them non innovative.
It's not about yourself: There is no limit to what someone can do or how far they can go if they don't mind who gets the credit. 
Collaborate to innovate: Like a relay race, each sprint was handed carefully by the person until it was handed on to the next person. A collaboration like this needs a lot of trust.Given the limited time we had, we couldn't lose time.
Leverage outsiders: We sell through our own retail partners and online. Our dream was to reach out to our wholesale partners too for the new #TommyNow collection.
Invest in innovation: We explored and invented new businesses for digital. We made all our social media channels buyable.
Find a secret weapon: Our partnership with GiGi Hadid (an American super model) has been perfect for us. When we tied up with her she had three million fans. Now, she has over 35 million. 
Baker ended her session with a learning. "Embracing risk is powerful and liberating. Keep pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone. We have to disrupt."
Campaign India

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