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A Brief on Jockey’s New Brand Perception

How often do you think about your underwear? If you’re anything like me, it’s not very often. But marketers may want to give their skivvies a little more thought because the undergarment industry is a blooming business. In fact the lingerie retail market, which includes bras, briefs, daywear, and shapewear, was estimated to be worth about $29.23 billion in 2012, according to just-style, a research house focusing on the apparel and textile industries.

Because Jockey competes against undergarment manufacturing behemoths like Hanes and Fruit of the Loom, it has to do whatever it can to stand out. Traditionally, I’ve thought of Jockey as a brand that my father and brother would buy from. But the manufacturer is changing its brand perception and targeting a younger, more feminine demographic. In its new “Redefining Comfort” campaign, Jockey shows 25-to-40-year-old women that they don’t have to sacrifice fashion for a comfy pair of panties.

After analyzing a slew of consumer insight—including CRM data, quantitative and qualitative research, and social data—Jockey heard consumers’ cry for a granny panty upgrade. In mid-October Jockey activated an integrated marketing campaign—which will run through Spring 2014—designed to drive awareness around Jockey’s “sexy and pretty products.” The underwear giant hopes to attract younger, more fashion-conscious consumers and drive sales of its new feminine undergarments.

“As we look at the consumer data, it’s very clear that consumers love Jockey for the fit, for the coverage, and the fabrics that we use,” says Dustin Cohn, CMO of Jockey. “But it didn’t give us enough credit for having a taste level that incorporates great colors, prints, and details. We do have that product.”

Jockey aimed to reach female fashionistas in the channels in which they already seek style advice. These include print ads in Glamour, In Style, Elle, and Cosmopolitan, and digital ad buys on various Conde Nast properties. The brand also launched a mobile-optimized campaign microsite and a Pinterest campaign in which women pin images of fall outfits they could wear with Jockey’s new Skimmies—a hybrid between a slip, shapewear, and shorts.

Jockey is also leveraging the power of brand influencers and partnering with fashion stylist Rachel Zoe. In addition to tapping into Zoe’s social media following (she has more than 700,000 Facebook likes and nearly 1.7 million Twitter followers) the brand has also been featured in Zoe’s daily newsletter “The Zoe Report” and on her Bravo TV series The Rachel Zoe Project. But Zoe isn’t the brand’s only influencer. Jockey has also partnered with Julia Engel, founder of fashion blog GalMeetsGlam.com. Engel brings the more “everyday” woman perspective while Zoe brings the celebrity influence, Cohn says.

To see if these efforts are paying off, Jockey will track how women’s perceptions of the brand change over time. The brand uses a third-party screener who hosts an online survey and recruits women who have seen Jockey’s advertisements or purchased a product. Those willing to participate in the quantitative study are given a list of brand descriptions—such as “Is the brand sexy?” or “Is the brand on trend?”—and then asked to rate Jockey on how well they fit these descriptions.

Cohn says it’s too early in the campaign to reveal any solid results; however, he believes the brand is beginning to change perceptions already.

“By every measure that we track, the research suggests that this really will communicate to new consumers that Jockey has the perfect combination of comfort and fashion,” he says.

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