NEW YORK — Theory will undergo a total re-branding for spring.
The contemporary sportswear brand has redesigned its logo and will launch a new advertising campaign with images flaunted on billboards, in store windows, digital, print and campaign books for retailers and at points of sale. The Web site will also be updated with a new face, beginning next Tuesday.
“For a long time, I operated in a way that was very grassroots and organic. As time goes on, I have to continue to evolve and change the platforms of doing business,” said Andrew Rosen, chief executive officer of Theory, whose global sales are approaching $1 billion. The brand was built on very little advertising.
David Sims photographed the spring campaign, which features Natalia Vodianova and Clement Chabernaud, at a London studio. The ads were created by the agency Wednesday. In addition to a heavy digital and outdoor presence, ads will break this month in WSJ. Magazine, T Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Le Figaro, Le Monde and several Asian publications. The exact budget, which is in the several-million-dollar range, wasn’t disclosed.
Theory’s logo, which used to be all small letters, will now start with an uppercase T and will be bolder in font.
“We’ve had to relook at what we’re doing and refresh what we’re doing,” said Rosen. “Companies should continue to modernize themselves. You have to continually evolve and up your game and set the bar higher. You can’t continue to do business the way [you’ve] done it in the past. You have to engage the consumer and stimulate the marketplace.” Last spring, Theory named Lisa Kulson creative director of women’s design. She had returned to the company as a consultant in 2012, after more than a decade away from Theory, where she had previously been vice president and head designer.
Rosen is also a firm believer that a company shouldn’t grow old with its customers.
In the past, Theory would conduct its business through department stores, but now there are departments stores, department stores’ Web sites, Theory retail stores and its own e-commerce site — each of which needs to be addressed both domestically and internationally, Rosen said. At present, 45 percent of Theory’s business is conducted in the U.S., and 55 percent is done outside the U.S. The company has 221 stores, including concessions around the globe. About 75 percent of the business is women’s, and 25 percent is men’s. Men’s, he said, is growing quickly.
Rosen said the company is investing heavily in the digital space and plans to establish a whole digital studio downtown when it opens a new, 100,000-square-foot design and manufacturing center, a block east of Theory’s Meatpacking District headquarters.
“I do think the marketplace continues to be more complex and challenging than it’s been in the past. Integrity is what separates the good company from the also-rans,” he said. Rosen said the biggest challenge today — aside from the rough winter’s impact on retail sales — is that companies are not only designers, manufacturers and wholesalers of clothes. “We’ve become retailers on an international basis and not only on a brick-and-mortar basis but on a digital basis. The complexity and disruption of digital commerce and social media and marketing has really upped the requirements of a company and its people to keep pace with this ever-changing marketplace,” he said.
“This is the new reality. You have to be better, smarter and faster, but you have the tools to be able to do it,” said Rosen.