From Product-Centric to Brand-Led: Making Birkenstock Brand Relevant to Modern Consumers

  • Retail
three pairs of birkenstock sandals are on a white surface

The Challenge

Birkenstock faced multiple challenges - a dated image, limited retail presence, and resistance from store clerks. Vivaldi's brand strategy transformed Birkenstock into a modern, compelling brand with an updated structure, shifting from sales to brand identity.

The Opportunity

Birkenstock’s aim for a compelling brand image led to a partnership with Vivaldi, transitioning from the founding family to the three brothers. This provided a brand overhaul, customer understanding, and alignment with modern values to resonate with diverse lifestyles.

The Outcome

Vivaldi helped Birkenstock undergo a remarkable brand transformation. Identifying four customer segments informed a customer-centric approach, focusing on essential styles and a redesigned brand architecture - emphasizing Birkenstock as the master brand.

Celebrating Birkenstock's NYSE Debut

Birkenstock’s debut on the NYSE on October 11, 2023, is a monumental achievement in the brand’s extensive journey. We extend our congratulations to CEO Oliver Reichert and the entire leadership team for this exceptional milestone. Our team is immensely proud to have contributed to their success story. Explore the transformative partnership between Vivaldi and Birkenstock that has influenced the brand’s evolution over the years.

Stepping Into A New Era Of Brand Resonance

With a heritage that dates back to the 1770s, Birkenstock is a renowned footwear company sold in some 90 countries worldwide. While its designs are easily identifiable, the company was facing significant challenges with an outdated and utilitarian brand image. The brand was limited by its association with 60’s and 70’s counterculture or with comfort footwear for hospital nurses. Despite owning 600 stores, Birkenstock struggled to extend its presence in specialty retail stores due to its limited product offerings. Additionally, a lack of marketing expertise and a sales-focused approach hindered the brand’s ability to update its image, connect with consumers, and inspire store clerks to showcase the brand. Birkenstock collaborated with Vivaldi as experts in brand transformation to work on these challenges.

Reshaping The Footwear Landscape

Collaborating closely with Birkenstock, Vivaldi undertook a comprehensive approach to address the brand’s challenges and reshape its market positioning. The first step involved a demand landscape analysis, providing insights into potential growth opportunities and competitive advantages. Vivaldi then employed a consumer need states segmentation approach, delving into customers’ everyday needs and preferences to identify four distinct segments. This informed the brand’s new portfolio structure and brand positioning, focusing on aligning with consumers’ higher-order values. To strengthen the brand architecture, Vivaldi reduced subbrands to variants and emphasized the Birkenstock master brand. Additionally, Vivaldi conducted extensive merchandising and retail initiatives, validated by controlled testing with real customers, to enhance the in-store experience.

a pair of birkenstock sandals laying on top of each other

The approach also included strategic communications and a pop-up townhouse event, elevating the brand’s image and engagement with key stakeholders. Vivaldi’s guidance equipped Birkenstock with key brand guidelines and a customer-centric mindset, enabling the company’s successful transformation into a brand-driven organization. Within two years of the repositioning, Birkenstock’s revenue soared to $600 million. The brand witnessed tremendous growth, gaining shelf space in prominent retailers and opening their flagship store in New York City. In a significant milestone, LVMH acquired a majority stake in Birkenstock, valuing the company at $4 billion. Through Vivaldi’s strategic approach and brand expertise, Birkenstock achieved a remarkable transformation, leaving a lasting impact on the brand’s identity and market success.