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5 Questions with Aligned Speaker Kent Hawkins of Arc’teryx

With Aligned less than a month away, we invite you to get to know one of the conference’s featured brand speakers: Kent Hawkins, Channel Marketing Manager – Americas at Arc’teryx.

kent hawkins, arc'teryx

Kent Hawkins, Arc’teryx

Founded in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1989, Arc’teryx is an outdoor apparel and hard goods brand. The brand is driven by a focus on innovation and high-quality products, experiencing impressive growth with more than 1,400 specialty retail stores in North America (they even recently opened a brick-and-mortar location on Boston’s own Newbury Street).

Kent joined the Arc’teryx team in 2015, coming from ten-plus years working in the consumer and apparel marketing industries.

In his role, Kent is focused on driving the retail brand experience and incremental sales within Retail and Wholesale Channels by translating global brand initiatives into regional channel program messaging and components. He’ll be drawing on this as a part of the Aligned panel, “Going Global and Staying Local.”

Can you speak to the importance of aligning specialty retailers to the national brand messaging?

Today’s consumer has many touch points with a product, from the brand website and store to the specialty retailer’s racks and social media accounts. As a brand, we want the consumer to have the same premium experience through our specialty retail partners as they would have through our brand channels.

Social media is a prime example of this. It is important that the product imagery and copy be on-brand, showing the superior characteristics of the product.

[Tweet “”Aligning with our retailers elevates the brand in all channels.” – @kenthawkins”]

By providing the right assets to our retailers, they can avoid posting product photos from their shop floor or store parking lot and can elevate their social accounts by featuring brand imagery that appeals to the consumer. Aligning with our retailers in this manner elevates the brand in all channels and provides a consistent experience to our consumers.

Related content: Outdoor Industry Cuts a Path for Specialty Retailer Support >

How does Arc’teryx empower its local retailers?

We constantly look for new ways to empower our local retailers. Just this year we have implemented tools for our local retailers including featuring them through our new and improved Retailer Locator page, directing consumers from our product pages to local stores carrying that product, syndicating product reviews to their websites and providing digital assets, copy and tools through Promoboxx.

[Tweet “”It is important that our local retailers have the same tools that we do.” – @kenthawkins”]

It is important that our local retailers have the same tools that we do as a brand. We want the consumer to stay in our ecosystem when making their buying decisions. Empowering our local retailers with these tools means the consumer is more likely to purchase our product instead of one from our competitors.

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This is your first year at Aligned. What are you most excited for?

The harbor cruise! Okay, okay, I am looking forward to that, but more so, it’s the PEOPLE!

I am excited to meet other brands that have been crushing it with their local retailers. I want to hear from retailers that are pushing the needle and showing e-commerce that people still want to buy local. I want to meet people from across the continent that are facing different retail challenges that my retailers are likely facing, too. I want to learn from others on what marketing in the flooring, automotive and sneaker industry is like.

I guess I will need to get there early… sounds like I have a lot of people to meet!

Related content: SmartWool Pushes Boundaries for Dealer Support [Interview] >

Best career advice you were given or personal motto you live by?

I was once told that “If Tomorrow’s Challenges are not bigger than Today’s, your company isn’t growing.”

I think about meetings years ago and the problems that we faced then compared to now. They seem like peanuts compared to the mountains that we face today. Your job doesn’t get “easier” the longer you work, you just get better at solving bigger and bigger challenges!

[Tweet “”Don’t avoid the challenges; they are what make you great.” – @kenthawkins”]

Twelve years ago, many of my retailers came to me not knowing how to put their store hours on their static websites. Now they are struggling to figure out how to take Bitcoins as a payment method and are some of the top e-commerce properties in my industry! Don’t avoid the challenges; they are what make you great.

Related content: Promoboxx Continues Momentum in the Outdoor Market >

Who is your favorite local retailer?

Well, I could take this as an opportunity to plug one of my Arc’teryx retailers, but I won’t! Instead I will tell you about this small chain of stores in Vancouver called Motherland.

These lifestyle men’s stores feature their house label, National Standard, that is made 100% in Vancouver along with a hand-picked selection of some of the best fashion and lifestyle essentials for any man’s wardrobe. That isn’t what makes them great, though.

At the location I go to, their longtime employee, Chris, knows me by name even though I only shop there two or three times a year. He also remembers my shirt and pant size and can tell me all the ins and outs of each of the brands that they carry and why I might like them.

This personal attention keeps me coming back, along with the classic styling of their clothes. Too often we forget that our customers are not numbers and when we treat them like friends, they become our most loyal customers.

Want to hear more insights from Kent? Join him at the 2016 Aligned Conference on September 14-16 in Boston! Check out the full speaker lineup here.

Related content:

Outdoor Industry Cuts a Path for Specialty Retailer Support >

SmartWool Pushes Boundaries for Dealer Support [Interview] >

Promoboxx Continues Momentum in the Outdoor Market >

Osprey Packs’ Forward-Thinking Approach to Supporting Specialty Retailers >