Outdoorsman Leon Leonwood Bean developed his now-famous waterproof boot, so he could fully enjoy the tranquility of Maine’s fertile freshwater shorelines. In 1912, he lent his name to a new company, L.L.Bean, formed to market the innovative footwear to like-minded naturalists. For years, the brand was synonymous with camping supplies, wilderness gear and top-of-the-line quality. But by 2017, internal tracking suggested that the brand’s original message had become garbled.
“We were founded 100-plus years ago as an outdoor brand, but we sell a lot of casual apparel as well,” says Kathryn Pratt, the company’s director of brand engagement. VIA, the agency L.L.Bean hired to bring clarity to the message, agreed; VIA CEO Leeann Leahy told Adweek the brand had fragmented and “lost its clear path.”