Industry Views - February 2017

Kathy Ireland On Brand Success
By Wanda Jankowski

The kathy ireland® Worldwide brand (kathyireland.com) has been in the news quite a bit recently. Read about the extended partnership with pet products company, Worldwise® on p. 18. Last month, a new Michael Amini® kathy ireland® Home Designs furniture line was announced to launch in 2017. Bush Furniture and kathy ireland® Worldwide have also extended their partnership for kathy ireland® Office furniture through 2023.

Finally, Kathy Ireland has joined Social Reality, Inc., an internet advertising company, as the chief branding advisor. Social Reality also expects to begin working on social media projects for kathy ireland® Worldwide. So, as a long-established brand leader, who better to seek insights from into the workings of brand success than Kathy Ireland, the chair, ceo and chief designer of kathy ireland® Worldwide!

What elements are crucial to the success of your brand? How has the brand had to change with the times and audience?

“Knowing our customer. A strong brand identity is critical to continued success and relevance. From the very beginning, the brand has always used a small ‘k’ and small ‘i’. That was a deliberate decision to not make the brand about me, but about our customer. In the beginning, our mission statement was ‘...finding solutions for families, especially busy moms’. Today, as we serve everyone from Millennials to Boomers, our mission has simply become ‘...solutions’.”

Will collaboration with internet advertising company Social Reality bring the kathy ireland® Worldwide brand closer to a younger audience via social media?

“It absolutely will, though Millennial awareness of our brand is too narrow a scope for our mission. Our goal is to be genuinely and continuously relevant to people of all ages and backgrounds. As part of our brand’s identity, we reject terms like ‘demographic’ and ‘consumer’. Our partnership with Social Reality is the beginning of our brand truly embracing a powerful and dynamic online presence.

“Another powerful initiative our company believes in has been the hiring of our Millennial Team to give our brand a fresh perspective. It’s important to give the younger generation a seat at the table so the brand stays relevant to them.”

Is brand success today harder or easier to attain than it was five or ten years ago?

“Much easier today! When we started our brand 27 years ago, we didn’t have so many of the digital and social tools that we utilize today. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have become integral to building our brand. The digital landscape has leveled the playing field for getting our message heard. Anyone can build their own following, get their brand seen.

“Another advance is the proliferation of cable and web channels as viable broadcast systems. We are believers in sponsored programming, where brands are able to control communication. We have two programs on air with our partners at MMP USA: ‘Worldwide Business’ and ‘Modern Living’.


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