BEST OF 2008

Fashion Forward

Andrew Barrett is driving big sales increases at LG Canada with large event sponsorships, including a new series of fashion industry partnerships.

By Susan O'Neill November 24, 2008, 8:00 AM EST

LG Electronics Canada vice president of marketing Andrew Barrett

Photo: Jill Kitchener for BizBash

As vice president of marketing at LG Electronics Canada, Andrew Barrett has spearheaded the marketing campaigns for several products—including phones and HD televisions—since joining the company in October 2006. Under his direction, LG expanded its marketing department and increased its budget tenfold, with roughly 25 percent going to events. Meanwhile, the company experienced a 30 percent sales increase in 2007, to $1 billion in annual revenue.

Among LG’s event efforts are a runway show at the foot of Whistler Mountain during the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival and a 70-yard golf hole in downtown Montreal during the President's Cup. Next up: In September, LG announced a series of fashion partnerships.

To what do you attribute the brand’s success over the past year?
One of the first things has been a continual investment in innovative new products that have quickly established a leadership position. The second area that’s really helped has been the explosive development of LG brand awareness among Canadians in the past 12 months. The Leger Marketing Survey in Canada said we had the fastest-growing corporate reputation of any company in Canada in 2007. Our unaided brand awareness grew from about 27 to 48 percent … so we’ve seen the brand really explode, and that’s been based on a massive investment in marketing and events and PR-related activity.

How has that emphasis factored into LG’s marketing strategy?
We’ve spent a lot of time doing product-dedicated PR, and there’s always an event component tied to that. Our second goal has been to increase the association of the brand as being one that’s getting involved in Canadian communities, enhancing Canadians’ lifestyles and doing cool and interesting things.

In Montreal, events and community are very important to the fabric of the city. So LG coming in [during President's Cup week in September 2007], building the LG Open [a 70-yard golf hole in downtown Montreal], and giving Montrealers a chance to get involved in an event, to become engaged with the brand and PGA golf and feel the excitement of what was going on that week—that really contributed to their overall positive impressions.

LG collaborated with Shan Swimwear for the launch of the Chocolate phones. What was your goal in creating that partnership?

I wanted to make Canadians aware of the Chocolate phones, and Shan—a fashion house out of Montreal that has a really good global footprint and awareness for its brand—needed to boost its profile. We were able to put both brands together, and we co-launched with the Chocolate Temptation fashion show in Montreal and at the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival in Whistler. In all of our activities, our goal is to partner with somebody who can get as much out of it as we can … we have never really tried to do a stand-alone event.

How do you evaluate or measure the success of these events?

We measure the PR value. Did we achieve that PR objective in terms of total value that was generated, as well as the messaging that was the result of the event? The second thing we look at is the consumer awareness and impression created by the event. So, how aware were the people in Quebec of the LG Open, and what was their disposition toward that event? We measure consumer engagement and reaction. The third thing we measure is, how effectively did it drive the online traffic goal that we set for that event? And finally, did it stay on budget?

Where do you see the company’s marketing strategy going next year?
We need to broaden the geographical footprint we are appealing to. The second thing that will change going forward is that we are working very hard to build some recurring associations— things like the Canadian Texting Championships that we hope will become ongoing events for us.

LG unveiled its Fall Fashion Collection in September, which included a partnership with Fashion Television during the Toronto International Film Festival and a Maroon 5 concert during Fashion Week in October. What is the significance of this campaign for LG?
What we launched this fall is a foundation for where we see all of our future events and marketing campaigns being rooted going forward. We worked on this for close to a year, bringing in all these really great partners, like the Fashion Design Council of Canada, Fashion Cares, and Fashion Television. It’s the biggest thing we’ve ever done at LG Canada.

What do you hope to achieve with this campaign?
Everything that we’ve done in the last 12 months to get to here is just a starting point to where I hope to end up another year from now. We are looking to further expand our involvement in Canadian fashion. We’re trying to find ways to go beyond just Toronto. We’re trying to get more and more Canadians who haven’t experienced the world of fashion in our country to get involved, to see it, to be part of it, and to understand what an important industry it is to Canada—and along the way, really revere LG for getting engaged.

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