‘Epic Games is a service provider’: A Q&A with Timberland CMO Drieke Leenknegt on the brand’s metaverse strategy

Timberland has entered the metaverse. The model kicked off a multi-faceted activation final week that included an interactive Fortnite Artistic expertise, the Timberland Parkour Trails, along with different tasks exploring the makes use of of digital and augmented actuality expertise within the footwear area.

The activation is the results of a partnership between Timberland, Fortnite developer Epic Video games and CONCEPTKICKS, a footwear web site based by designer and influencer Daniel Bailey. Particulars of the monetary settlement weren’t out there. It isn’t Timberland’s first foray right into a digital area for advertising and marketing functions — that honor goes to TimbsTrails, an interactive expertise that the corporate launched in January — but it surely represents the model’s determination to plunge additional into the metaverse, validating the game-powered imaginative and prescient for the idea championed by Epic within the course of. To additional underline the connection between the gaming group and Timberland’s metaverse technique, the model introduced on standard Twitch streamer Ali “SypherPK” Hassan to advertise the expertise to his followers.

Digiday contacted Timberland CMO Drieke Leenknegt to study extra about why Timberland picked Fortnite as its metaverse platform of selection — and whether or not the model plans to get into the NFT sport within the foreseeable future.

This interview has been frivolously edited and condensed for readability.

Why did Timberland associate with Epic Video games for this activation, quite than different metaverse platforms reminiscent of Roblox or Decentraland?

Particularly accelerated by COVID, and particularly inside Timberland, we now have seen this acceleration of digital product creation. That’s quintessential at present to what we do, not solely as a result of it has enabled us to push product and footwear innovation ahead, but it surely additionally has been driving our sustainability agenda once we have a look at the advantages of digital product creation.

The way in which we have a look at partnerships at Timberland is, if you happen to associate, you collaborate as a result of collectively, you are able to do one thing that you just can not do by yourself. Wanting round us, Epic was the right associate, as a result of Epic is greater than what you see from a shopper perspective — Epic is a service supplier with Unreal Engine. They’re the service supplier that enables manufacturers to make use of digitalization from idea to shopper. You wish to convey folks collectively to cross-pollinate, to push your self ahead and to innovate.

So Timberland believes that Unreal Engine might grow to be the constructing blocks of the metaverse?

Sure. My counterparts will not be right here, however I believe I can converse within the title of all of us, particularly the heads of design. The probabilities that Unreal Engine provides to additional assist evolve and digitize the go-to-market course of from begin to end is superb, and that is additionally a purpose why we like to associate with them.

Epic’s imaginative and prescient for the metaverse differs from some others as a result of there’s no Web3 side to its platform — its imaginative and prescient for the metaverse doesn’t require blockchain infrastructure. Why did you pursue a gaming-inspired metaverse activation as a substitute of 1 involving NFTs?

We’re a consumer-led model; that signifies that we must be within the mindset and within the lives of the patron. And gaming has actually grow to be a part of their lives, proper? The way in which we have a look at it’s: be the place your shopper is, serve your shopper the place they’re, reply their wants and associate with them the place they’re. At this second in time, NFTs haven’t come to the agenda, as a result of we now have not seemed on the alternatives or wants for that. However that doesn’t imply that it can not occur. What is going to resolve that’s our partnership with the patron and what they want and what they’re in search of — but additionally as a model, what do we’d like? The place can we study?

Why did Timberland select SypherPK, a gaming influencer, to advertise this model activation?

Throughout the platforms the place our shoppers are, we wish to associate with the suitable folks, whether or not it’s within the gaming area, or music, or leisure or artwork. The way in which we have a look at our partnerships with folks like SypherPK is ensuring that there’s a synergy. And the partnership has been nice; it was an honor for us to work with him.

That’s why this challenge is so distinctive as a collaboration. You convey collectively these game-changing people, from the economic designers, Daniel Bailey, Metavision, the folks of Unreal Engine. You convey all of them collectively to actually discover and carve out new area and push ourselves. The “one plus one equals three” is one thing that we at Timberland take very significantly once we have a look at not solely design innovation but additionally at storytelling.

‘Epic Games is a service provider’: A Q&A with Timberland CMO Drieke Leenknegt on the brand’s metaverse strategy

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