“Epic Games is a service Provider”: Q&A with Timberland Marketing Director Drieke Leenknegt on brand metaverse strategy

Timberland has entered the metaverse. The model launched a multifaceted enterprise final week that included interplay Fortnite Artistic Expertise Timberland Parkour Trails, in addition to different tasks to discover the makes use of of digital and augmented actuality know-how within the shoe area.

The activation is the results of a partnership between Timberland, developer Fortnite Epic Video games, and CONCEPTKICKS, a footwear web site based by designer and influencer Daniel Bailey. Particulars of the monetary settlement should not obtainable. It is not Timberland’s first foray right into a digital area for advertising functions – that honor goes to him TimbsTrailsan interactive expertise the corporate launched in January — however it marks the model’s resolution to immerse themselves additional into the metaverse, validating the game-driven imaginative and prescient of the idea. Powered by Epic in processing. To additional underscore the connection between the gaming neighborhood and Timberland’s metaverse technique, the model introduced in in style Twitch operator SypherPK Hassan to advertise the expertise to its followers.

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

This interview has been calmly edited and condensed for readability.

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

We have seen this acceleration of digital product creation that has been significantly accelerated by COVID, significantly inside Timberland. That is central to what we do in the present day, not solely as a result of it has enabled us to drive product and footwear innovation ahead, however it has additionally been driving our sustainability agenda after we have a look at the advantages of making digital merchandise.

The best way we have a look at partnerships in Timberland is, when you’re a associate, you are collaborating as a result of collectively, you are able to do one thing you may’t do alone. Trying round us, Epic was the proper associate, as a result of Epic is greater than what you see from a client perspective – Epic is a service supplier with Unreal Engine. They’re the service supplier that permits manufacturers to make use of digitalization from idea to client. You wish to convey individuals collectively for cross-pollination, to push your self ahead and innovate.

So Timberland thinks the Unreal Engine may grow to be the constructing blocks for metaverse?

sure. My friends aren’t right here, however I feel I can converse for all of us, particularly the heads of design. The probabilities that Unreal Engine provides to additional help within the improvement and digitization of the end-to-end go-to-market is astounding, which can also be why we like to associate with them.

Epic’s imaginative and prescient of the metaverse differs from some others as a result of there is no such thing as a Web3 side to its platform – its imaginative and prescient of the metaverse doesn’t require a blockchain infrastructure. Why did you search to activate a game-inspired metaverse somewhat than an activation that features NFT?

We’re a client pushed model; This implies we should be within the mindset and lifetime of the patron. And gaming actually turned part of their lives, proper? The best way we glance is: Be the place your client is, serve the patron wherever they’re, meet their wants and associate with them wherever they’re. At this cut-off date, NFTs should not on the agenda, as a result of we have not regarded on the alternatives or the wants for that. However that does not imply it may possibly’t occur. What’s going to determine our partnership with the patron and what they want and what they’re in search of – but additionally as a model, what do we want? The place can we study?

Why did Timberland select gaming influencer SypherPK to advertise this model revitalization?

Throughout the platforms our clients are in, we wish to associate with the suitable individuals, whether or not it is gaming, music, leisure or artwork. The best way we have a look at our partnerships with individuals like SypherPK is to ensure there’s synergy. The partnership was nice. It was an honor for us to work with him.

That’s the reason this undertaking is as distinctive because the collaboration. Bringing collectively these game-changing people, industrial designers, Daniel Bailey, Metavision, and the individuals of Unreal Engine. It brings all of them collectively to discover and uncover new area and push ourselves. “One plus one equals three” is one thing we at Timberland take very critically after we look not solely at 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