Woolmark shakes up digital spend and goes global

By Nicola Riches | 27 November 2014

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) – the organisation which owns the Woolmark brand and represents Australian woolgrowers – has taken its consumer-facing portal, Merino.com, global, while incorporating an e-commerce platform for the first time.

The Merino.com digital platform acts as the global hub for all of AWI’s marketing campaigns. There are currently three in operation: the ‘Campaign for Wool’, ‘Merino Wool – No Finer Feeling’ and ‘Cool Wool’.

The launch of Merino.com gives all three campaigns, plus a raft of extra material and editorial about the Woolmark brand, a global, digital outlet for the first time in keeping with the company’s remit to extend its digital presence beyond any other media.

“Merino.com is our primary channel for educating consumers on the benefits of Merino wool through highly engaging content,” explains Woolmark Company chief strategy and marketing officer Rob Langtry.

Langtry told AdNews: “It completely fits with our prediction that our current marketing activities were split 60% traditional media, 40% digital, but by the end of this year that will change to 80% digital, 20% traditional and when we say traditional, we mean print only. In the next three years that will probably change to a 90/10% split. ”

AWI, which is headquartered in Sydney but runs 13 offices across the world, has developed the platform in association with local digital marketing agency Lowe Profero.

Lowe has been working with AWI for the past 18 months after winning the pitch to develop the platform. It has now overseen the global push – which has meant site redevelopment to incorporate different languages and SEO optimisation – and the addition of the Merino.com shop which aggregates content from AWI’s 80 retail and design partners, including Paul Smith, Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein.

“We took AWI’s vision for a global digital content platform and brought it to life with a high-end aesthetic in line with luxury brands such as Burberry or Vogue. The idea was that we help AWI educate people about the Woolmark brand and create a beautiful, premium platform which reflects the long-standing partnerships it has across the world,” said Lowe Profero managing director Dave Bentley.

“Four years ago the wool industry went back into marketing after a decade of doing nothing. Now we’re at the point where Merino.com gives us a global, quick to market digital presence in keeping with the Woolmark brand. The site offers a complete experience from education through to purchase,” added Langtry.

AWI does not retain one media agency, instead calling upon what it says is a ‘large internal capacity’. However, it does maintain relationships with Havas, Profero, Host and social media monitoring firm Click.

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