For a brand as large as Levi Strauss, crafting a personal relationship with its gigantic customer base is both ambitious and daunting. Advertising campaigns help declare the company’s visions and credo, but tend to have a hard time uniting customer and company. Realizing this void, Levi Strauss launched a blog — aptly called Unzipped — which uncovers exactly who, what, and why Levis is what it is. From up close and personal profiles of inspirational people, to ways of caring for your Levis and company news, Unzipped helps foster personal connections between Levis and its customers. Intrigued and interested in learning more, we caught up with Unzipped editor Michelle Wright to get an inside look at Levi’s inspirations and creativity behind the site.
What inspired Levis to put together the Unzipped blog?
When you pair the exciting work that’s going on everyday at LS&Co. in areas like innovation and sustainability with a history that spans 161 years, the result is a seemingly endless well of amazing story ideas. We wanted a way to tell those stories, give our perspective as it relates to industry trends and issues, and take our fans behind the scenes a bit to show them a side of the company they may not always see in our more traditional communications.
How has the site been received since its launch?
Very positively! It’s great to have a dedicated space that speaks to everything that’s happening on a company level. We’ve received a lot of support from our own employees as well as the audiences that our stories resonate with—everyone from die-hard Levi’s fans to denim and khaki lovers around the world. Of course, we’re hoping to continue and expand our topic offerings, but so far we’ve had success with pieces like “Stop Washing Your Jeans:” LS&Co. CEO Chip Bergh at Brainstorm Green, 5 Planet-Friendly Tips to Clean your Jeans, and We Don’t Chase the Landscape, We Change It.
When you look at the site, it’s apparent it provides a more personal look at the massive brand Levis has become. Talk about why this is important for Levis and how you feel this brings you closer to your customer base.
That’s exactly what we’re hoping to achieve. So many people have a personal connection with LS&Co. and our brands. We’re really trying to celebrate that on Unzipped with in-depth profiles of people we admire, personal insights from employees, exclusive information about the company, and even tips for people to care for their clothing. Unzipped is a way to personally deliver company news and views directly to anyone who’s interested and we’re excited by the opportunity to share and learn from fans and industry peers in the process.
Explain a little about the creative process behind choosing which content posts to Unzipped.
We act a bit like a newsroom, with an editorial calendar, pitches, and “beats”. We work with Group SJR, a creative agency that specializes in content, to brainstorm on story ideas. As editor, I oversee our content strategy, making sure our stories touch on our various areas of focus as a company – from sustainability to innovation to heritage and community involvement — and reflect the voice and tone that we’re hoping to capture on the site. As far as the creative process goes, everyone on staff obviously loves jeans and khakis, so there’s no shortage of enthusiasm for the subject, whether it’s about what it’s like to work as a Levi’s designer or the story behind a particular product or trend. LS&Co. is a company that prides itself on its storied past and oftentimes, it’s as easy as mining the company archives, talking with someone in the elevator, or popping over to the Eureka Innovation lab to uncover interesting narratives or people to profile on the site.
What are you (and Levis) most proud of about the blog?
I’m most proud that the site’s content captures the pioneering spirit of the company (or at least that’s what I’m focused on doing everyday!). From implementing the Terms of Engagement in partner factories, to supporting gay marriage, and championing women’s rights, the stories from within LS&Co. aren’t just about jeans — they’re about action and doing what’s right, which is a narrative thread that I’m thrilled to support. The stories I love most highlight the great work people do in their favorite Levi’s or Dockers. For instance, we recently launched a Modern Day Pioneer series, which showcases a few visionaries that we admire, from sustainable startup founders to philanthropists and do-gooders. I love being able to give those stories the attention they deserve. And, of course, I know so much more about the history of the jean than I ever thought I would!
What’s the ideal path for Unzipped moving forward?
Telling compelling, authentic stories that resonate with our readers will always be our number one goal, I don’t see that changing. As we move forward, we want to push the boundaries of how we’re telling those stories through additional multimedia and visual content and by providing interesting insights into what’s on the horizon and how we’re innovating. Our ideal path is one that makes sure we tell the great stories we have here at LS&Co. and celebrate the principles that have kept us going for the last 161 years.
Head on over to Levis’ Unzipped blog to catch all the unique stories, personal perspectives, and latest projects coming out of the San Francisco based company.