The Innovation Playbook: Land's End: Envisioning the Non-Obvious

By Jennifer Aaker, Debra Schifrin
2016 | Case No. M365 | Length 17 pgs.

In 2015, Federica Marchionni left her position as the president of the high fashion company Dolce & Gabbana USA to become the CEO of Lands’ End.  She came with a mandate to drive the $1.4 billion iconic American clothing company into the next era. This case covers Marchionni’s innovation initiatives from early 2015 to mid-2016, which were aimed at delighting the company’s loyal customer base (half of whom were suburban women between 35 and 54), and acquiring new and different types of customers. An important component was developing a brand segmentation strategy—highlighting new fits and more modern clothing lines. Marchionni was also innovating on marketing initiatives to further the company’s growth goals. The 50-year-old company had a strong brand heritage and a solid financial position.  However, the message coming from both the financial and commercial markets was that the company had to change with the times. 

Lands’ End’s choice of Marchionni as CEO was a non-obvious selection for the company—which focused on quality, affordable clothing—and a non-obvious career choice for Marchionni as well.  She had started in the tech industry, moved into the luxury/lifestyle arena, and then shifted into couture and high fashion.  Inspired by the Lands’ End name, history, and philanthropy, she saw a huge opportunity to use the tools she had gained in her past experiences and apply them to Lands’ End to create a meaningful brand and a sense of purpose. Marchionni’s goal was to infuse talent into the company and promote teamwork. In addition to carrying out large-scale changes in strategy, Marchionni faced an even bigger hurdle—changing mindsets within the organization—taking people from the past and the present into the future and activating a culture of adaptability.

Learning Objective

The leaning object is for students to examine Lands’ End efforts to innovate its products, marketing, and culture. These innovations can be assessed along four main dimensions: 1) Leading with purpose, 2) Designing for Empathy, 3) Designing the Story, and 4) Designing to Scale.
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