L.L. Bean Understands 21st Century Marketing

L.L. Bean Understands 21st Century Marketing We see it all the time. A well cultured and storied company struggle to bridge the gap between old age approach and the new age of marketing. One could easily foresee L.L. Bean falling victim to this trap, being a company stuck in the “old ways.” With a history of over a 100 years, L.L. Bean seems like the logical candidate to get stuck in the 1980’s.

When it comes to marketing, the playbook has changed.

But this does not mean culture and value propositions must change.

Think about it, when was the last time you wrote a thank you letter? It has likely been years. Sending that text or email with thx is just easier. Most sales are done via gmail and online (mobile) sales funnels today. The dynamics of sales have changed. The dynamics of customer acquisition have changed. The things that made L.L. Bean a titan of the apparel world 50 years ago are no longer pertinent. Now the approach is which athlete or reality tv star can we sponsor with the biggest twitter following.

For a company still located down the road from their original store, how can they compete in today’s world but still remain true to themselves? How does a billion dollar company stay down to earth, true to its roots and still compete with an entourage of full stack marketers?

Here is how:


An actual letter I received in the mail from L.L. Bean

An actual letter I received in the mail from L.L. Bean

Thank you for your L.L. Bean Boot order

We didn’t get your size wrong. We just wanted to let you know we appreciate your patience while our stitchers in Maine are hard at work handcrafting your boots. We make our boots right, not fast, so while you may have to wait a little while to get yours, we promise they will be worth it.


Raina Maxwell

VP Customer Satisfaction and Customer Advocate

Nothing says I am sorry like a true letter. Not an email. Not a text. A formal apology with a signature from a real person (she is real, click here for her LinkedIn). A physical letter gives you something to feel, to grasp, to comprehend.

The letter hits many important points. One of the greatest importance is being made in America. With many in the shoe space moving overseas, this is a testament to brand differentiation. The letter is short, funny and clever.

The most brilliant point about this note is not just the attached promotional item. The boot pictured above is a keychain, looks to be handcrafted and is a constant branding reminder. This letter helps reestablish the brand you are already familiar with. One where the quality of the product vastly outweighs the need it now mentality of todays world.

L.L. Bean makes an all encompassing statement with this “apology.” Essentially stating we would rather do it right than not at all. This is the perfect example of taken a potentially horrible public relations situation and instead reinforcing a corporate culture of caring and quality. Just for that I will gladly wait an additional two weeks for my boots. I may just buy an extra pair.

Writing A New Website Press Release

As we go through life we learn there is an art to everything. A special approach to making the perfect cup of coffee, grilling an amazing steak and carrying on a productive conversation. More often than not we overlook the artistic approach we should take to crafting a document as simple as a press release.

If you spend some time researching the matter of press releases, you see the formulaic approach exude itself. Insert basic information here, insert quote here, insert motivating paragraph about product/ transaction/ launch / etc. here.

Uhm boring.

Will that drive traffic to your site?

Will that embody your brand?

Will that increase the mailing list signup 10 fold?


Your team has been working on your product for months or years. You know it better than anyone else. The ins and outs, the pros and cons, you have them memorized, they sit on a sticky note pasted to your bathroom mirror.

1. Make sure the press release embodies your site.


The press release may go out to a few writers. It may go out to some friends. Hell it may even go to your local paper. Most importantly it will go on your site. It will be a mission statement of your brand, it will define where you have been and where you will go. It better talk about all the amazing aspects of your website. It better talk about the extraordinary aspects of your company. Get me (the consumer) excited!

2. Bullet point the awesome aspects of your site.


In todays world no matter how much people love your brand, they barely read your content. Make sure you cater to those individuals that are just “too busy” —  highlight the most important points. This will ensure you capture those cool kids that only care about the highlights (or that blogger/ writer that only has 30 seconds to read your email).

3. Make it personal


Yes I know quotes are boring. Though speaking from the heart is never boring. Have someone who is close to the project and values the new site give you a quality quote. Key work, quality. Make sure this embodies how the customer feels so the old customers can relate and the new ones can start using your site. This will ensure the press release has a personal feel.

4. Flaunt your company


Be it at the end or the beginning make sure you write about all the awesome things your company has done or will do. Why do this? If I stumble upon your site what do I want to know? I want to know about your site/company. I just learned about your new website and/or website upgrade. Now I want to know why you are awesome.

The above formula works great for relaunching a site or launching a new site. It does not work best for a new product or app launch. You need a little more excitement than the above formula.