L.L.Bean: Be an Outsider at Work

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After more than 106 years in business, L.L.Bean was widely known as a fall and winter brand, represented in consumers’ minds by the boots and flannel on the pages of its iconic catalogues.

The brand set out to become known as a champion of time spent experiencing the shared joy of the outdoors year-around. As summer approached, L.L.Bean needed a way to earn its way into the media and consumer conversation. But there was no meaningfully positive brand news on the horizon.


L.L.Bean’s core outdoor enthusiast target audience… wasn’t as “outdoorsy” as you’d think.

They spend 95% of their lives indoors. And 50% of that was at surprisingly stationary desk jobs. In fact, their jobs were the #1 barrier holding them back from spending time outside.

Yet research shows that working outdoors actually makes us better employees. We’re 50% more productive, we’re 3X as creative, and 92% of people are happier when they work outside.


“Be an Outsider at Work” – a research-backed movement to help people bring the outdoors into their workday – giving “out of office” new meaning.


We built the first-ever outdoor co-working space
A perfect manifestation of L.L.Bean’s belief in the power of the shared joy of the outdoors, the co-working spaces were complete with free Wi-Fi, power hookups and fresh air, capturing the imagination and calendars of our previously desk-bound consumers and press.

L.L.Bean: Be An Outsider at Work CampaignTo ensure the space was as functional as it was visionary, we partnered with innovative, collaborative workspace brand, Industrious, to power a free online reservation system, productivity-perfect office finishes and friendly on-site workplace community managers. We made sure to maximize the impact of our openings by inviting press to work outside for the day, hosting radio and TV remote segments, a 27-interview satellite media tour, and local influencer partnerships.White paper: We knew that a true change in the way people work wouldn’t take off unless it was credible with the bosses. That’s why L.L.Bean bucked category norms and expectations by co-authoring a white paper with pre-eminent workplace strategist and bestselling author of “The Healthy Workplace,” Leigh Stringer. The “Be an Outsider at Work Handbook” was distributed through native advertising optimized to downloads on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and seeded with the press.
Infographic: An infographic that documented key statistics from our research offered simple reminders of how to get outside during the workday. And it was perfectly post-able in office cubicles! It made a stellar email marketing asset and was widely cited by the press and bloggers.

Digital video tips: Populating Instagram and Facebook feeds throughout the campaign were a series of social-first silent video tips that made our big idea ultra-doable. Each one cited a compelling statistic (e.g. 50% increase in performance after 4 days working outside) followed by a simple tip (e.g. A Fresher Outlook: Make outside spaces bookable conference rooms).

NowThis native video: Popular digital publisher NowThis, known for its ability to propel cultural ideas with social-first provocative pieces, released two videos documenting L.L.Bean’s outdoor co-working space and research results. This led to through-the-roof social sharing and vibrant public comment threads among co-workers about putting L.L.Bean’s ideas into action in their offices.


Suddenly, L.L.Bean was being heralded on the front page of USA Today (the #1 US newspaper) and quickly changed both the way people viewed work and thought about the brand. And as we took work outside, workers across the country were all in.Earned relevance: 406M earned impressions and 52 Tier 1 media placements (520% of historical benchmark)

L.L.Bean landed 478 earned placements in national and regional press (including CBS, NBC, Fox, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc. and The Boston Globe) for Be An Outsider at Work. PR message pull-through was 100%, with 83% carrying two or more messages.

Consumer engagement: .44% Social Engagement Rate (440% of industry average)Thanks to over 3,972,000 campaign video views and 86,528 social engagements, L.L.Bean was at the center of conversation.

Behavior change: 73% increase in L.L.Bean’s branded search queries the week of launch and 95% likelihood to work outside in the futurePeople loved the idea of working outside, sending organic search for the L.L.Bean brand through the roof, and 91% rated their experience working outdoors as a positive reflection on the L.L.Bean brand.