In 2021, the outdoor adventure category had exploded to $170bn globally, but Kathmandu’s sales were declining. It was lacking differentiation vs competitors, and struggling to find its place in the category. Brands tended to either be about conquering the mountain (masculine and technical) or saving the mountain (activist and casual). 

We turned to consumer research to explore whether this bifurcation of the category satisfied all tastes. As it turned out, people were looking for a third way; they wanted an inclusive place where they could just be themselves and feel happy.

We went deeper, exploring how adventuring might influence happiness. Delving into emerging cultural themes and scientific white papers, we uncovered the truth that exposure to nature has a measurable physiological effect on people and a transformative effect on our behaviour. When we spend time outdoors, our stress goes down, our empathy goes up, we feel happier and more creative. 

Our creative approach was based on the uplifting truth that being outside changes our brain for the better. Outside is where we live our best lives. It liberates us, challenges us and revives us. This narrative became the centre of gravity for Kathmandu’s new brand platform: We’re Out There. 

We’re Out There is a celebration of getting outside that broke all the outdoor category norms. The launch work was designed to leverage the unique elements of New Zealand music and style culture. It paid tribute to the physiological effects of getting out there in a totally fresh way across the entire Kathmandu brand experience. From visual merchandising and instore, a revitalised brand ID and retail website, to email sign-offs and the customer loyalty programme, a fully integrated campaign across TV, social, OOH, digital and radio, we reimagined the Kathmandu brand to fully embody the ethos of We’re Out There.

The campaign smashed its targets with huge positive shifts in brand perceptions and significant increase in YOY sales. The platform has since travelled across three markets globally.

The cultural cool of this integrated work feels relevant to the Monkey Shoulder challenge. We infused every single touchpoint from the bottom up with the new spirit of Kathmandu, to make it relevant to a culturally-conscious next generation of outdoor explorers.


KATHMANDU: Marrying human insight and cultural cool to revitalise the entire brand experience

We repositioned Kathmandu and breathed new life into the whole brand experience. We married audience insight, science and design to create a fresh and flexible brand platform and award-winning integrated communications.

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