In September of 2022, Sophie Bambuck joined The North Face team as their new CMO. Sophie is bringing seasons of sports marketing experience to a brand that’s built upon conquering them — a year and a half with Everlane, before that nearly 12 years with Nike, much of that time as VP of global brand marketing. Six months into her new role, she’s ready to unleash her skills on a North Face Campaign slated for this coming fall. Needless to say, we’re thrilled.
Bambuck said that her time at Nike showed her that using product to solve consumer needs should be a strategic singularity. “Everything needs to be consumer-centric,” she said. “That’s my school of marketing.”
Working with the Nike running team, Bambuck said the team realized that it was always better to let people choose what type of shoe they wanted to wear, rather than suggesting specific shoe types based on foot shape or running style, for example.
They instead asked, “How do you want to run? What is the experience that you want to have when you run? Let’s serve that versus putting you in a box.”
Bambuck is bringing these insights with her to The North Face, focusing her efforts on listening to their customers.
The North Face looks to specific consumer feedback to ensure it’s speaking to its audience—like the snow community or the climbing community—in the right way. This includes working with actual athletes on the marketing team, collecting feedback from them, and hosting monthly athlete forums and focus groups.
Another feedback loop The North Face taps into is their gang of hyper committed brand loyalists. “We have very loyal followers, and they’re very, very honest and open,” Bambuck said, adding that the feedback loop is “better than what [she’s] seen in a lot of other places.”
That feedback informs things like the tone, words, and images that The North Face uses in its marketing, she said.
Check out this recent campaign that utilizes these creative directives well, speaking both to a streetwear audience and a ‘frozen cliff scaling’ audience.