Pacific Brands invests in Innovation Hub to drive big brand ideas

ASX-listed apparel company says the initial focus is on growth of its underwear category

ASX-listed apparel manufacturer, Pacific Brands, is looking to drive new product ideas across its underwear category then the wider business through a dedicated Innovation Hub.

The Innovation Hub launched in September and was highlighted in the company’s half-year results to 31 December 2015 as a key investment in building growth initiatives. The ambition is to drive big ideas in core and adjacent categories, with the current focus on underwear brands including Bonds, Berlei, Jockey and Explorer.

Manned by a dedicated team, the hub sits within the underwear division and reports directly to its creative director. It comprises creative and R&D teams, as well as technical innovation in areas such as fabrics, a key area of focus for the group.

“Our brands have been built on big ideas including the Hipster, Guy Front Trunk, Zippy Wondersuit, Berlei Electrify and Explorer socks,” a company spokesperson told CMO.

The Innovation Hub is designed to drive future growth firstly through generating new ideas, category expansions, reinvention and evolution of icons, overarching brand concepts, trends and innovation direction, the spokesperson said. It will also help with ideas execution, and prompt more experimentation, prototyping, testing, costing and work with global partners.

“It also enables the separate in-season design teams to focus on driving performance of basic and seasonal programs with brand teams,” the spokesperson said.

Pacific Brands has expanded its team to accommodate the new R&D lab, but also reallocated skills from other parts of the business.

“We have some fantastic talent across our broader design team and so have been able to redeploy a team of them into the innovation hub,” the spokesperson said.

A number of brands have been investing in dedicated innovation labs in the hopes of lifting ideas generation and product innovation while creating more of an entrepreneurial culture in their organisations. Several Australian banks, including Westpac, NAB and the Commonwealth Bank, for example, have launched innovation labs internally, and agencies, such as Imagination, have also kicked off similar teams to help foster technology-fuelled ideas generation for clients.

Pacific Brands reported strong growth in its first-half 2016 financial year, with sales up 8.6 per cent to $425.3 million, and reported net profits of $24.3m – a major jump from the $108.7m loss reported in the first half of 2015. The results have seen the group provide its first dividend in two years.

CEO, David Bortolussi, said the company had made a number of strategic moves to simplify its business that were now paying off. In the last half, these have included restructuring the Australian and UK Sheridan businesses, a move CMO understands included the departure of general manager of marketing, Sofia Lloyd-Jones, last December.

“At our full-year results and AGM, I said that F15 marked a turning point in the sales and earnings trajectory of Pacific Brands and I am pleased that our first-half 2016 results have demonstrated it,” Bortolussi said in a statement. “Sales and earnings were up in every operating group. This combined with our strong cash flow and increased net cash position, have enabled us to reinstate dividends with a payment ratio of 60 per cent.

“Our strategic priorities are clear, we are investing in growth and expect our operational plans to deliver EBIT of $73-$75m in F16.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Marketers are driving our innovation ecosystem

The Government's newly released National Innovation and Science Agenda shows that for economic growth to continue within Australia, an 'innovation ecosystem' must be fostered, where new businesses with new ideas are encouraged to grow and flourish. With every company wanting to increase, retain or improve their customers’ experiences, this makes marketing vital to fuelling Australia's ideas boom.

Lee Tonitto

CEO, Australian Marketing Institute

Putting experience design and strategy in the spotlight

​A few years ago, there was lots of chatter about the elusive UX unicorn; a mythical person capable of delivering everything from research to design to development. It became an obsession for the industry, sparking debate about whether this was the metaphor for how unreasonable our expectations of designers had become, while some felt it was what all designers should be aspiring to.

Tracy Brown

Experience design strategy director, DT

Making sense of artificial intelligence

When new trends and technologies burst onto the marketing scene, there’s always a frantic effort to either keep up or provide guidance, especially when serious amounts of money are involved. It happened with social media, it happened with personalisation and big data, and it’s happening now with artificial intelligence.

Phil Whitehouse

Asia-Pacific innovation lead, DigitasLB

Martech will definitely make everything better especially when it comes to marketing and sales. Any business not comfortable with it shou...

TapAnalytics

Marketo’s CEO talks martech industry consolidation and his enterprise customer ambitions

Read more

You can also try this leads to revenue calculator tool (it's free): https://www.strategic-ic.co.uk...

Fes Askari

​The dangers of misaligning your marketing budget with business goals

Read more

“We wanted to provide was a way for a customer to have a seamless experience as they went across channels,” Marrocco added. “So if your c...

Sarah

​Telstra’s mission to match the offline experience with online customer service

Read more

You have the right to know what happened that made AI possible, after all these years.I discovered and patented statistics on unstructure...

Ilya Geller

Making sense artificial intelligence - Food for thought - CMO Australia

Read more

I hope this trickles down to job opportunities and more analytics based careers on the government.

Ale Xandra

Australian Open details data analytics improvements driving digital fan engagement

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in