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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

Did anyone proofread this document before it was published?

Beau Ushay

CMO Momentum 2020: How to embrace agile marketing

Read more

he decision to limit the initial version of the code to two US companies is discriminatory and will inevitably give an unfair advantage t...

Azeem Sohail

Google hits out at ACCC draft code of conduct for news media negotiations

Read more

You’re a warrior woman from way back. Just let the muscle memory take over!

Hannah Sturrock

Why fear trumps marketing theory - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

What an inspiring piece of writing, Hannah, thank you so much for sharing! All right, team jersey out of the locker, brains on, eye of th...

Myriam Conrie

Why fear trumps marketing theory - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

Thanks for the post

Ashirwad Towers

How a brand facelift and content strategy turned real estate software, Rockend, around

Read more

Blog Posts

Creating a culture club builds ownership of teamwork

Workplace cultures are the sum of everyone’s beliefs, behaviours, attitudes and skills. This means that no single person is responsible for culture, it belongs to the team.

Colin D Ellis

Culture change expert, author

A Brand for social justice

In 2020, brands did something they’d never done before: They spoke up about race.

Dipanjan Chatterjee and Xiaofeng Wang

VP and principal analyst and senior analyst, Forrester

Determining our Humanity

‘Business as unusual’ is a term my organisation has adopted to describe the professional aftermath of COVID-19 and the rest of the tragic events this year. Social distancing, perspex screens at counters and masks in all manner of situations have introduced us to a world we were never familiar with. But, as we keep being reminded, this is the new normal. This is the world we created. Yet we also have the opportunity to create something else.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Sign in