Harry Rosen. Simply hearing or reading the name is often enough to evoke feelings of respect, gratitude and even adoration from a legion of customers and fans of the brand that has, through the years, managed to cultivate a unique position for itself in the Canadian market, becoming synonymous with top-quality tailoring and exceptional personal service. Providing a remarkable product as well as an unparalleled brand experience for its clients through its execution, incredible attention to detail and the development of meaningful, high-touch relationships was all part of Harry Rosen’s vision when he founded the company in 1954. They are the pillars on which the company was built and the principles that have helped propel the brand forward, allowing it the privilege of carrying the mantle as Canada’s leading luxury menswear retailer. They are strengths of the company that Harry’s son, Larry, has helped personify and accentuate, seeing out the expansion and growth of the brand, since joining the business 35 years ago. And it’s as a result of a continued commitment to these operating fundamentals, combined with a clear strategy for the future, that’s allowed a third generation within the business, Ian Rosen, to elevate the company further, supported by the launch of a new brand platform and enhanced Harry Rosen digital experience.
The bold decision, which includes a significant change to the brand’s look and feel, is meant to help modernize it, reinforce its relevance and underscore the innovation and creativity with which Harry Rosen continues to move forward and lead at the forefront of style in the country. It’s a decision that’s also come as the result of a broader strategic business transformation that’s included changes to the company’s internal structure, changes most notable in the appointments of Trinh Tham as Chief Marketing Officer and Ian Rosen as Vice President of Digital and Strategy. And it’s one that the company feels will help it not only enhance the Harry Rosen experience for its current clients, but will also enable it to increase its breadth of clientele by appealing to and engaging with a wider audience.
New Brand Platform and Digital Experience
Working alongside Toronto-based creative agency, Zulu Alpha Kilo, the company established its refreshed brand optics as part of the development of its fully integrated campaign ‘Set The Tone’. The campaign, which was launched on September 22, has been executed across a multitude of channels, both traditional and digital, and is intended to support the evolution of the brand and to help write a new chapter to add to its already illustrious history. With a focus on Canadian role models who are leading by example within the communities they live, the campaign provides a platform for their inspirational stories and serves to illuminate the Harry Rosen message of leadership, creativity, inclusivity and passion. It all adds up to a bit of a reimagining of the brand while remaining true to the philosophies that have helped it grow to become a Canadian icon. And, with the underpinning of a completely retooled and revamped digital strategy and experience for the customer driving the transformation, Ian Rosen is confident that the company has only just scratched the surface with respect to the possibilities that it can help unleash for the brand.
“We’re really excited about what’s to come,” says Rosen. “What we’ve done is lay the foundation for a new era of the brand. And that’s all about supporting and elevating the customer experience across all of the channels that our clients shop and engage with us in, and ensuring that their journey is consistent and seamless between channels. The amount of work and focus that everyone’s put toward this digital transformation, complemented by the development of a supercharged message in market, has already allowed us to achieve this. And I feel like we’re only getting started.”
The transformation, which includes a new and fully optimized Harry Rosen website, was developed with the help of Toronto-based software developer and integrated digital experience expert, Myplanet, with a focus on improving the digital experience for customers through increased ease of use and upgraded functionality. Some of the enhancements to the digital experience include greater speed and optimized loading times across a range of mobile devices, desktops and browsers; improved navigation and a strengthened search engine performance; a new and simplified account creation and login process, and appointment booking capability integrated across devices that enable existing and prospective clients to easily connect with Harry Rosen clothing advisors
Modernizing the Brand
Deliberate in its focus and objective, the advancement of the work being done by the company on the digital side is not only helping to improve the experience for its customers, it’s also quickly serving to modernize the brand, positioning it as one of the leaders in integrated digital engagement in the men’s fashion space. It’s an impressive endeavour, both in terms of scope and the potential outcomes of the transformation. And though these things are not lost on Rosen, he’s quick to suggest that the timing of the launch, and the work required by those within the company to support it, was even more impressive.
“We were obviously hit with a real challenge, as everyone was, when the impacts of COVID-19 started to emerge on the retail landscape,” he explains. “In March and April our website was being bombarded with ‘Black Friday’-like traffic. We were right in the middle of architecting our digital solution when we were presented with a decision to make: continue investing in our current website and digital infrastructure to keep it running through this period, or fast-track our transformation to meet the sudden increased demand and capitalize on a real growth opportunity for the brand. In the end, the decision was an easy one for us to make. Everyone in the company was on board with plans to advance our timelines and the work we were doing in order to launch sooner than expected. Everyone at the company just pulled together to make it happen, resulting in an incredible combined effort and amazing transformation.”
The ‘combined effort’ as Rosen puts it, allowed the company to quickly pivot during a time of challenge and accelerate the launch of its new brand platform and refreshed digital experience months ahead of schedule. In doing so, their work provides yet another example of the innovation and resilience that exists within the industry, and should ensure that the brand comes out of this difficult pandemic-period even stronger than before. And, although the brunt of COVID-19 on the industry may have prompted the escalation of its digital shift, the enhancements that are included are also meant to connect the overall Harry Rosen experience with the evolving preferences and behaviours of today’s tech-savvy consumer.
“It’s really all about delivering on the experience that today’s consumer expects,” he says. “And we want to deliver that same consistent, first-class experience within every interaction across all touchpoints in the customer’s journey with us, removing friction from the experience and creating seamless transitions between channels. An extremely personalized level of service has always set Harry Rosen apart. With our new digital capabilities and the foundation that we’ve set, we have the opportunity to reinforce our client relationships with even greater personalization and the offer of a much more dynamic experience with the brand.”
More to Come
As Rosen proudly and confidently asserts, however, the launch of ‘Set The Tone’ and the refreshed Harry Rosen digital experience is just the beginning for the company that has plans to continue investing in these types of technological and digital developments. They are plans that are hyper-focused on the customer with the ultimate objective to create the most intuitive and personalized client experiences possible. And, according to Ian Rosen, it’s a focus and an objective that will only intensify going forward.
“The customer has always been in the driver’s seat. But, as technology advances and we continue to introduce these digital tools to enhance experiences with our brand, the customer will be in more control than ever before. That’s our ‘North Star’. We call it ‘the customer’s in the cockpit’. They will decide when they shop with us and how they shop with us. And we need to support their journey, whenever and wherever they choose to engage with us, with the same excellent level of service and attention. We’re always listening to our clients to understand their needs and desires. Our job is to offer the best product and experience possible in order to satisfy them.”