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Threadless Integrated Communications Plan

Table of Contents 2 2 3 5 5 5 17 18 18


Introduction Situation Analysis Research Segmentation Objectives Strategy and Tactics Timeline Budget Evaluation

Introduction Threadless is an online retail store where items such as T-shirts, phone covers, bags, and accessories. Threadless was developed and started over 11 years ago. “Officially began in 2000 as an online user-generated design, crowd-sourced voting produced, limited edition T-shirt company.” This company has a character and culture that are best described as a fun and inventive way to express yourself. The company has a mission of, “never stop making.” This simply means that you should never stop doing what you love and never stop making yourself into a better overall person. Based on the overall need for new and inventive ways to improve their company as well as expand on it through customers and designers there is a need for an integrated communications plan. The value of this will only be seen through the use of advertisements, online advertising, and social media.

Situation Analysis Threadless currently provides its customers graphic tee shirts, tote bags, iPhone cases and much more on their website and in their retail store located in Chicago, Illinois. Artists who wish to submit their art to be put on merchandise can easily do so. If an artist’s work is chosen they receive $2,000 in cash, $500 Threadless gift certificate, $500 each time their design is reprinted, and an Alumni Club membership. The Alumni Club membership gets the artist a medal of honor, a tee shirt, a coffee mug, a mouse pad, as well as access to closed off parts of the forum and Threadless brand field notes. The publics that will be targeted are Customers, Employees, and the community. The first public, customers, will be done by reaching out to college-aged people in the Northeast. These type of people are interested in whatever is in right now. They really follow social media and are willing to donate time for a good cause. This group of people for the majority is aware of their fashion and has established a well diverse sense of self. They are also limited on financial resources. The second public are employees. The employees of Threadless are not only the people are making the shirts and selling them but also the designers. The designers get a portion of the sale therefore they are considered employees. The focus for this public will be promotion the benefits of being an artist for the company and how great it is to work inside Threadless. This public are more artistic and living a more carefree type of lifestyle. The final public is the community. This would be both online and in Chicago. The focus for this campaign is online because the company is basically online except for their store in Chicago. The focus for this public will be to get the word out to a community who are artistic and college-aged. Threadless does not do much for its physical community in Chicago. It does however have a program called Threadless Causes. This is when Threadless partners up with non-profits, worldchanging organizations, and social movements for design competitions. The designs are to be inspired by the cause of the organization. Portions of the profits from the sales of the winning design get donated to the movement. Threadless is number eight on Chicago Generation Y Employers Top 50 list. The company thrives on its laid back atmosphere and will only hire people who they think will fit in well in this atmosphere. The Threadless offices are pet friendly. They have an XBOX, Wii, and music all provided to the workers. There are opportunities to work with people all over the world. Threadless employees receive full benefits including 401K, vacation time, and reduced rate gym memberships. Threadless also offers internships. (


Strengths • Offers exclusive graphic tees, bags, and other items • Can actually see and read about the artist who designed the product • Ship worldwide so the company can reach all countries Weaknesses • Some of the items on the website are pricey, which may discourage some of the young target market • Threadless doesn’t do a lot of work within their community at this moment • They are mainly an online based company, with only 1 physical retail store, consumers can’t get any product immediately they have to wait for shipping, etc. Opportunities • Can turn Threadless into a company that gives back • Introduce company to the East Coast Threats • Other sites that offer money to designers for t-shirt designs • Stores that carry graphic tees and custom products Competition • is very similar to Threadless. Shirt.woot offers a brand new shirt every day that is only available for 24 hours. Designs are also voted on by fans of the website. • Hot Topic sells graphic t-shirts and they have online shopping and an abundance of retail stores across the country. However it is not exclusive like Threadless. • Department stores are beginning to carry graphic tees that are both designer and generic. This reaches a demographic that Threadless has yet to reach. Stores such as Macys, JC Penney, Sears, Bon-Ton, Boscovs, etc. Publics • Customers: Reaching out to college aged people in the Northeast • Employees: Focusing mainly on promoting the benefits of being an artist for the company and how great it is to work inside Threadless. • Online community

Research Primary


A 10-question survey was conducted using The results are as follows: • 24/33 participants were female (72.7%) • 33/34 shop online (97.1%) • 27/33 shop online 0-2 hours per week (81.8%) • 22/33 said they would be more inclined to purchase an item if it was designed by someone like them (66.7%) • 22/34 had never heard of Threadless (64.7%) • 31/34 had never purchased anything from Threadless (90%) • 29/34 said the best way to be reached was Facebook (85.3%)

• 20/34 said the best way to be reached was E-mail (58.8%) • 27/34 are more interested in shopping online for clothing (79.4%) • 18/34 are more interested in shopping online for accessories (52.9%)

A Focus group was conducted of 8 people, who were not participants in the survey, the group consisted of 3 Males and 5 Females.

• 0/8 heard of Threadless • 7/8 were interested in purchasing products created or designed by someone like them (the other one said he did not have much style) • 7/8 like the website as is (one girl suggested it was too much, simplify it) • 8/8 participants would like to find out information through: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, as well as events and promotions. (there were some suggestions for mail, email, texts, apps and other places such as Pandora, but the other participants said that would just annoy them) • 8/8 like the Threadless products • 8/8 found something they wanted to buy (one male suggested making some things more sports like) • 8/8 found the benefits to be: unique, affordable, like they were a part of something, inspiring, modern, and stylish • Some of the negatives they came up with were: not enough awareness, not for everyone’s taste or style, competition may offer better, have to wait to purchase and cannot try on, and your size isn’t always available.

Secondary The Chicago-based company only has 1 retail store, which is in Chicago; all other sales go through online. They also have a Threadless staff blog where the staff posts information about specific stories or charity t-shirts, just about anything. They post about design challenges and photos that fans send in to share with the staff. They also host a forum on their website, which ranges from everything category to products to “tee-tv”. Their Facebook fan page has over 375,000 likes, while their twitter has over 1.5 million followers. They use their social media pages to post photos, product discounts/sales promotions, new styles in products, and any other kind of information such as events, and company news. Based on a website, ( the Threadless demographic: • 44%Male (89) 56% Female (110), 45% No Kids (89) 55% Has Kids (110), Under 18- 223, 18-34-158, 35-49-63, 48% (106) No college 39$ (94) College, Asian- 364 people to 125 Hispanic, site attracts middle income audience, $30-60k- 112, $60-100k-105. • Those who visit are also likely to buy these magazines; Entertainment Weekly, Martha Stewart, Bon Appétit and National Geographic • The websites traffic frequency is mostly passers-by in both the global and US markets. • The estimated monthly traffic includes visits per month, 578,529 and people per month, 521,052. The Threadless company is always looking for new and inventive ways to reach their customers. Founder, Jake Nickell recently posted on his Facebook profile an article about testing a Threadless vending machine. The company is testing a small amount of vending machines around Chicago for those who few who don’t shop online. They teamed up with Coinstar to create the


automated Threadless kiosks. The machines sell t-shirts, hoodies, totes, water bottles and infant onesies. They have placed them in four testing locations including shopping malls and grocery stores. The company explained that they do not have any plans to produce more of these kiosks across the country, but felt it was a good way to expose the online company to those who do their shopping the traditional way. (

Segmentation Our highest priority in this campaign is going to be consumers in the northeast. The customers we already have are very loyal and use word-of-mouth to get the Threadless name out there. They are what our website is all about. We’re not only an online retailer; we’re an online community. Our second highest priority will be finding new employees. Our focus is going to be promoting the benefits of being a Threadless artist. We’re combining employees and artists into one effort because we’re targeting college students. These students are going to need a job coming out of college and if they already had a great experience being a Threadless artist we believe they would enjoy working for the company full-time. Information on being a full-time employee will be available during the campus tours. The last, but still extremely important public we are going to reach, is the community. Visiting all the schools in the campaign will create a brand new community and strengthen the brand’s bond with those who are already a member of their community. We’re strengthening Threadless’ bond with the Chicago community by doing more locally.


1. To raise awareness by 20% based on the amount of hits to the Threadless website during the time of the campaign, which is a one year period. 2. Boost sales on the Threadless site by 25% in one year. 3. Increase Threadless Chicago community involvement and employee morale through the various events and programs during the campaign.

Strategy and Tactics


• Internet/ Social Media o Use twitter and facebook to promote when and where the Threadless college campus caravan will be • QR codes o Use on the t-shirts that the workers will wear on campus o Use with print advertising for the campus tour •TV advertising o Spoof of the Mormon TV commercial • Event- Possible partnership • Calendar of events o August-December (Northern, East and Midwestern schools), Jan-May (West and Southern schools)

• Product placement o School Mascots wearing a Threadless tee • Fold a few Threadless t-shirts into animals, send to college bloggers and customers who spend over $200 in an order in eco-friendly crates • Chose a few of the top designs and turn them into inexpensive key chains in order to hand out on campuses. • Commercial: Mormon commercial spoof (see attached) • Ball pit scavenger hunt, folded t-shirts and bags and other products thrown into a ball pit for students to rummage through and find, if you find one you can go to the tent or booth on campus and have a free shopping spree, anything that fits in the bag is free. Events 1) On-Campus Tee Competion These competitions will occur on the campuses of each college we visit. We will ask students that come to the first day of the event to submit a design for a t-shirt. On the second day of the visit students can vote on their favorite design. The design that wins will be printed and given out exclusively at this school and will not be available to anyone else. The artist of the shirt will receive the same compensation as artists on the website. 2) Fashion Show in Bryant Park On May 17, 2012 in Bryant Park Threadless will be throwing a fashion show. This show will include designs from Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Rachel Zoe, Gwen Stefani, Ashish, Alexander McQueen, Betsey Johnson, Anna Sui, Louis Vuitton, and Armani. Each of these designers will create a tee in their style. The tees will be premiered at our fashion show. The audience will vote on their favorite tee. The winning designer tee will be available for a limited time on the Threadless website. Profits from these shirts will go to the charity of the designer’s choice. The big name designers will not be the only ones showing off their tees in the show. Leading up to the show the Threadless community will vote on their favorite designs they have ever seen on the website. The top ten designs will also appear on models in the runway show. The designers of the shirts and two close friends will be invited (expenses paid) to the fashion show. If the designers are still attending college journalists from their school will be invited to cover the event. All the designs by Threadless artists will be available on the website, even if they were retired designs. Some of the profits from these shirts will go to the charity of the artist’s choice. These tees will be featured on the front page of the website. Students who come to view the show will be offered discount ticket prices. Print & Virtual Ads

1. Fashion Show in Bryant Park fliers 2. On-Campus Tee fliers 3. Newsletter 4. Magazine and Newsapaper ads 5. Online banners 6. On-Campus Tee Competition hand outs 7. Coffe Sleeves


Threadless Nude No More

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Headline 2 Goes Here


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Headline 3 Goes Here


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Threadless nude no more

Threadless nude no more

Threadless nude no more


Threadless nude no more

on your campus nov. 8

ever want to design a graphic tee? during our visit you get to design. your fellow students decide on their favorite sketch. we print it.

threadless is coming. get ready.








Budget Pay for employees going across country Pay for room and board for employees Transportation Giveaways & Promotions Campus events Advertising T-shirt Printing Management and logistical costs

Evaluation Throughout the campaign there will be a monitoring system in order to provide accurate evaluation and success of the campaign. The first monitoring system will be done monthly. This will be done to evaluate and measure the amount of new designers and the popularity of them. The second type of evaluation will be done quarterly. This will be done to measure the amount of sales that have been completed and the increase in profit. To measure the success of the campaign a couple things need to be done. First, a survey will be given out again to make sure the objectives have been met and find out if the overall awareness and profit has increased. The second will be measuring the amount of impressions. These impressions will be based on social media hits, hits to the website, profit, online media and finally traditional media.


Threadless Communication Plan  

This was a group project from my integrated marketing communications course. I worked on the SWOT analysis, events, wrote the commercial abo...

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