Are we "abroad" yet?

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Havaianas: Global expansion in 3 steps

Havaianas are a hot brand around the world and one of Brazil’s most iconic and profitable exports. They are also a source of inspiration for companies in emerging markets gearing up to expand globally.

How did they do it?

Here’s the history of Havaianas’ success, in 3 chapters:

1. Launch: A quality product lacking style

Original Havaianas

Original Havaianas

Havaianas wasn’t always a coveted, trendy brand. It started as an economy-minded product for the masses. Launched in 1962, it packed a great mix of value, comfort and durability.  It was cheap and lasted forever, and quickly became popular with working Brazilians. In the following decades, Havaianas continued to cash in on its popularity. However, it quickly became associated with poverty, and a low-priced product. The image-conscious middle and upper classes wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them.

2. Rebranding: Making it premium

havaianasIn 1994, the brand was revamped to appeal to a wider range of consumers. The product was enhanced with a wide range of colors and details. Advertising campaigns showcased Havaianas as a cool product worn by celebrities. Havaianas invested heavily in upgrading its portfolio with more style and encouraged consumers to own several pairs to coordinate them with different outfits. Sales picked up again as the company prepared for its next chapter…

3. Expansion: Taking it global

Jennifer Aniston and her Havaianas

Jennifer Aniston and her Havaianas

Havaianas successfully expanded to other markets through a mix of innovative branding, relevant product adaptations and co-branded partnerships.  Celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston have been photographed wearing Havaianas, which are given to opinion makers at major events like the Oscars. Partnerships with designers such as Missoni, and sales at Sacks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s create buzz and street cred among fashionistas. Ads associated Havaianas with Brazil’s reputation as a fun, colorful and friendly land.

Havaianas managed to reinvent itself from the cheapest shoe option in the Brazilian market to a global fashion player to be reckoned with.  There’s no reason why a good-quality product created in India, China or other emerging economy can’t reach similar success.  Over 200 million pairs of Havaianas are sold worldwide each year, turning over $1.4 billion in sales.  Going global is a hard path, but it pays off.

Colorful ads

Colorful ads

Co-branded partnerships
Co-branded partnerships

Missoni's Havaianas

Missoni’s Havaianas


One comment on “Havaianas: Global expansion in 3 steps

  1. Pingback: Italian brands going global | Are we "abroad" yet?

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This entry was posted on October 3, 2013 by in Strategy and tagged , , , , .


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