“We did things nobody dared to do.”
This is what Ben Chan, chair of Suyen Corporation, Bench’s mother company, believes what catapulted Bench into becoming the country’s most successful lifestyle brand.
A true global brand, Bench has captured the hearts not just of Filipino consumers but also the international market. Capitalizing on incorporating Filipino flavor to their designs as well as making their products globally adaptable, Bench has indeed penetrated the foreign market competing with the world’s biggest brands.
“The Bench brand stands for an entire vision and the Filipino lifestyle, specifically. This is a marketing feat, since it is one thing to sell to a domestic market, while it is a completely different ball game overseas, alongside the world’s biggest and best brands. The winning strategy is to think, act, and look global, wherever you are,” Chan told INQUIRER.
A Family of Endorsers
For the company to establish a global brand, Chan tapped the help of local and international endorsers from a multitude of backgrounds, nationalities, ages, body types as well as styles. The diversity the brand depicted through endorsers like Filipino celebrity Richard Gomez, American rockstar Adam Levine, Korean pop superstar Lee Min-Ho as well as Hollywood actress Lucy Hale strengthened the image of Bench.
Indeed, this strategy convinced consumers that there was a perfect Bench product for all of them.
Incorporating Social Relevance
Aside from showcasing what’s hip and trendy, the brand also put effort in coming up with merchandise that has social relevance.
In 2010, Bench became a game changer by becoming the first local brand to use bamboo fiber in its Envi line. A very sustainable resource, bamboo is easier to grow and harvest compared to cotton and utilizes less energy and water. Moreover, Chan said that the fabric from bamboo is more comfortable and durable.
The brand also introduced Green Wednesdays in which customers are urged to use their own shopping bags. It also produced a safari collection in support of the preservation of endangered species in Calauit sanctuary.
Empowered by Social Media
Like most brands, Bench was quick to cater to the needs of savvy millennial consumers.
To empower consumers, Ben Chan communicated directly with them through the popular social media platform Twitter.
“Customers tweet me and I can respond immediately. For example, we used to ban picture-taking inside the store. Now, with Twitter, we encourage it. A customer can take a picture of anything they find interesting in our merchandise and then a few minutes later it is ‘trending.’ Or, they can Tweet me directly if they have comments or suggestions,” he explained.
A recipient of various awards in marketing, retailing, advertising both locally and internationally, Bench continues to win the game by changing it for the better.