Wildling Shoes: Global Expansion, Authenticity, and Balanced Communication

7 mins read

We have made the decision to initiate a collection of concise interviews featuring experienced PR practitioners and industry experts, aiming to explore the practical aspects of the field of public relations in greater detail.

Today’s guest is Anna Yona, Founder at Wildling Shoes

Wildling Shoes is an innovative footwear brand that combines minimalist design with natural materials, creating comfortable and sustainable shoes for the whole family. With a focus on unrestricted movement and foot health, Wildling Shoes offers a wide range of stylish and functional footwear that allows you to explore the world with freedom and connection to nature. Experience the joy of walking barefoot with Wildling Shoes, where comfort, craftsmanship, and eco-consciousness meet.

Photo: Cherie Birkner

1. How has Wildling Shoes expanded its brand presence across different locations worldwide, and what elements of its global presence do you find noteworthy and inspiring?

Wildling’s brand presence has been mainly driven by word of mouth, first and foremost between families and friends recommending the shoes to each other. What we really love is that our shoes appeal to a wide range of people and are often used by several generations within one family. They are being recommended to each other as a healthy shoe for kids and an everyday companion for adults, no matter age or occasion. That will let you enjoy the regenerative effects of treading more lightly and mindfully. We are quite excited about the fact that the shoes are not pushing an identity onto the wearer (like other fashion items), but will adapt to the wearer’s own identity. This perceived versatility is not limited to our core market in Germany where we have a wider presence, but is repeated in any new market we enter.   

2. Can you share an example of a successful marketing or PR campaign by Wildling Shoes that helped to strengthen the brand’s position in a specific region? What strategies were employed to resonate with the local audience, generate awareness, and enhance brand recognition?

We usually do not run local marketing campaigns to strengthen our brand’s position in a specific region, but create content that will resonate with an international audience. One of our most successful marketing campaigns actually was the crowdfunding campaign that helped us launch the brand and product. We used the kickstarter platform for that, created a video that really expressed the why behind the product, our brand’s values, identity and vision and worked with influencers and content creators to spread the word. We also sent press releases to local media contacts and had quite a good response on that. Most helpful, however, was word of mouth here, too. That means people spreading the word for us in their online networks and interest groups as well as amongst families and friends. 

3. What approach do Wildling Shoes take to keep a balance between paid publicity and free publicity in order to achieve your communication goals effectively?

During the first years of our existence we did not do paid publicity at all, except gifting our shoes to content creators for product reviews. We grew very quickly and steadily, solely through word of mouth between members of our community and recommendations by content creators. There also was a great focus on our side on content creation – text and visuals – that would help us create strong ties with our community. Over time we had to change this strategy due to an ever changing social media environment. Especially the restrictions placed by the algorithm on organic content has forced us to place a small but growing budget on social media visibility and ads. Other paid marketing activity includes working with content creators and affiliates that can be individuals or online media. We usually do not work with paid publicity in print since we believe that for us as an online brand print is “too far from our doorstep”. Getting featured by print media, however, is a fantastic way to build trust and an opportunity that we will always take if the chance is given.

Photo: Dirk Bruniecki

4. As a PR specialist at Wildling Shoes, what are your preferred PR and marketing tools that you utilize to support your work? 

We use regular email and LinkedIn to communicate and strengthen our ties with journalists and media, but we also use the support of PR professionals in core markets to build up this network more effectively. PR events that we organize around a current topic are our favourite way to get in touch with journalists on a very personal level. The are the best opportunity from our point of view to establish lasting relationships. We use specialized software (like Tapfiliate) to manage our collaboration with content creators, brand ambassadors and affiliates. But since we place a great emphasis on the quality of longterm relationships many things cannot be automated and that is a good thing, too. 

5. Are there any specific tools or functionalities that you believe would be valuable for the brand’s future communication efforts?

We are looking into KI to check whether this can help us with some of our content creation efforts. I strongly believe in good texts and high quality visuals and I think there is a lot of high quality content that cannot be easily produced by a machine. But I do think that there are also many texts and images that „only“ need to be fine and not stellar. Often quantity stands in the way of quality, so if we can let less important content be generated by KI that allows us to spend more time on what is really essential and deliver this in the highest quality possible.

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