Carhartt builds its brand with makers and doers

Stephen Whiteside

Carhartt, a 126-year-old apparel brand famous for its durable workwear, faced a classic marketing dilemma: how to attract a new audience without alienating its existing customer base.

Tony Ambroza joined the firm in October 2010, when the "core of our core" – blue-collar Americans with physically demanding jobs, and often living in relatively rural parts of Alaska, Montana, Maine and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan – were suffering as a result of the financial crisis.

"At Carhartt, we celebrate – and care about – them every single day, because we really value what they do and mean," Ambroza, the organisation's SVP/marketing, told delegates at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Masters of Marketing Conference in Orlando, Florida.