KMD brand image girl hiking
Brand + Content & creative for KMD Brands

Campaign for KMD Brands

Exploring the wonders of KMD Brands

The task

Looking for a vision, purpose and brand to reflect its global aspirations, Kathmandu Holdings (now KMD Brands) engaged Icon Agency to develop an entirely new brand direction for the holding group.

Icon was tasked with developing a new narrative, positioning, brand architecture and suite of collateral to make the group stand out in a competitive investor market and demonstrate the broader portfolio of brands, without dependence on the Kathmandu name alone.

KMD Brands logo
Collage of KMD work

The history

Forged in Aotearoa in 1987, the Kathmandu brand is synonymous with getting outdoors, having fun and enjoying nature. In the years since, Kathmandu has transformed into a leading Australasian retailer and global multi-channel business.

The parent company, Kathmandu Holdings Ltd, was formed in 2009 as a publicly listed company on the Australian and New Zealand Stock Exchange (ASX/NZX: KMD). A certified B Corp, Kathmandu is part of a rapidly growing community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good, towards an inclusive, regenerative economy to benefit all people, communities and the planet.

Today, the group comprises three iconic brands: Kathmandu, Rip Curl and Oboz. Following the purchase of Oboz in 2018 and Rip Curl in 2019, the holding group commenced a program of brand and business transformation to support its growth aspirations and better reflect its increasingly diversified family of brands. Key to this transformation is the creation of a brand identity for the renamed parent company, KMD Brands Limited.

KMD brand image man and woman hiking

The challenge

There were three very unique brands, each with their own strong brand identities and values. Effectively bringing these together under one umbrella brand (KMD Brands) required careful consideration. We needed to ensure that all were represented, and that the KMD Brands universe enabled each of the individual brand’s personalities to continue to exist.

The present

With any brand project that Icon undertakes, we had to ensure that this was done through consultation with key stakeholders within the KMD Brands organisation. After in-depth immersion and brand strategy development, Icon undertook independent and anonymous research with the Board of Executives and other key stakeholders, to test creative concepts and draft narrative.

These learnings saw the brand take shape, with a purpose underpinned by human connection to the outdoors and our innate love of exploration, supported by KMD’s ability to create products designed for purpose, driven by innovation, best for people and planet. This gave a clear point of difference and positioning that is an honest representation of where the holding company stands today and aspires to be in the future. An attractive proposition for future investment.

Campaign collateral included:

  • Brand guidelines

  • Logo

  • On-screen presentation template

  • Digital meeting backgrounds

  • Code of conduct document

  • Office signage

  • Pull-up banners

Collage of KMD brand photography

The future...

The result of Icon’s strategic brand development process was a compelling brand narrative, purpose and vision that aligned with KMD Brands global aspirations. This then enabled a highly-contemporary design ecosystem to be developed, using a bright and modern colour palette and suite of bespoke, hand drawn patterns to depict the land, sea and the sky, and based on real-life nautical charts and topographical maps. This has since proudly gone to market through a suite of brand stationery, marketing collateral and refreshed website, giving a solid outlook for the future growth of KMD Brands.

Code of ethics booklet


  • Brand strategy

  • Research

  • Brand narrative & positioning development

  • Branding & design architecture

  • Collateral production & brand stationery

  • Website content & information architecture

KMD brand image man and woman walking across a bridge