As a brand building agency, we are often sought out to help people launch their brands. Before we even get started with that, we seek to understand:

  • Who is the consumer?
  • Where do they shop and hang out?
  • Where will they be introduced to your brand?
  • What do they buy?
  • How will they discover your brand?

I know, that’s not the 4c’s and 3p’s, but a brand isn’t so much a business or a product, but a story. And when you think about launching a brand, you have to keep in mind the story you are trying to tell and how you are going to tell it. Maybe it’s easiest to think about it from a consumer perspective.

When I was growing up, there were five ways I discovered brands – on the radio, on television, in an array of print mediums that sometimes included billboards, in stores, and via my friends and family. The brands I liked the most were usually the ones I found in glossy magazines or in slick television ads and were used by the kids I wanted most to be. Sometimes they were in a special section in the department store, Broadway, if you remember it. Since then, conventions such as SDCC and Anime Expo have also provided an outstanding location for learning about artists and their brands, such as Tasty Peach. Not only do you see their art and products, but you get to meet their creators.

Now, with COVID-19, I barely make it to stores or see people in person. And, I don’t purchase magazines all that frequently outside of industry publications. So, now I find new brands on Instagram and Facebook and online retailers. They are doing a pretty good job of luring me in when the story is right, starting with their first contact all the way through my receipt of their product/products.

One example of this is MUD/WTR. There were many things that drew me in and turned me into a loyal customer:

  • The photography and brand messaging on their Instagram, which includes a combination of nature, positive statements about the ingredients, and statements that are aligned with my own beliefs about what is important.
  • The elegant packaging – I’m okay having it sitting on my kitchen counter
  • The onboarding – the initial box included a mixer, stickers, some of their coconut creamer and was followed by a welcome text and email
  • The automatic shipment feature for reorders
  • The email content – song playlists articles about wellbeing and finding one’s center and balance in this world.

To be fair, I have always been attracted to brands and enjoy entering into their stories when they reflect my desires and values. To me, they are a large part of what makes up our culture, impacting not only what we buy, but helping us relate to others and build communities through our enjoyment of them. They can be examples of consumerism at it’s very best. Plenty of brands make mistakes or aren’t my thing. But, if the marketing and licensing teams do their jobs right by getting to know their heroes and communities and build stories that resonate with them, they are able to draw people in and keep them coming back for more.

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