Category Archives: Branding

Warby Parker: finding a niche and making it happen

A few days ago, I happened to be scanning channels in the car and came across an interview with Jeffrey Raider, founder of Warby Parker on Business Radio powered by The Wharton School. This interview really got me thinking about the importance of identifying an unmet need in the marketplace and really focusing on that niche market. Raider and his business partners have done just that with their business Warby Parker, the wildly successful online prescription eyeglass company that’s changing the way people buy and shop for prescription eyewear.

The idea for the business was born in 2010, while Raider was studying at The Wharton School. During the interview, he recalled his experience of not being able to find any glasses that fit his personal style or his budget. That frustration led to an idea that led to the formation of the company (along with three other classmates) that would provide quality, stylish eyeglasses at a fraction of the price of designer prescription glasses. They figured out a way to keep prices low by designing their own frames and selling online, cutting out the middle man altogether and refused to charge outrageous prices. This link explains exactly how they do it: http://www.warbyparker.com/how-we-do-it. They identified the unmet need in the marketplace and delivered in a big way. They’ve carved out that niche — and the target audience is quite specific: men and women ages 18 to 34 who like to buy designer eyewear, but not willing (or able) to shell out $500 for a pair. Warby Parker designer glasses typically cost about $100/pair, including the prescription lenses.

They win over customers by making the online ordering process simple and easy — with a focus on the customer and making sure the brand experience is all positive. For example, they’ll send five pair of glasses for you to try for five days, offer free return shipping on the ones you don’t want. On the website, you can try glasses on virtually to see what they look like on you. Oh yeah, and if that’s not enough, there’s a Buy A Pair, Give A Pair program. Warby Parker funds the production of a pair of eyeglasses to give away each time a pair is sold. To date, they’ve provided 500,000 pairs of glasses to people in need in developing countries. Certainly, a powerful social mission and a great way to make a difference.

The founders’ affinity for simple design as well as an appreciation of well-made objects is evident. Spend some time on the site, and you definitely get the sense that they are passionate about the products they create and truly care about making the world a better place. They’ve found their niche and have filled the need, and with the added component of social good — that’s what I call a relevant and purposeful brand.

http://www.warbyparker.com/

 

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Note: Raider and another partner from Warby Parker started another company in 2013 called Harry’s— “Great Shave. Fair Price”. This time the products are shaving razors and blades. You guessed it — design conscious, quality, german-engineered blades and stylish razors at a very reasonable price. Check them out at www.harrys.com.

On Tattoos

Nadia Bolz-Weber is a fantastic contradiction. She is a tattooed, Lutheran pastor of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver. Her journey is a fascinating one, from addict and comedian to a renowned personification of a new type of church.

In a recent interview with Krista Tippett, she remarked on how tattoos, in her day a standout symbol of rebellion, are now worn by soccer moms. “I think we are used to personalizing everything. This is a generation that grew up with choose your own adventure stories. They got to choose how a book ended, they got to personalize their homepage, they personalize their Facebook page, they personalize everything. So I think it’s the personalization of the body.”

This type of personalization and individual expression began in the 1980s, with Swatch as an early example. Since then, personalized products and individual attention have grown to be today’s price of entry for affinity and loyalty. Yet still, companies and brands, particularly nonprofits, have a seemingly genetic tendency to focus inward. As we approach fourth quarter and year-end giving strategies, let’s commit to focusing externally and meeting the needs of our audience.

Deconstructing Your Brand

We were in a meeting with a potential new client recently when a rather interesting question came my way.

How do you go about creating a great brand? What makes your process different?

It took less than a millisecond for me to answer.

We fight for the truth, I said.

(Quizzical looks all around.)

And you’d be surprised how difficult it is to get there, I said.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We all have a tendency to cling to that which is familiar. Change is difficult—and scary. But if you hear yourself (or others in your company) saying any of the following, it’s a pretty good signal that something is hiding under there that needs to be addressed:

  1. “I know my business.”
  2. “It’s what our customers expect.”
  3. “It’s how we do it.”

Be brave. Deconstruct, and then shine a light in the dark corners to see what is there. By coming face to face with your realities, you can begin the exciting process of (re)freshing and (re)building a brand that is not only honest, but worthy of connection.

Monsterlicious.

I’d never heard of Stefan Mumaw before last week, but in the span of about an hour he crystallized what marketing has become and what it has the potential to be.

An ad agency creative director, Stefan is the author of a book called, Chasing the Monster Idea. His presentation focused on the seven characteristics of monster ideas. So just exactly what is a monster idea? Here’s his definition:

“The truly monster idea is more than just good; it transcends the boundaries of the problem to solve it so simply and so powerfully that it almost sells itself. It’s the campaign idea that grows on its own, powered by those evangelists who first discover its true value, and it forces everyone else to catch up with it—if they can.”

I’m not going to share his seven characteristics — he shares them in his book. You can download the first chapter free here or get the whole schmere here. Instead, I’ll share my biggest takeaway from his presentation.

In the past, marketers have tended to throw everything inside the kitchen sink and then throw it at a consumer hoping something — anything — might stick. Now we weren’t always quite that ham-fisted. Sometimes we presented them with one unique selling proposition in the form of a creative execution or campaign. Regardless, we told them what we wanted them to know. The goal was to sell them on something.

While we were busy deciding what we wanted them to know, consumers were being rewired. The Product no longer holds weight with them. What does is the other stuff: how that product makes someone feel or the problems it solves. They are not being sold to; they are buyers. Most important of all is the acknowledgement that the marketing universe has shifted into new territory: consumers recognize and often filter out push-style messages.

Stefan’s answer to reach this new breed of consumers is to pique their curiosity and then reward their effort with a good experience.

Marketing with the goal of making people curious? That itself is a monster idea.

RP Goes Gold, Silver and Camo at 2013 ADDYs

It’s well known that no one loves a good dress-up party more than the Riggs Partners clan. So when the Columbia AAF folks announced a Reality TV theme for the 2013 ADDY® awards gala, we harnessed our love of country and camo and showed up to the soiree on Saturday, February 17 as none other than DUCK DYNASTY.

West Columbia's finest checkin' in at the WECO

After a quick Sears Family Portrait session, we traveled en masse to 701 Whaley to join our comrades in the communicating arts for an evening to celebrate the best creative marketing in the Midlands. As pleased as we already were with our fashion sense, we were more than a little giddy with the lineup of awards that came our way in recognition of our work in 2012.

Riggs Partners received a total of 11 awards during the evening:

Special Judges Award for Excellence in Annual Report – Palmetto GBA Annual Report

Special Judges Award for Excellence in Radio – Express Oil Change Radio Campaign

Gold ADDY – Palmetto GBA Annual Report

Gold ADDY – Express Oil Change Radio Campaign

Gold ADDY – Lukas, Nace Gutierrez & Sachs Website

Gold ADDY – Bug Outfitters* Logo

Silver ADDY – Central Carolina Community Foundation Annual Report

Silver ADDY – Goodwill Industries of Midlands/Upstate SC Annual Report

Silver ADDY – Goodwill Industries of Midlands/Upstate SC Outdoor Campaign

Silver ADDY – Pulliam Morris 50th Anniversary Announcement

Silver ADDY – 52 Windows Event Poster

*official camo outfitter to the RP stars

the ADDYs were biting that day

We were thrilled to be recognized for our work across such a broad array of disciplines, and especially pleased to have Joy Skinner and Bartley Boswell from Palmetto GBA on hand to accept top honors for the Palmetto GBA annual report. Our sincere thanks go to them — and all RP clients — for allowing us to be part of such great work.

Twenty-five years after C.C. Rigg’s received Best In Show at our very first appearance at the ADDYs, the 2013 ADDYs were one for the record books and the photo album.

(Did we mention we were the Best In Show Costume Contest Winners? Well, we do have a standard to uphold.)

 

country boy, city boy

 

Country Loafers and Crazy Pepper Country

 

This here's Davis Country

Country Turners

duck, duck, shoe, addy, beard