An eye for branding | Three best practices from glasses gurus Warby Parker - VantagePoint

An eye for branding | Three best practices from glasses gurus Warby Parker

We are nearing the end of a full re-brand for one of VantagePoint’s clients, and what better way to make sure we’re doing it right than with a little review of three best practices for branding, exemplified by the optical gurus Warby Parker.

It’s in the details 

Warby Parker’s story was simple. Naturally, the co-founders began their company when one of them lost his glasses. They quickly realized just how expensive glasses were. They also realized that there was one company in particular that dominated the optical market, silently cheering on the bully every time he broke your glasses and gave you a swirly.

Warby Parker knew that trying to stand up to the big guy would be a tough feat. One thing they knew they could rely on was branding, really good branding. This takes us to our first lesson in branding: Details matter.

Warby Parker went so in-depth with their branding that they chose their color specifically after the blue-footed booby because this exotic bird has “a little bit of flair, a little bit of quirk.” Step aside, Big Bird.

Co-founder and co-CEO Neil Blumenthal explains his viewpoint on branding saying that “Details matter. They create depth, and depth creates authenticity.”

When considering your own branding, don’t overlook the trees when getting a good view of the forest. Sweat the details of color, typeface, logo and style to ensure your branding reflects your company’s character and message.

When things go wrong

There is beauty in vulnerability.  I recently watched a brief TED Talk on the power of branding when things go wrong. Renny Gleeson spoke about the dreaded “404: Page Not Found” that plagues online users whenever they land on an incorrect web address. The consumer hates it, you hate it… but part of the power of branding can simply be how you handle those customer inconveniences. Renny said it perfectly: “Little things, done right, matter. Well-designed moments build brands… A simple mistake can tell me what you’re not. Or it can remind me of why I should love you.” Take for example Huffington Post’s 404 page. Can’t say I’m upset about landing here.

Warby Parker’s 404 page has never been their issue. Their vulnerability surfaced when they began allowing members the opportunity to order five pairs of eyeglasses, for five days, for free. Their inventory was out the door, which meant opening their apartment door and inviting customers to try on the few pairs that remained in stock. This awkward moment — and a time in which a brand may throw in the towel — led to building some of the first and strongest brand advocates for the company.

The takeaway: rather than denying a weakness or vulnerability, seek out creative ways to circumvent or support them that will in turn reflect and reinforce the positive elements of your brand.

Customer service, a top marketing tactic

There is nothing like the Net Promoter Score to give a business insight into how well it’s doing with customers. Let’s just hope the survey didn’t come out before you came to the conclusion that customer service is and will always be one of the best marketing tools. Customer service gives your brand the opportunity to foster a relationship, even in its most vulnerable state. It allows you to promote your brand’s unique personality and if done well, can make an evangelist out of even the most skeptical.

And yup, you guessed it — Warby Parker’s Net Promoter Score is up there with the best of them, scoring an 84 (on a potential scale of -100 to 100).

(Shameless VantagePoint Plug: Our team sent the survey out to our clients and received an 86!  We’re pretty proud of that and the brands we support.)

As you’re building your brand, don’t get so wrapped up in the development of brand identity or corporate structure or the spreadsheets to keep the place running that you fail to focus on the customer experience. Happy, satisfied customers are some of the best marketing you can’t buy.

Do you have an example of a brand that blew you away with their customer service or their brand story? We’d love to hear it in the comments below. And if you’re considering a rebrand of your own, be sure to ask yourself these three questions first so you don’t get started on the wrong foot.