If you have been reading the previous posts you know we are talking about your values and your story. And, more importantly, how supporting your values with authentic stories is so powerful in building your brand.
Now we get to the good stuff. Seeing values in action on a web site and how one company shows its values through stories, design and language.
We are using Warby Parker, the eyeglass industry disrupter as an example.
Warby Parker makes it easy for us to do this review as, like so many contemporary brands, it proudly pronounces its values on its web site. So take a look at their stated values on the culture page: https://www.warbyparker.com/culture
Warby Parker lists five brand values:
Treat customers the way we’d like to be treated.
They don’t call it the golden rule for nothing. Shopping for glasses should be fun, easy, and not ridiculously expensive.
Create an environment where employees can think big, have fun, and do good.
Sometimes people say to us: “If you love your job so much, why don’t you marry it?” (Answer: we would if we could.)
Get out there.
No company is an island. Serving the community is in our DNA—from distributing a pair of frames for every pair sold to sponsoring local Little League teams (Go Giants! Go Skyscrapers!). We also work with Verité to ensure that our factories have fair working conditions and happy employees.
Green is good.
Warby Parker is one of the only carbon-neutral eyewear brands in the world.
Our customers, employees, community and environment are our stakeholders. We consider them in every decision that we make.
It is clear from these values statements that Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.
Now review its founding story:
Every idea starts with a problem. Ours was simple: glasses are too expensive. We were students when one of us lost his glasses on a backpacking trip. The cost of replacing them was so high that he spent the first semester of grad school without them, squinting and complaining. (We don’t recommend this.) The rest of us had similar experiences, and we were amazed at how hard it was to find a pair of great frames that didn’t leave our wallets bare. Where were the options?
It turns out there was a simple explanation. The eyewear industry is dominated by a single company that has been able to keep prices artificially high while reaping huge profits from consumers who have no other options.
What is their archetype?
If you have read my book Your Unstoppable Brand you know that I advocate understanding your business archetype helps ground your business brand and you can use this knowledge for consistency in your marketing.
Clearly Warby Parker is a Rebel. But not the Harley Davidson in-full-leathers-covering-a-body-of-tattoos garnished Rebel. In a way, it looks like the Regular Guy. Just your average college student with a pair of broken specs and no money to repair them. He saw a need and decided he had a solution.
But that is where the founder moved from Regular Guy into Rebel territory. He found some partners and decided not to offer just another online resource for lower costs eyewear; they decided to take down an established industry on behalf of you, the average, spectacle wearing Joe, becoming a Rebel with good intentions.
Take a stroll through the web site copy
See how often the words transformational, revolutionary, disruption appear. This is the Rebel archetype shining through.
But also notice how many times you see phrases like snappy ease, serendipity of real-life, surprising treats, vibrant community.
One blog post about Burning Man has a sentence that begins with “Well, crud . . .” When was the last time you heard the word crud? The F-word abounds on the Internet with each person trying to out-swear and out-shock. Nobody, except perhaps your mother, uses crud.
When everyone else is shouting, sometimes the best way to get attention is to whisper. The unexpected gentleness of “crud” stopped me short when first reading this passage. I have learned to ignore the shock words. But the quaintness of crud got my attention. Shock is not one of the Warby Parker values, but fun and doing good are. Crud is the perfect word for it to use.
Focus on the home page
Notice how it is simple easy to navigate. The latest style is introduced and the copy goes on to explain you can try glasses at home (truly a revolutionary idea) or visit one of its brick and mortar stores. The Fall collection ends with its socially conscious mission “for every pair purchased, a pair is distributed to someone in need.”
Check out the page designs
Great imagery of frames. No distracting elements. Just the frames or close ups of people wearing them. No artificial stock images. Easy to find glasses available for the home try-on program, frames by width, material, and shape.
It has a very easy to understand FAQ section that lays out the pricing and also shows you how to read the numbers on the inside of temple arm of your existing glasses.
Using pen and ink sketches adds the perfect light touch of whimsy.
Throughout the site information is offered but it doesn’t go overboard bogging the reader down with too many technical details. Check out the Design page. Engaging photos and close-up views cropped for most impact with no distracting backgrounds.
The simplicity of the design
They do so much right but it is subtle, so you may not even notice how well it is done. That is the paradox of elegant design: when done correctly it recedes. The simple and elegant design does not get in the way of what they are offering. The eyeglass frames and the process have center stage.
This design simplicity is powerful. It is a masterful site. It is seductive. You are drawn in to what is offered, how easy it is to try this new way of buying eyeglasses and in supporting Warby Parker social causes.
Compare the various styles
Maynard a men’s style is described as “Maynard packs a lot of personality in a small frame. Its angular top and one-of-a-kind shape probably have something to do with it.” You see an image of a man wearing the Maynard frame and you can mouse over the image and turn the model’s head from side to side to see.
Most companies have a photo of the product from different angles, but few offer such an elegant solution to how will this look on them. Yes, many clothing retailers offer photos or even videos of models wearing each item. Unfortunately, none of these models look like you or me.
My only issue is that the models are young. Perhaps Warby Parker finds that young people are the right audience for this new service and will address an older audience in the future.
It is really effective. No videos auto-starting when you land on the page, no music blaring, no hey-look-at-me animations. Just simple product descriptions and an image you can control to see the product from all angles.
So what does all this mean for you?
Have you used your archetype to support your branding? Whether you use your archetype in subtle way, like Warby Parker or in prominent ways, like Harley Davidson, you should use it consistently.
Why you need a marketing checklist
Take a look at your web site pages, email message, print materials and any other marketing collateral. Are you demonstrating your archetype? Is it consistent?
I know it is easy to forget. You are under a deadline so you put something together and send it out. Only later do you realize you missed opportunities to include your archetype.
If you find this happens to you, be sure to add Check for Archetype to your marketing checklist. You do have a marketing checklist, right? A checklist you use before sending out anything? If not, now is a great time to start.
How to create a marketing checklist
A great way is to start with a short list of the things you know you need to review, like spelling errors, copyright dates or whatever. Whenever something escapes your desk and you later find an error, don’t waste beating yourself up about the error. Instead add that to your list. Growing your checklist organically is the best way to reduce future errors.
Be sure to have an archetype word list as well
Be sure to check your word list. Your word list should be words and phrases that project your archetype. Just as with the marketing checklist, this list will be growing organically as you think of new ways to express your archetype.
If you need a refresher in why you need this, just go back to Warby Parker and read the page copy watching for phrasing. For me the most effective way to remember this is “Warby Parker = crud.” This can be a great reminder that how you say something is more important that what you say since the phrasing sends the message of your values and your brand promise.
This has been a long post with a lot to chew on. So spend some time looking at Warby Parker, but more importantly take some thoughtful time with your own web site.
Search for places where your words can be changed to provide the same factual information but can have more power by also demonstrating your values.
Did you miss the any of the posts in this series?