Brand school session 6: brand fan innovation exercise

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Fresh ideas come from looking at old problems from new perspectives. A great way to leverage lateral thinking is to imagine what a beloved brand (in a different category) would do if they took over your business. How would they help you address your top business challenges?

Pinpoint your core business challenges. List your top three challenges here (Ex. Attract more customers, improve my customer experience, charge a premium, turn occasional users into loyal fans).

1. Crystalizing my mission

2. Attracting more customers

3. Not having a bricks and mortar store

Pick an inspirational brand to twist with your brand. Think about brands that you admire, that you feel have done a good job of addressing the challenges that your business faces. Pick one inspirational brand. Make sure this brand is NOT in your business category. For example, if you are a nutrition coach, don’t pick Whole Foods. Make sure it is a brand that is one you know well as a consumer and admire.
My inspirational brand is: Warby Parker
Brand Idea/tagline: Easily accessible designer eyewear at revolutionary prices
Think about what your inspirational brand promises and what makes them unique. Not just what they sell but how they make people feel. (Ex. Starbucks sells coffee, but they are really offering a sense of community). Think about the top of their pyramid and their core Brand Idea. This promise is often captured in the brand’s tagline. If you don’t know their tagline you can just write a sentence about what you feel they stand for.

Get inspired. Answer the questions below and be as specific as possible in your answers, this will help you successfully complete steps 4 and 5. You can refer to their web pages or go to the actual location (ex. an Apple Store) for more inspiration. Do this exercise for one inspirational brand at a time (up to 3 times).

  1. What does this brand help you accomplish? Finding stylish affordable eyewear in the comfort of your own home guided by a fun, easy interactive quiz. There’s also the option of visiting the bricks and mortar Warby Parker where you’ll be assisted by a knowledgeable and friendly sales staff. The stores also offer eye exams on the premises to expedite the eyewear purchase.

  1. How does this brand make you feel? Smart, with it and cool. Like you’re a member of a very special, in-the-know club. You’re too smart to pay those ridiculous prices for eyewear. And you’re cool enough to give buying glasses online a try. The physical stores are clean, modern and slightly clubby. Product is displayed beautifully, well lit and almost like you’re in a chic library.

  1. What specific products / services / experiences does the brand offer people?

1. Initially Warby Parker offered an app, which you could upload a photo to and try on glasses virtually. This was revolutionary and fun. 2. A fun interactive online quiz to find out what style of glasses suits you best. 3. A very knowledgeable and friendly staff. 4. A very large inventory of well made, well priced eyewear. 5. The service of ordering up to 5 pair of glasses online to try in the comfort of your home, keep what you want and send the rest back.

  1. What unique touch points do they use throughout the customer journey to tell their brand story? Ex. Starbucks has it’s own language (Grande, Barista), customizable drinks, leather chairs, free Wi-Fi. 1. The website features a fun interactive quiz on its homepage to help you determine which eyewear style is right for you. 2. Ability to order up to 5 pairs of glasses online, try at home and return what doesn’t work. 3. Also on the site is an excellent blog, which has been voted one of the top 50 examples of engaging content. The Warby Parker blog is focused on books and reading and presented in a bright, colorful easy-to-consume way.

  1. What makes this brand special, different from others and it’s competitors? 1st eyewear brand to sell glasses online. One of the first to allow customers to try before they buy in the comfort of their own homes. Web site is clean, modern with large colorful photos of approachable but attractive and diverse models that look like real people. The use of books and reading to create content that doesn’t specifically sell product but is an engaging adjacent interest is brilliant.

  1. Why are people loyal to this brand? Do they pay more for it? Wait in line? What do they rave about to their friends? Warby Parker has been able to win over customers to the idea of buying eyewear online and also that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get well made stylish glasses. They have created a very hip, clubby feeling around their brand. They also give back and allow you to as well with their buy a pair, give a pair program, which works with partners around the world to distribute glasses to those in need.

  1. How does it treat customers differently from its competitors? Customers are treated like they belong to a cool club (cult?). Just being there you’ve proven that you’re smarter and hipper than everyone else. When you walk into the physical stores you feel you’ve entered a cool modern library where you can take all the time in the world (with or without help) trying on tons of stylish, well-made glasses until you find the right pair (or pairs at that price!) that suit your individual style.

  1. What role do employees play? (Ex. Apple Store Blue Shirt staff) Staff is incredibly friendly and knowledgeable, they wear a uniform of blue lab coats and are ultra professional almost like your personal “style doctor” to ensure looking good while seeing well. Warby Parker has a very well regarded company culture whereby belief in the golden rule in number 1, they treat customers like they’d like to be treated. They are also one of the only carbon neutral eyewear brands in the world, thereby truly green. Warby Parker wants to lead the way for socially conscious businesses.


If you Twisted this INSPIRATIONAL BRAND with YOUR BUSINESS how would it inspire you to:

Stand out from competition: find innovative ways to engage with customer base like using an interactive quiz or a unique delivery idea (subscription service or try before you buy program).

Get new customers to try you: Entice new customers with the promise of full proof jewelry/accessories based on our H*O*T style quiz

Improve the customer experience: Create content that customers find compelling and delightful. Make it focused on an area that has specific appeal for my target e.g. aging issues and style.

Create new products and services: Consider a new way of delivering products to my customers like a subscription service or a try before you buy scheme.

Provide better customer service: Providing customers the opportunity to try before they buy and also creating the ability to engage more with customers regarding their style questions.

Stay top of mind between purchases: Deliver frequent content which customers find interesting and informative as a way of constantly staying in touch and top of mind between purchases.

Reward loyal customers: Consider a loyalty program where customers are rewarded with a free piece of jewelry once a certain number of purchases are reached.

Use Social Media: Consider sponsoring events (e.g. prom styling at a local school) and promoting them on Instagram and Facebook

Strengthen offline Marketing:

Develop stand out promotions:

Re-design your packaging: Create new packaging that allows multiple pieces of jewelry to be sent with return label and packaging included.

Seek out partnerships/endorsements: Develop a program whereby H*O*T donates something (buy a necklace, give a necklace) to Dress for Success or the Bottomless Closet, programs which help women in need put outfits together for job interviews.

Influence taglines:

Create other break through ideas:

(Refer to the examples on the video if you need more explanation).


Pick one favorite idea and flesh it out. Name it and be descriptive and detailed.

An Online Quiz called What’s Your Style Spice?
To develop a fun interactive quiz which lives on the homepage of the H*O*T website. The quiz will engage customers who come to the site by prompting them to use this fun and easy way to discover their true jewelry/accessories style personality. A series of 10 or so questions will help discover your exact style type. After taking the quiz participants will be shown a customized grouping of jewelry that suits their individual style. They can opt to have 5 pieces sent to them to try at home with various outfits, etc. After a set number of days they can return what they don’t want, just paying for what they keep.

What action steps do you need to make this idea happen?

  1. Investigate how to create compelling interactive quizzes that can work with the technology of the current H*O*T website

  2. Test the subscription or ‘try before you buy’ idea perhaps with a small targeted group from the current H*O*T customer list

  3. Integrate the quiz into the website with a possible redesign. Advertise the quiz to a new audience to attract new customers.


Please share the following information in your post:

  1. The inspirational brand you chose

  2. What best practices you borrowed from them

  3. The Twisted (inspired) idea you created for your business - please only share ONE idea

Please also comment of the Twisted idea of at least three of your classmates. Help make them more powerful and more distinctive. Have Fun! | | Copyright, all rights reserved, BrandTwist 2014.

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