I went through the laborious task of painting and scanning an all caps alphabet for use on T-shirt designs. This is a look that’s been popular in places like Abercrombie and Hollister for quite awhile now. My CD has been wanting to chase this trend in the licensed industry but was unable to find a typeface that was mature and tasteful enough for our target demographic. I like a challenge so I decided to try and figure something out.
It turned out to be more of a pain to use in a production setting than originally anticipated but the result is truly unique and special. I also painted different types of sports balls for use in the center of the graphic if a college or team is interested in changing it up.
This is a tasteful brand ad I did for the Winter Classic program. A guy in the office found the TV on the street in Somerville and had it in his car for months. We finally found a use for it in this shot. I art directed this piece and I like how elegant yet masculine it looks. Simple and clear.
’47 Brand is considering taking the dip into the social media landscape to market its goods online. My bosses have asked me to come to the table with my recommendations on what we should do.
The following thoughts and proposals are directed towards an audience who knows very little about the goings on of brands and social media in general.
This is sort of like me as a consultant giving a business pitch. Or me acting as our digital media Account Planner.
The first post is business operations recommendations on getting the actual ecommerce website up to snuff enough to market to a nationwide audience.
As of now, the product that is the experience of actually shopping the ’47 ecommerce store is not good enough to push onto strangers in the 2.0 world.
Who is our customer?
A small segment of tastemakers and people who get what we do. Young, hip, social media users, blogging, connected influencers. Those who play the fashion game and have high taste. People who like to shop. People with disposable income. Sneaker freaks, fashion geeks. College/High School kids.
Why not everybody? Why leave some out?
Not everybody is interested in buying licensed apparel online. Hell, some of our customers are impulse souvenir shoppers and that’s all they’ll ever be. Some are too old to consider making a purchase online. Some would only wear their team, and that’s it. Some don’t even have the web capabilities to actually shop such a forward thinking site. Not everybody has flash.
What is our message?
We’re an online destination for forward thinking fashion customers who are interested in quality sports licensed stuff. We are out to be the best; not the biggest. Note: If we have a generic (one size fits all) message and implementation, we are not special or cool and we are not worth passing along to your friends.
What do they want to hear?
You have just stumbled upon an awesome site. “This is special. I am special. This is not for everybody. This is cool. This place has got some awesome product. These prices are reasonable. This goes with my new sneakers. This is a sweet old logo. This is how to buy and wear licensed gear fashionably.”
Why should they care?
Because it solves a problem for them. “How do I know what the best licensed apparel brand is? What’s cool?” “How to be fashionable while supporting your team and wearing licensed looks.”
What will motivate them to make a purchase? Them to become a repeat visitor? Them to be a repeat purchaser?
A lot has to be in place. Awesome product, and a quality shopping experience with quality follow-up and support if there’s a problem.
What is “quality” online? How can you tell?
“Quality” is the absence of non-quality signifiers. Think about that.
What is a “non-quality signifier” online?
Poor design, unclear site navigation, crappy pictures, crumby presentation and delivery of goods, a shitty or difficult to use return policy, paying unfair shipping, paying too much in general. Anything that could possibly warrant buyers remorse. We have the great majority of this covered. We need to take it all the way.
What’s it going to take to capitalize on these opportunities? What’s the right move?
Ecomm is a much different world than retail. Shoppers are going to do a bit of research before they pull the trigger. They’re going to see if the same stuff is available elsewhere online and if it’s cheaper. People who purchase online always do this. It’d dumb not too. Example: Thefind.com
They’re also going to check and see how much it costs to ship. Good companies encourage you to go for free shipping by prodding you to purchase more (Amazon). We can send out a nibble and give free shipping if you spend enough too, but c’mon, be a GREAT company and just eat the cost on the shipping. It’ll be worth it when they’re a repeat customer who tells everybody and their brother where they got the threads and how cool it was that they didn’t hose you on shipping. We whole-heartedly believe this.
This is the internet. This is not Red Sox nation visiting the Mecca of sports stores. There are no waves of extasy surging through your body after a walk-off homerun win at Fenway Park. You are calm and collected and you’re going to make sure you get a good value for your damn hard earned money. You may not even be a real big fan of the team your buying at the moment- it just looks cool and you want it. Don’t give them a reason to turn you down. Be fair. Nobody ever went broke kissing the ass of their core customer.
What about returns?
We emulate Zappos.com customer service policies regarding returns. Or get close. We’re shortening the supply chain. We should pass along some of the savings or have stellar service. We can afford it. This is crucial to our “buzz worthyness.”
What will need to make it a success?
First and foremost, Product offerings:
The ecommerce store won’t be worth visiting, shopping, and forwarding around to your friends unless there are many, many more skews. Every team from every league represented with at least a franchise and scrum tee. Also, we need to have a product fulfillment plan. Whether we tack on 12 pcs. of selected styles we are already placing with the factory for our use at ecom, or we pull from overages of great stuff that comes through the office, we need to have a plan in place to ensure we keep the ecom site fresh and worth looking at every week. This needs to be part of somebody’s job description. This person needs to have their finger on the pulse of market trends, (IE. Craig, Tom, Sean, Bob) and be responsible for making the product have high profile pull
Bottom line is before we market the site, it needs to be a kickass product on it’s own. Make sure the marketing ideas we have for it are worth pursuing. Make it great.
It’s going to take a lot of time and energy to do it right and we will need to directly allocate resources to it.
Overall, if done well, the site will rock. We’re almost there. Lets keep pushing.
Photography needs. Product needs. Marketing needs. Shipping needs.
For the site to be a weekly destination for fans of our brand and not just fans of their team, we need it to be exciting. Worth looking into. Worth spotlighting on your blog for a day. CURRENT. For this to happen, we need to break down the time it takes for us to see a trend happening, make product, get it here, photograph it, and then put it up on the site. To hit these goals of reacting fast to an opportunity, we need to have people in place who are accountable for that task.
Ecomm Buying: Taking stock positions on large market nationwide teams, knowing what comes through the warehouse and what pieces to skim off the top.
Ecomm Logistics: Somebody who holds others accountable for what comes in and out.
Ecomm Marketing: Somebody responsible for garnering the traffic to make online sales thru: email campaigns (permission marketing), facebook, twitter, blogging, banner ads.
Ecomm Photography: Someone to handle the large production load of making all the product look like it’s worth what we charge. I HAVE IDEAS FOR THIS – web tool that makes screen printed T-shirts, Photography Interns.- utilizing the production dept. for more than CAD production.
Facebook is teaming with an absolute ton of people in our core demographic talking about themselves and others in great detail. They share information, interests, opinion, pictures, everything. It’s important for marketers because they can effectively target a message or a series of messages, or even a conversation that starts a relationship that builds trust and thus the very strong prospect of a sale. By being part of that community and a genuine non-threatening person who is cool and in touch with what our demographic is into, we can develop a “friendbase” who want to hear marketing messages from us. All in all, social media is like the world’s biggest party; only no drinking.
The rules of the party apply:
Start conversations on mutual interests.
Ask thoughtful questions that show you understand and genuinely care.
Listen (read) twice as much as you speak.
Offer advice or a helping hand (Actual content.) Solve a problem for them. Make them want to be your friend and maybe you can earn the right to send them marketing messages. You just can’t come out of the gate with a “wanna make out?”
You’ve got to plant the seed, nourish the relationship, then ask for the sale… And after they take you up on your offer and make a purchase, it’s still not over- you call them back. So you can do it again later and maybe they’ll tell a friend.
Roster is doing a pretty good job with facebook out of the gate. Check their page out.
They have an active page with pics and relevant comments and friends already.
But their grassroots friends look a bit like Astroturf to me: I think they require their employees to participate and post… just my opinion.
Things to do:
1. Friending prospects
2. Friending people who influence us + trading partners
3. Friending our competitors
4. tagging pics of product
5. publishing content i.e. style guide –like gq or esquire with a sporty twist
7. interactive look book
8. making virtual products and gifting them to prospects
9. accruing the email list
Who is our customer?
College age males and females who are sports fans and are interested in sports and maybe fashion in general. They are well connected, they have very short attention spans, they know when they’re being marketed to, they get their news and media from a wide variety of places; but the one thing they all have in common: Killing whatever free time they have on facebook so they can stay connected and ensure they don’t miss any fun.
What is our message?
We think you’re cool. We understand you. We like you. Here is some information that may entertain you and you might find funny. Maybe you like us too and will take our recommendations on style. Enjoy and forward along if you like.
What do they want to hear? What do we do?
Anything that is funny and or helpful, that makes their life easier. Identify and solve a problem for them. Entertain them. Don’t talk down, talk up. Give them a shit-ton of credit. Pitch it like you met somebody in a bar. Make conversational leaps and references that other demographics wouldn’t get. Know who you are talking to and say something so interesting they care and remember.
We make an online quiz. The results filter down to product recommendations. We have a lot of things for a lot of different types of customers. Help them shop while making them laugh.
Why should they care?
This is different for each target. If targeting the guys? We tackle the test like you are single and looking. Most college age folks are.
Ex. Support the team and not look like a tool on game night.
If targeting girls? Solve a problem they all have- Want to look cute and show you can hang with the boys?
Need to hash this out more…
What will motivate them to shop the site after their results are in?
Our voice is that of the writers of Maxim, Espn mag, Bar Stool Sports, FHM. They are edgy and funny and distinctly male in tone. They know how the customer talks, what shows they watch, what magazines they read, and how they feel about ads. We have to get out there and be honest. Offer them information they are interested in.
Ex. What kind of fan are you? and How can you dress to impress at the game?
Play on their wants as a consumer group but inject your brand into the mix. Do it tactfully and people love it. They laugh, they remember you, they let you pester them some more. They’ll check out the site. It’s kinda like knowing what to say at a bar or cocktail party that gets you into a better conversation- and possibly their pants or in our case, their wallet.
Regardless, it’s a helluva lot more effective than shouting at people with a stupid stale brand message that only you care about in a traditional media channel.