When a friend advocates a Brand…
I’m always very interested when a friend starts spontaneously talking about a brand he/she has come across and what I can learn from the conversation about branding in general.
The first bit I’m always curious about is the WHY? Why is he/she telling me this? In what way do they feel this brand makes them a better person or the world a better place? We naturally want to be associated with brands that reflect our personalities and values so understanding precisely what it is about the brand that resonates with them is crucial to understanding the reason why it is being advocated.
The second thing I’m always looking for is the “What.” What are the specific things that they choose to talk about? What were those individual benefits, that make up the brand, they feel are most important.
This weekend my buddy was keen to tell me all about his new Dresden Optics glasses. He is an entrepreneurial spirit and loved the idea of an Aussie brand taking on the world. We discussed how only a couple of mega companies made the frames for all the big global brands and even though it looks like on the surface we are getting all these choices we are in fact all buying glasses from the same manufacturer. [Point 1: We don’t like monopolies] He than waxed lyrically about how they are made here in Australia [Point 2: Provenance matters] Next up was how they were made from recycled materials [Point 3: Environmental impact is important] Then he set about dismantling them to show me the modular design, how they come apart, you can swap the parts and how the frames flex [Point 4: Design & Style are key] The cost was also talked about, not so much about being affordable but about being appropriately priced. [Point 5: We don’t like the feeling we are being ripped off] There were a number of other points that we talked about, the lenses and the shop in Melbourne, all completing his picture of the Brand. From a 5 minute conversation I was clearly hearing this is a brand doing a lot of things right.
Naturally when I got home I was keen to check out the Dresden Optics web site and it really didn’t disappoint, from a brand perspective. There is a great brand story in there, with irreverent humour and it all feels very personal and authentic. There is a nice Brand Essence too “putting the glasses-wearer at the centre of everything” which positions the brand well, as a challenger of the status quo. I loved how the odd German word is thrown in there, it’s “wunderbar” and this all adds nicely to the tone of voice.
Another thing I really liked was the feeling of simplicity. There is a clarity of thought in the design of the products and the way everything is communicated. In a world full of noise, clutter and confusion, this type of calm and order is highly prized.
When we talk about creating great brands we often talk about a human centred approach and Dresden Optics have that covered beautifully. Talking about “a direct connection between the making of a product and the person it was intended for.” This resonates deeply with customers looking for brands they feel understand them and their needs.
WEEKEND AFR. Portrait of Bruce Jeffreys (yellow glasses) and Jason McDermott who have founded a glasses start up called Dresden Optics where you can swap out the parts of your frames and are going to sell them on a road trip through regional NSW, driving a solar powered trailer. Pic taken in near Newtown Sydney. Pic by Nic Walker. Date November 6th 2015.
It’s important for a successful brand to be right place right time and that’s what Dresden Optics are. We can see the whole food industry pivoting towards natural, artisan and hand crafted products and Dresden taps into this zeitgeist. On the web site they talk about “We’re looking forward to some happy accidents” and “craft excellence” which clearly taps into that ideology. The idea that the product is the process, is a strong theme in hand crafting and the way Dresden talk about the materials being used and the process is right on trend and surely part of their success.
What we have here are the three key elements of a good brand, functional, emotional and societal benefits all coming together. On top of that we have a strong essence/purpose, good differentiation, lots of personality, great tone of voice, unique design and all built around the user.
Dresden, is definitely a brand to watch out for and one that other Aussie startups can learn a lot from.
Check them out here: www.dresden.com.au