Brand Matters: Keep It Simpler!
I see simplicity winning all around me. Whether it's the return of vinyl albums for the younger generation, the 30 percent increase in the sales of canning supplies, or the surge in gardening, sewing or knitting, brands that tap into their customers' desires to counterbalance the highly complicated tech world we live in with high-touch activities will endear themselves to their customers.
"Old school" brands that have been around for 75+ years like Crayola and LEGO have always been low-tech, simple superstars. They've learned ways to become a bit ambidextrous. Both these brands have learned how to successfully combine the best of both worlds. For example, Crayola has online art exhibits and interactive play for children while Lego unveiled WeDo, an educational product that links the child's physical and virtual worlds.
Etsy, a worldwide community of artisans, ranked No. 44 in Fast Company's list of the world's most innovative companies. Sales for Etsy reached $467.8 million last November. With 12 million members and 25 million unique monthly visitors, Etsy's vision is "to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell and Live Handmade." Its low-tech product sales continue to increase as artists now have a worldwide outlet for their wares.
This online gathering of craftsmen and women encourages the personal interaction and artist involvement that customers have come to love at weekend, local arts and crafts shows. Renee Reese, artist and owner of HopscotchArt, shares this about her Etsy experience:
"The Etsy community is united by a passionate need to share our handmade creations. We make our art, in my case, watercolors and hand-crafted greeting cards, photograph them and post them online. Part of the fun is marketing your own wares by catchy descriptions and lots of photos of each item. You want the potential buyer to almost be able to feel and touch the product, so you spend the extra time to craft your Web page.