I’m a Great Brand, Too!

By February 7, 2008Blog

There’s a fashion boutique in Denver called Sarah’s that does some great branding. They’re an independent shop without a lot of capital, but they really make their message stick in the marketplace.

I first found them when I was doing competitor research for a different fashion boutique that will debut this spring. Not a shopper by nature, I visited twelve different shops in two days to figure out who was branded well. Not surprisingly, the shops began to blend together in my mind: all a bit stuffy, none very memorable, many overpriced.

But Sarah’s was different.

In prepping for my visit, a Google search of “Sarah’s Denver” yielded www.sarah-denver.com as the top hit. They clearly secured an easy-to-remember URL and it appears they’re working on search engine optimization. Their tagline, “Eclectic Feminine Style” makes a promise that was delivered as soon as I walked into their door. The atmosphere was warm if not a bit fun and quirky, and even this shopper-on-assignment was drawn in to stay a bit longer.

I signed their guestbook, and from time to time receive well designed but inexpensive postcards reminding me of sidewalk sales, fashion shows and other events. The look and feel of the postcards mimic that of the website and storefront. The comprehensive experience is consistent and memorable.

Sarah’s is onto something that typically only big-budget retailers get right. They prove that it’s not necessarily costly to maintain a strong brand.

I recently purchased a monogrammed ball cap from Ralph Lauren for my husband. Shopper type that I am, I skipped the store visit in favor of jumping online at www.ralphlauren.com. The site is easy to find, easy to remember and clearly well optimized, just like Sarah’s.

An ad on the home page read, “For guaranteed Valentine’s delivery, see details”. I clicked through, read their promise and bought the product. They sent me two updates before the product arrived on my doorstep: a “Thank you for placing your order” confirmation email, and a “Thank you for shopping… your order has shipped” email. The tone of the emails was similar to what I remembered from their website. Like with Sarah’s, I was moving away from shopping and having more of an experience.

Sure enough, the item arrived today – a full seven days before the holiday, earlier in fact than what they had promised. When I opened the box, a script Thank You note lay on top of the luxurious navy blue and gold gift box. Just the presentation I would expect after paying $40 for a hat.

Both Sarah’s and Ralph Lauren are well branded. Both understand that delivering what you promise inspires customers to come back. And both are doing a knockout job at just that. Even as a non-shopper, I have no doubt that I will shop at Sarah’s again and, of course, I’ll continue to visit Ralph Lauren online.