Branding: Part II

22 Sep

Several Weeks ago, I attended my first Branding Workshop, exploring what a brand is and how making conscious ‘brand decisions’ can help grow a business. I wrote a bit about my experience and take-home message here.

Last week, I attended my second Branding Workshop, this time run by Tom Morse-Brown of MorseBrownCreative. Tom’s approach was much more of an interactive one that engaged the attendees in exercises to pick out the feelings that brands were trying to convey with website and store design.

It was a much smaller workshop and naturally, being a recovering lecturer, I made every attempt to take over discussion and had to fight against my impulse to stand up and start pacing the room. Fortunately for me, Tom is a very patient man.

What he did leave us with was a homework assignment – to go and explore the feeling, the atmosphere, and the aesthetics of the next retail experience we encountered. He asked that we sum our experience up in one word or phrase inspired by the space, so, naturally, I wrote him a long email …

An excellent opportunity for examining how a company brands itself occurred to me yesterday. I had to buy some large bins for camping supplies and some other small items to help organize the electronics cords in my house, so I went to ‘The Container Store’ a new retailer which has just opened in the Town Center Shopping area (Leawood, KS). Visiting this store is truly an experience – and it got me thinking about the idea of brand and what connections they were trying to make.

First the basics: this is essentially a large warehouse store selling containers – hardly sexy.

First Impressions: When you walk into the store you are immediately surrounded by music (louder than you might expect background noise to be, and popular, upbeat songs). The store is highly organized and it shows from the first step- which is just what they want you to think you are buying. It practically shouts, ‘bring organization home with you!’

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 2.27.26 PMSecond look: There are also more employees than you would expect for a store selling glorified tupperware – probably necessary to keep it so neat, but it also feels like a service experience. Finally, the store is divided into sections radiating from the center registers such that each section has its own focus (e.g. kitchenwares, closet, office space, etc) all unified by the theme of getting the right system in place and all your stuff will practically be organized for you. The bulk of the items are very practical and unsurprising, but each section also has a number of cute items that make it feel like your space can be organized – and – have character.

She's up all night to the sun               I'm up all night to get some                    She's up all night for good fun                 I'm up all night to get Organized

She’s up all night to the sun
I’m up all night to get some
She’s up all night for good fun
I’m up all night to get Organized

Finally, what you feel from being in this store: You are imbued with a sense of possibility. ‘You can organize your stuff! And you don’t even need to throw anything away!’ Not only that, but it can be fun and quirky-cool.

Frankly, I was amazed by this place. I wasn’t bored. The store felt alive with customers and employees. And I probably bought things that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s crazy, but I actually want to go back.

But, you said sum it up in one phrase: ‘Organization can be fun and we can help you do it!’


Why is it that all the highly organized guys get the cutest girls?

If only I had my life to live again! My next degree will have to be in Marketing.

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Posted by on September 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


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