I met Reggie at the Starbucks in Chinatown when I was 19 years old, applying to be an intern at his company. He is the brains behind the brand that is BLACK Collection and the movement of his brand, Individuality, created by a series of garments plastered with the word "INDIVIDUAL", found on the backs, limbs, and chests of hipsters and city kids across the country. He is now not only one of my best friends but one of the most influential people in my life to date. Read his words on branding and true target marketing.
Brands are created to penetrate culture, illuminate lifestyles, and articulate their artistry. There is one simple rule that I believe is pivotal to creating a brand: "don't become a replica". Every brand is responsible for creating their own lane, and telling their own story. Their products are suppose to tell a story, the culture of their brand, and should be represented by their consumers. If you think like me, you will understand early that you don't need to market to everybody, nor do you need everybody to agree with what you are producing; as crazy as this may sound, you don't need everybody to purchase your pieces either. It's a strategic game that is played through years of consistency, filtering out those who value trends and appreciating those who sincerely enjoy your work.
I think the key to building a brand that will have longevity is to focus on each customer individually, ensuring that each experience is superb and placing customer service on the top of your priority list (these are some of my main objectives). As a marketer it is your job to create experiences for each customer to carry with them forever. Never put all your focus into the bottom line, because that's where you'll end up if you're only worried about how you can cut corners and offer your customers a product with shabby quality.
Start small and grow gradually. Build it organically. Don't deviate from your ultimate goal, however don't get stuck on what you initially created. Allow changes to transform the brand into something greater. Ideas grow and change through the process.
There are a few brands that I sincerely admire, their work is pure inspiration! They've weathered storms, stayed true to what they believe, and have done an excellent job with nurturing their consumer base. I'll do some name dropping and you guys visit these sites to experience their brands.
BLACK Collection (this is a bias selection but whatever... it's great to me)
They are all a daily inspiration to me. I've met some of the owners personally, read interviews from the others, and they all said the same thing, or some derivative of it.... "Never give up"