In this fourth installment of our series featuring a behind-the-scenes look at building a wearable tech brand, Karol Muñoz, lead designer and co-founder of wearable tech startup Luma Legacy talks about creating brand value for a fashion tech company through positioning and personality. Important stuff!
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Today, relationships with consumers start way before they buy a product and continue long after. It used to be that I would go to a cosmetics counter, sample a few moisturizers, pick one and then leave. The last moisturizer I bought was from Glossier. I followed their Instagram because I liked their posts. When I needed a new moisturizer, it was on my mind because I had scrolled through dozens of photos of it with raving reviews. I wanted it before I visited their store because I related to this brand. Apple’s simplicity, Tiffany’s blue, Zappo’s customer service, Red Bull’s extreme sports sponsorships–all part of their brand. Branding is a constellation made up of different traits of your company creating something people trust and desire. As people have less and less time to make purchasing decisions, they rely more on branding. The smartest digital native companies are focusing on the following:
Keeping It Real
As we’re still developing Luma Legacy, we have the luxury of experimenting with our image and messaging. We started out thinking of ourselves as a modern luxury brand. We used photos of sharply dressed women walking through the city streets on their smartphone. Our color palette was white, black and grays. Often, we found ourselves laughing at things we wanted to share but wouldn’t because it wasn’t on brand.We wondered if aspirational branding was really something we wanted.
Aspirational by definition is unattainable and that doesn’t sit well with me. Who are we really kidding with bronzed women laying poolside with all their jewelry on? I don’t do that. There’s no way I’m keeping diamonds on when I go to a pool, they’re expensive! We have since made a shift into playfully sophisticated; More Kate Spade, less pretend Balenciaga. Photographing bright red balloons and confetti will be way more fun. We’re sharing more often on Instagram and hopefully bringing smiles to people’s faces.
Brands truly connecting with their female audiences are empowering their sense of ambition (#GIRLBOSS) and tapping into their sense of humor. As it turns out we all like funny animals, inspirational quotes and finding other people like us. Embrace who you are, authenticity shows and allows your consumers to relate to you.
Pretty Is Smart
In fashion tech, we need to create brands that are perceived both as stylish and trusted. Traditionally, tech and fashion existed at opposite ends of the spectrum. Today, we are in the midst of a change–it’s cool to be as fashionable as you are smart. But, I think most brands are still struggling with products being perceived this way. As a smart jewelry company, we have to look good to be wanted, and we also have to work.
I believe the word wearable has become a bit tainted with so many smart objects coming to market that women did not believe to be well, wearable. Your average female consumer does not want to look like inspector gadget and will not wear something that doesn’t match her style. Design and messaging are so important to the future of smart jewelry. This is something we’re working hard on at Luma Legacy: how can we brand our product so it’s not be perceived as a gadget, but still promoting the features of our technology?
Telling Your Story
Today’s customer wants to know the story about where her things come from. Brands, like Zady are telling in depth stories about their materials allowing consumers to develop a deeper connection to the things they buy from them. As a new brand, we can’t tell the story of our heritage like Tiffany’s but we can all tell a story. What is yours? Maybe it is not one about your product, but the people behind your team. Is it a rags to riches story? Is it a David and Goliath story? There are seven basic types of stories–tell yours. Your customers are more curious than you think!
Every purchase is an emotional purchase. You are designing for people, not machines. People are curious, smart and like to laugh. Be yourself, embrace design as much as intelligence and tell your story!
In Karol’s next part of the series, she’ll dive into ways to accelerate your process through resources, mentors, and finding incubators and accelerators.
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.