Thursday, August 18, 2011

What's In A Brand? The Comfort & Samuel Example.

We usually take to our Twitter page (@xoliquoricexo) to air our views on some labels that don't appreciate the link between their price tags and offering a commensurate brand experience. Perhaps it's fitting, then, that we are featuring a budding brand we first discovered on Twitter (@comfortetsamuel). Comfort and Samuel exists to 'provide modern home interiors inspired by heritage African textiles' and 'modern African luxury', from tie dye pillows to aso-oke duvets, but it's not their elevator pitch that caught our eyes; it's their noteworthy approach to situating their pieces in a debut catalogue, introducing potential customers to the Comfort and Samuel lifestyle and experience.

Pieces given a context tell a story better than static, one-dimensional images can. A pillow held up against a white background may work, but a pillow on a bed or sofa (i.e. the context in which it's utilized) works significantly better and can help a customer see a pillow as not just as a piece, but a necessary part of a whole. It can also help inspire your customers, giving them product placement and combination ideas, increasing the likelihood of a purchase or at least giving them a reason to interact with your brand longer. Or, to use a more fashion-specific example, it's the difference seeing a photo of a pair of shoes and seeing the same shoes in an editorial -- situating it in a story helps it come alive and increases desire for the product.

Words can help tell your story, too -- not just product descriptions, but a word or two on the creative process, materials used, cultural anecdotes, if appropriate, etc. Word elevate images from simple photographs to a part of a whole, offering your customer more insight into your brand's DNA and what differentiates you from the competition. That said, words and images can be two sides of the same coin, and no well-crafted sentence can mask a substandard photo. Blurry or grainy images of a poorly executed shoot? Unacceptable.

Now, we are not holding Comfort & Samuel up as a perfect brand, nor are we suggesting every entrepreneur needs to have a catalogue. The long and short of all we've said is this: Presentation is key, and if you want to be taken seriously in a fiercely competitive industry, there has to be evidence that you care about how you're presented - from your shopping bags, to your look books, to your customer service. The difference is always clear when you place brands that go the extra mile beside those that don't, and your brand should strive as much as possible to do what it says on the tin. If you're not living up to or actively working towards your brand goals, it's time to return to the drawing board.

See Comfort and Samuel's entire catalogue here, shop their offerings here, and stay tuned to Shop Liquorice (and our twitter page - for more of our views on these and other matters.

Any other tips and tricks you've observed along the way? Are you inspired by Comfort and Samuel's example? Let us know what works for you as a customer and/or entrepreneur.

- SLiq

Photos with thanks to Comfort and Samuel


Comfort & Samuel said...

Wow! Thanks so much for including Comfort & Samuel on Shop Liquorice. Needless to say I'm a total fan and appreciate your comments and support. We have a couple more projects in the works and will make sure you're the first to know :)

P.S. We are happy to take on your consultations on how to perfect our brand!

xoliquoricexo said...

You're so very welcome! We look forward to your future offerings and we are more than happy to help any way we can. Will shoot you an e-mail.

Well done :-)