It can be annoying when a brand babbles on about all kinds of life affirming stuff.
They say things like ‘Just Do It’ and ‘Think Different’.
And while their slogans and manifestos can indeed ignite a spark within you, you can’t help but feel that the relationship they are cultivating with you is essentially just transactional.
And the bigger the company the smaller and less important you, the customer, end up feeling.
But, conversely, it can also be hard if you are a brand, and in our case a small family business, who genuinely wants to build a deeper connection with their customers.
How can we do this authentically without coming across as insincere?
How can we build your trust?
And why would you even want a deeper relationship with a company you just bought a leather jacket from?
We puzzle over these questions constantly here at Barneys.
They irk us.
They bother us.
We could just as easily not lose sleep over this and be content to just simply sell our products without further ado, but that’s not enough for us.
We are a small team, passionate about what we do, and in order to be happy in our work it has to have meaning and purpose. Selling stuff just isn’t enough.
We have to know that when we come to work each day, it has been worth it, and not just from a financial perspective.
The things that make us feel most fulfilled is when our customers get in touch and tell us how much their Barneys product means to them. They send us pictures and share their stories.
There is a tribe, a club, a community gathering around us, and that’s what makes us feel good.
That beautiful tribe, from all over the world, from every walk of life, has some specific things in common.
They bought a leather jacket because it symbolised something to them. Not just that it was stylish or cool, but because it stands for being different and daring to be yourself.
A leather jacket is a timeless, iconic item.
It is, and always has been, a symbol of rebellion, worn by mavericks.
It has edge.
It is a statement in itself.
You may not have even realised consciously that this was your intent, but the symbolism and cultural heritage of the leather jacket is very powerful.
It is those qualities, described above, that we all share, and that is why we are so passionate about cultivating and championing them.
This is what drives us to nurture a deeper connection with our customers.
And, while we are a brand, we are also a team of individuals, of humans.
We realise we have a long way to go to build the necessary trust and to prove our sincerity.
We also know that the only way to do that is to keep being honest, open, vulnerable even, and to trust that our consistent work shines through in the end.
As a brand, we must live the very values we talk about. We must think different, act different, and speak different – if we are to stand out from other brands who might talk the talk but don’t walk it.
And so, this is what we are focussed on each and every day.
“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” – May Sarton.