I’m a big fan of playing to your strengths and knowing your onions, so I’m a sucker for guys like David Hieatt and his wife Claire, founders of Howies, who now run the Hiut Denim Co.
They make really good jeans in Cardigan Bay, Wales – ex home of Levi’s – employing a local workforce of underutilised experts. They only make jeans, by hand, the best they can and they champion others who do - One Thing Well.
Makes you think though – how many people does it take to deliver a great pair of jeans and an immaculate service? The guys that make the great selvedge denim. The bod that sources the denim for Hiut. The designers of the jean itself. The guys that make the cutters. The girls that cut the denim panels. The ladies that machine sew the jeans. The boys that apply the zips. The specialist that make the rivets. The bloke with the hammer that applies the rivets. And all that, never mind the sales team. Writers. Website dudes. Delivery drivers etc. That’s a lot of experts focused on doing one thing well.
‘Simplicity is complexity done well’ as Einstein once said.
Which got me thinking – it’s not unlike us really. We do one thing well. We create really good brands. By that I mean the ones that really fit. That wear well and get better with age. The ones you love, the classics that never go out of fashion. The ones that when you finally admit you need a refresh, there’s only one passionate, expert you’re returning to.
And to build that loyalty, that reaction, that passion. We need a lot of specialists to do our one thing well. The guys and girls that do the big thinking. The girls and guys who kern and craft and wring their hands about point sizes and ligatures. The guys and girls that meet and cajole and plead and politically manage. The specialists that can shoot beautiful images and write amazing collections of words, or draw any manner of fantastic things. Then there are the boffins who understand and love zeros and ones, we branding guys can’t live without them now. And you can’t have those geniuses without other guys that can help the zeroey oney guys talk enthusiastically to the thinky creative guys. And then there are the three dimensional wonderkids that need to be able to work with the thinky creative team and the nuts, bolts, nails and buildy type guys. And that’s before we get to the ladies that take the difficult calls and chase the overdue invoices and the forgotten others who deliver all manner of stuff on time and on budget. Boring I know, but no less important than the shiny new brand idea thingy that’s really going to connect with those difficult to please guys called consumers.
So, we do one thing well, we create great brands that excel at their job, that our target audience fall in love with. Just like David and Claire’s jeans. And just like David and Claire’s jeans it takes a helluva a lot of people, skills, passion and know-how to simply make a Good brand.