The Power Of Fun

21 September, 2015 Share socially
For Shep and Ian Murray of Vineyard Vines, the idea “that everyday should be this good” became their driving force and motto.

By developing a clothing line that is exclusive but attainable they turned Vineyard Vines into a multi-million dollar retail force with revenues surpassing the $300MM mark. This U.S. based, East Coast brand has steadily grown in popularity delivering fun and colour to aspiring ‘prepsters’ for 15 years. Today, with company stores and more retail outlets offering their products than ever before, Vineyard Vines has elbowed in on brands like Brooks Brothers, J. Crew and Ralph Lauren for their share of the Preppy market.

Leaving their corporate jobs in 1998 with no money, fashion or retail experience, the Murray brothers used creativity and personality to promote their fun and colourful ties. Today, their clothing line has expanded and enthusiasts stand in-line for hours at the company’s popular warehouse sales to purchase repeating patterns and colourful gingham shirts. Their infamous smiling pink whale logo is everywhere from college campuses to the Kentucky Derby. And ever more frequently we are seeing their collections listed in magazines as essential clothing items to inject more colour and fun into your wardrobe. Their colourful ties have been worn by every living President and have even been seen around the neck of billionaire Warren Buffett. Regardless of where their brand appears it is always on message, delivering to its target audience an authentic, quality, product experience.

Vineyard Vines is selling more than preppy clothing; it is selling a lifestyle and they are doing it well. They are a brand idea well executed. Their store interiors deliver a fun New England beach town experience and their catalogues, website, social media and partner events are aligned.

So what lessons can we take from Vineyard Vines simple approach to brand and how can we apply their seemingly common sense lessons to our own work?

It starts with knowing your customers.

At Vineyard Vines, everything they say and do is directed at their target customer. Whether marketing ties and belts or giving back to the community, Vineyard Vines knows its customers aspire to do well by doing good.

By appealing to their needs and aspirations they are turning their customers into their best ambassadors. On social media, the #EDSFTG hashtag has grown in popularity as customers go to Twitter and Instagram posting images of themselves and their friends living the good life with hopes they will be featured on the official Vineyard Vines account. To appeal to younger audiences, they focus on college campuses promoting their feel good lifestyle through recruits of unpaid brand ambassadors called ‘whale reps’ distributing brand promotional items for free. And it works. From businessmen to college students Vineyard Vines is speaking to an audience that can’t get enough of what they are selling.

Use stories to bring your brand to life.

Prep is an upscale look and Vineyard Vines is for customers who want to associate with an upscale, healthy, outdoors lifestyle. Their distribution of close to 900,000 catalogues per issue is a compelling vehicle to let their customers tell their stories and share photos of their vacations or weekend sailing trips. Their marketing is themed with stories that help customers visualize themselves in Vineyard Vines clothes living the aspirational Vineyard Vines lifestyle.

Do what it takes to make your customers happy.

Not the easiest rule to live by, especially in retail, but critical to Vineyard Vines success. Customers experience the brand’s personality and authenticity in everything Vineyard Vines does. To assure customers are happy, Vineyard Vines invites them to become part of the brand. When you purchase from Vineyard Vines it is as if you joined a club. For many customers displaying the well-earned Vineyard Vines pink whale logo on their car is equivalent to posting their child’s college in the back window. It identifies you as part of something exclusive.

Provide a seamless experience regardless of where or how customers shop.

For Vineyard Vines the use of social media, digital platforms, catalogues, in-store experiences, and events are all aimed at delivering on a lifestyle experience. The company’s website has won awards for e-commerce delivering superior content and functionality. Vineyard Vines knows that regardless of channel, injecting design, creativity, and personality into every interaction will grow the brand. For 15-years Vineyard Vines has demonstrated that if you love what you do, and you have fun doing it, you can be successful. With personality and flawless execution Vineyard Vines is welcoming newcomers to their club every day. The result is a growing following of colourfully-dressed people trying to live the dream with hopes, “that everyday should be this good.”