Following the Fairfax & Favor blog I wrote a little while ago, I received a lovely email from Marc Brown from Sporting Hares. Now, if you don’t know about Sporting Hares, follow this link and find out more. You might have seen the company’s Beauchamp Blazer popping up all over Instagram, or maybe you know Sporting Hares for the bespoke KINGS sunglasses its known for? Actually, it was the sunglasses that started the company’s journey (and what we’re focussing on today!) as Marc, fresh from university, identified a gap in the market for a sunglasses brand for stylish ‘country bumpkins’ that matched their lifestyle. Preppy designs were submitted… and sold out. And so Sporting Hares was born and now has the tagline – Defining British Prep.
Marc got in touch to talk about augmented marketing and how essential the ‘layers’ that surround a product (metaphorically as well as literally) are so important. In his words…
Acknowledging the extra layers
“Augmented marketing was something I loved studying in University. It’s so important in acknowledging the importance that the extra ‘layers’ surrounding the core product are. It is this that that essentially defines a brand from ‘just a product’.
How does Sporting Hares do it?
“Take for example our KINGS sunglasses. Rather than ‘just a pair of sunglasses’, they are wrapped in a protective film, have Sporting Hares lens protectors on, have an anti-rub arm protector, if engraved they have a sticker label on each engraving with the initials/name engraved under it, Sporting Hares case chosen by the customer, wrapped in Sporting Hares tissue paper with sunglasses leaflet and product care card. This is enclosed in a solid, thick and sturdy Sporting Hares box which, finally, is gift-wrapped with Sporting Hares wrapping paper and a red ribbon. All this comes with our Instagram competition leaflet and, of course, the all-important hand-written note thanking the customer and making them feel special. We like to stage our product experience – rather than throw all features at the customer in one, they admire the packaging, then the sunglasses, and then the final touch – their engraved initials.
“All of these extra touches form the many layers of the ‘onion’ that represent the augmented product. It is the experience, the delights of a hand-written thank you message and the quality of the card used in all information that impresses the customer in stages way before they even open the actual order they bought.
“I cannot agree with your latest blog post enough. Well written. The packaging truly is our way of building a new and loyal relationship with the customer – it’s a huge opportunity to impress that many companies are missing out on.”
Why this matters
I have to say that when I received Marc’s email, it really did make me smile. To me, the details matter a lot. And I know that many, many people think the same way I do me. In this digital world when you can happily run your life from your laptop and not come into contact with others that often, layers that give that contact (the handwritten note) in a different way, matter. We’re all used to ordering ‘stuff’ online and usually this comes in functional packaging that does that job but is very run of the mill. Of course, the product we’ve invested in is inside the minimalist packaging, but that key chance to build a loyalty and to make us feel warm, fuzzy and cared for is missed. Does nice packaging cost more? Does it take time to write handwritten notes and create the customer experience described above. Yes. Is it worth it? Oh yes. It’s how you build trust, loyalty, additional sales and a business you’re really proud of. And that’s before we even consider power of word of mouth.
When I received my Fairfax & Favor handbag, the packaging excited me. It made me felt like I mattered. Now, I was so impressed I made a video and I have told numerous people about it (usually when they comment on how nice my bag is!). Not everyone is quite so passionate about packaging as I am, or as hooked on branding, but if everyone you sell to tells just one person, you’re making a real difference, aren’t you. Food for thought!