Do lesser known brands know more about branding?

Do lesser known brands know more about branding?

Probably, yes.
What’s a brand. According to David Aaker, a brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. But, not many think in these terms. How many global brands, that provide us with business cases to be studied and learnt, qualify to be brands as per this definition. Aaker may not hold the supreme power of branding and its study, but it is hard to dismiss his take. If we define a brand in these terms, it appears that several low-key and under-the-radar brands seem to know more about branding than the giants. See what some lesser known ten brands have to say about themselves:

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    • 10.Deep® is an independent, street fashion brand founded in 1995. Springing out of the mix of niche musical and visual subcultures that fueled the New York / Tokyo / London streetwear scene of the 1990s. 10.Deep® embodies the spirit of independence that has driven youth culture for decades. 10.Deep is you against the world.
    • “We (WTAPS) started around 92/93. There was something in society against the majority. The majority had the majority culture and the minority had of course the minority counterculture. We fell into the minority.”
    • Farfetch exists for the love of fashion. We believe in empowering individuality.
    • Since its inception, Post O’Alls’ style remain unchanged – authentic in details and construction, distinctive in eclectic mix of various styles and fabrics, some adjustment if desired, with original characters built-in – and always rooted in vintage work clothes and other functional garments such as military outfits and outdoor garments, which were all evolved from work wear platform.
    • The world has changed—the world of fashion has not. That’s why we started A Day’s March. […] A Day’s March makes clothes with long-lasting quality and design. Instead of following every fashion trend, we want to create clothes that last and that you’ll love to wear for years. This is good for the planet.
    • Horses Atelier was founded in 2012 by best friends and novelists, Dey and Sopinka, with the philosophy of making pieces based on the values they hold in everyday life: utility, beauty, wildness, and endurance. […] Horses Atelier believes in the local economy and in the rare skills and empowerment of those who make our garments.
    • Ffixxed Studios makes clothing and objects that respond, adapt to, and inspire changing conditions for contemporary living. The ready-to-wear label evolves seasonally alongside a variety of other projects and collaborations that inform the evolution of the brand. reflecting on the everyday, the collections respond to the construction of daily life, exploring notions of work and life in contemporary culture.
    • Icebreaker is about icebreaking. We explore the relationship between people and nature. It’s about kinship, not conquering. Nature is our hero. Driven by the belief that nature has the solutions, we provide natural performance alternatives to synthetic based apparel […].
    • Tender Co. has its roots in antique workwear and machinery, especially from the Great British Steam Age. […] Important face of Tender’s British-made clothing is the nurture which is put into the clothes: in their research, design, manufacture, and wear. Just as a gardener tends to a vegetable patch, or a shepherd is the tender to a flock of sheep.
    • On (-running) was born in the Swiss alps with one goal: to revolutionize the sensation of running. It’s all based on one radical idea. Soft landings followed by explosive take-offs. Or, as we call it, running on clouds.

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Skim through the underlined parts. It is amazing to see how each brand is founded on a story, a purpose, a memory, a way of setting expectations and a method of serving the need they care about. Knowingly or unknowingly these brands have been redefining branding. One of the recent issues on brand management principles holds that a brand has to aspire to grow and expand. But not all brands have big aspirations and it is not the aspiration of the brand that makes it what it is, but it is the aspiration of people they care about. Sooner or later, branding professionals have to start looking at the other side.

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