If there is such a thing as being obsessed with a brand, my top brand would have to be Warby Parker. Last month I got a chance to speak with Carlo Ang, from the Warby Parker’s Social Media team. Carlo had a wealth of great information but there was one thing that really stuck with me. When I asked what do you do to keep up with the developments in your industry, his response was “we conduct weekly brand research to see what other brands are doing in the space.” I love competitor research and seeing what other brands are doing in social. This gave me a great idea to do this for my own website, and what better way to kick it off with Warby Parker. 🙂
Before I begin, I think it’s important to get into the genius mind of Warby’s CEO Neil Blumenthal. If you ever have a chance to hear him speak, do it. I’ve heard him speak at 3 conferences already and wrote a recap of his speech during Social Media Week this year. Most importantly, when it comes to business and new ideas, Warby considers these questions first and for most:
- Is this a unique experience?
- Is this authentic?
- Is it interesting and fun?
- Does it have a compelling narrative?
- Do people want to talk about it? Is it sharable?
- Does it do good in the world?
- Are we consistently learning?
Now let’s take a look into something I like to call, “you’re doing it right.” The most notable things I’ve seen Warby do over the years is heavily customer service based while connecting both the physical and digital space.
Best examples include:
- Custom Customer Service: Let’s face it video content is hot right now. Warby has combined the best way to package video content and offer amazing customer support all into one. You’d think it would be best to make one video to answer the same question 10 people have been asking, but when you personalize these videos these customers are so impressed that they want to share it with everyone. It then reaches 10 times more eyeballs! This turns into a unique personal experience. Customer appreciation and support is very hard to come by these days.
- Warby Parker Class Trip: Warby Parker had this amazing idea to set off on a tricked out yellow school bus across nine cities in six months, bringing their showroom experience to America. Who else would kill for that job? This idea is so genius. Initially they began as an online ordering platform. Their big hook was sending you 5 samples to try on at home… Problem solved, people love to touch, feel, and play with a product, right? But Warby Parker didn’t just stop there, they planned a showroom on wheels and took off.
- Annual Report: Something that Neil has said before is, “we’ve noticed that being transparent and vulnerable with each other forms deeper relationships with both our staff and customers.” What better way to do this than by allowing everyone to take a look into your annual report. This report was designed by Warby employees who are made it fun and personal.
- Unique Events:
- NYPL Secret Fashion Week Event
- Birthday party for Buddy Holly
- Where’s Waldo Anniversary Glasses
My 2¢ on gaps and new opportunities:
1. Warby Parker seems to be very influence by literature. Whether it is in their showrooms, events, or name itself. It may sound corny but I think a great opportunity lies in a future book club or a book drive for those in need.
2. Their growth is so massive. I’d like to see the strategy they have for managing each individual customer service video.
4. Weekly day-in the life video, vine series, or Instagram where they follow a Warby employee to see their perceptive through the lenses. It would make for some pretty interesting content, even highlighting who came into the stores or any “office personality type” content always performs best on Instagram. Tattly does this well. I’ve honestly never seen a brand have a higher IG audience than other social media accounts with so few photos.
5. If they’re going the route of celebrating people with iconic frames – Lisa Loeb, hello!
6. Rumors are that they’re expanding, which should come as no surprise. Final thought would be to use your space to connect with your community. Host events (book clubs, jam sessions, speaker discussion, create your own film festival, or even celebrate these iconic eyewear legends with a birthday party.) Space is a vital resource in NY use it and connect with people.