Darling Life & English Cut
2 world class best practices on how to build your brand
How digital footprints make for a becoming real world, global reputation.
Marketers, business founders take note – Ad agencies beware. Here goes.
Some four years ago, I couldn’t keep my browser from pointing at the digital footprints of two human beings, a young photographer from Georgia, United States and a tailor from London, United Kingdom. All eyes on these two for understanding modern day branding. Both have become the best business practices of choice and my personal heroes of modern day marketing ever since. I have not gotten tired of referring to one or both in most any given week since 2006!
The Darling Life
Laura Taylor established a name for herself as young photographer by simply documenting her bucolic life on MySpace. She grew a following of 25405 friends with exemplifying a rural lifestyle and healthy being the rest of us had a longing for. This is with a free of charge MySpace page. Now ask your agency how much money you would have to spent on a brand site to gain similar attention! All that Laura had to do, is post a picture once in a while. The least effort as a bona fide business rule! Rather than posting pictures she took, Laura posted pictures that were taken of herself. As the healthy being she is, we all became returning visitors to go look for new pictures of Laura Taylor. I remember being much impressed with each picture received at least 20-70 comments. I thought, so that’s how you make friends and gain influence. To gain momentum all she had to do was tochange her profile picture. The way Laura Taylor treated herself on Darling Life has remained a world best practice also on how to deal with security and privacy issues. She managed to never ever compromise her privacy, nor did I ever notice any indecent attempts by any member of the community. Laura Taylor would allow her community insights into her approximate whereabouts, she would take them all along with her on travels to Egypt where she was taken to by an apprenticeship as a member of an archeology assignment. Eventually more photographs appeared actually shot by Laura Taylor and I noticed how I finally arrived at the conviction to have discovered a wold class photographer in Laura Taylor. Laura is also a natural born genius at maintaining her darling life brand attributes. Even Interpubic’s Future Brand could learn a thing or two from the Darling Life. The shift to acoustic music and the influence of the hipster culture, which has become mainstream through movies such as Elizabeth Town or Juno also played a vital role in establishing the brand. I every so often kept Laura’s MySpace open in a browser window and made use of her taste in music for a pleasant afternoon’s radio show—speaking about added value in immediate, practical terms.
- Commitment: Growing a committed community by allowing participation in the diary of the brand’s evolution
- Reason to believe: Witness & participate in the evolution of brand truths and attributes over an extended period of time (long tail)
- Efficiency & Continuity: It is how you do it with the least effort required
- Uncompromised Privacy: Get naked without ever letting your pants down
- Single mindedness: Strict business focus with a variety of photographs (work samples) distributed with few words. Do good and let the community do the talking
- Lovemark: A good understanding of how relationships seem to require respect in equal terms
Today photos from Laura Taylor have been replaced with photos by Laura Taylor almost entirely. First, the delightful music player disappeared from the MySpace page, then her MySpace page disappeared altogether. Traffic had been diverted to the well done Photographs of Laura Taylor credentials site besides her copyprotected photostream on Flickr.
- Photographs of Laura Taylor
- Isn’t life dreamy? Laura Taylor’s blog on Tumblr
- Laura Taylor’s photostream on Flickr
- Ghost Mag’s Q&A With the Darling Life’s Laura Taylor
On integrated campaigning
Both Darling Life & English Cut seem to have been at the right place at the right time—Darling Life with a MySpace page and English Cut with a blog rather than a website. I admire both for their ease of being not just ease of digital being—for demonstrated business focus and good business sense—and for getting naked without ever being caught with their pants down. It is this holistic approach to marketing thereby inventing a customer relationship program, an appointment generating engine [English Cut] with good use of common sense paired with practical intelligence rather than relying on specialist’s often awkward lingo knowledge. Laura Taylor andTom Mahon must have arrived at the conclusion that we all have but one life to live. It to be perhaps unwise to break it down into a professional life on one side and a personal life at its opposite side. Common sense and practical intelligence we all wish to arrive at.
When to run
Shy away from offers of ad agencies, that pull out complex case studies, abstract graphics, and on how the whole is more than its single parts, which then would together work wonders, yet trust your instincts. Run out the backdoor screaming, should your CRM agency not have a proven track record of at least 3 years in social media marketing. Leave now. Run.
Here’s a man that wanted to explain what he did, set up a blog with a friend of his (yes, someone in marketing), and begun blogging that lead to an audience, that lead to an increase in business, that lead to a whole new arena for a humble tailor in England.
-Jeremy Pepper October 25, 2005 11:45 AM
Tom Mahon, a bespoke Savile Row tailor got lucky with much of the same approach to branding, only this time on the other side of the atlantic, in the urban setting of London. Unlike Miss Taylor, Mr. Mahon could not likely attract visitors by thinking wishfully of an audience wishing to see him get naked as a silly rational offers for what may have triggered Laura Taylor’s early success with Darling Life, Besides Yves Saint Laurent had occupied that space long ago.
Only recently I learned that Hugh McLeod had as say in this, likely persuading Tom Mahon to make use of a blog rather than investing in a static website as the rest of the world would likely follow their ad agency’s advice. Tom Mahon turned his blog into an appointment generating engine at its core.
The trust a brand can build over time with long tail marketing is mind boggling in my experience. Calculating the least effort, making use of readily available toys and apps may well lead to finally bringing to completion a good enough percentage of your business objectives.
• Article in Newsweek featuring Thomas Mahon and Lucy Adams.
• Thomas Mahon Fights It Out in England (Nov. 2006)
Kami Huyse has published some slides on techniques to measure the effectiveness of social media. Here’s what I found on English Cut:
- To reach a dvierse group of men, about 10,000 in the World, taht have the money and interest in a Savile Row bespoke custom suit
- To do this on a local budget
- Start a blog to discuss the value of a custom suit and its many benefits
- To make Thomas Mahon a thought leader on the subject of custom suits
- Trips to Manhattan to garner new customers
- Thomas Mahon sold two suits in Manhattan in 2004
- Ten weeks after launching the blog and returing to Manhattan he sold 20 suits and eight sport coats
- This was fueled later by a media tour arranged by PR pro David Parmet
- Today, Thomas has as many sales he can handle and more
Case study from Naked Conversations by She Israel and Robert Scrible
Find the slide here: Tools and Techniques to Measure the Effectiveness of Social Media
The main difference I think—between a blog and a website—it took me a little time to discern it. Apart from the obvious we know how they look and how they work. But basically a website is an image and that’s open to the same problems that we all want a good image. So often we tell a half truth and like to dress it up a little bit. But a blog to be successful has to be a—reflection, a true reflection. And if you look at the dictionary, there are big differences between image and reflection. And of course you gotta speak the truth in reflections. There is nothing being hidden and people see that about you and it shows.