How Two Men’s Lifestyle Brands Create Advocates Through Storytelling
Featured image by 1924house
After spending more than 2 minutes on social media, you’ve already experienced the overload of posts and brands for long enough. You start to wonder how anything stands out, attracts an audience, and actually sells itself with so many words and images competing for dominance.
Over the last few years, two brands we admire, have pondered over, and gain inspiration from, show an approach to standing out and gaining credibility that is timeless: effective storytelling. There were many dope brands to choose from for this article, but Uncrate and Fear of God have it locked down in their game-changing and unique approaches to the market of men.
Let’s consider the success of Uncrate and Fear of God in light of a fact:
When you connect to your customers’ tastes, appetites, and the lifestyle they desire with a story, you create advocates for your brand.
Storytelling is an experience (not a sermon). It’s the accumulation of every decision you make for your business. It’s a vibe, an emotion. Think brand colors and package design. Brand mission and vision. Photo aesthetic and product backdrop. Think typeface. Captions. Even the models and influencers rocking it with style. It all adds up to a story. To see how storytelling is done, we turn your attention first to Uncrate, “the leading buyer’s guide for men.”
Boasting new “gear” every weekday while dedicated readers hunt for the latest “stuff for guys” through over 10 million page views per month—Uncrate is no slouch on storytelling. Its aesthetic choices all aim themselves at the “modern” man. He appreciates bold, classic lettering in an understated palette. The modern man of taste has no time for the passing trends of fancy men.
If negation is the strongest form of narration, what is missing is a tasteless attempt at being overtly masculine.
The unchivalrous just isn’t Uncrate’s cup. Even their Instagram is a feast of monochromatic photos of men happily sampling life’s best pleasures. You could say every choice is made to connect with the modern man’s desires and interests (in line with the success of later brands like Hims).
In comparison, Fear of God represents a kind of strong, silent type. Its storytelling is visual, and it isn’t afraid to show (rather than tell). Fear Of God’s shop oozes with products so attractive, they don’t need models to sell.
Instead, it commands its story through example alone by using original films, still frames, and look books to delight the eye and inflame passion. Founder Jerry Lorenzo’s Instagram account is just as mysteriously dressed as it dances through signifiers of the west, the abandoned, and the empty but also shares a family man’s daily pleasures. The absence of models in the shop, as well as their look books, opens a space for the man who browses to become the model. Above it all, Jerry’s personal vision connects this brand together with a depth that is true and timeless: “[I call] myself a ‘storyteller’ in an attempt to shy away from the world’s perception of my craft.”
The missing is not always empty. Through this storytelling sleight-of-hand, their ambassadors become loyal models. By contrast, Uncrate creates ambassadors by “telling itself” as the most refined account of things for men. Both approaches to character development—the elusive seducer and the noble advisor archetypes—create brand loyalists through attention to their audience’s experience, leaving no man behind.
Their choices can be deconstructed, but can the success of Uncrate and Fear of God be repeated? Aspiring men’s lifestyle brands should observe three similarities to these elusive seducer and noble advisor approaches: (1) It’s consistent; (2) it speaks the language of real men (not television stereotypes); and, (3) it’s working.
If you want to repeat the success of these brands at connecting to men and creating advocates, you’ve got to ask yourself tough questions:
- What would men think of my brand if it were a real person?
- Would my brand be invited on a motorcycle ride, to ball up, share a drink, or kick it with its feet up on the coffee table?
- What would my brand wear to a night out? What’s his swag like?
- More importantly, what wouldn’t he wear? What wouldn’t he act like?
These are ways of placing your brand in the world and making it a man among men.
But remember in telling a story, there is always a hidden message—a story that is not being told. Think about the stories you are working against, fighting online, and pushing back on to change the game of men’s lifestyle branding. After all, “storytelling” is an equalizer and when done effectively, a game changer” according to Ross Simmonds.
This leads to even more important questions for your brand:
- Through your story, what would it look like to become equal with Uncrate and Fear of God?
- Then, from that success, what would it feel like to change the game of men’s lifestyle branding (again)?
- How would men feel about themselves as advocates for your brand?
There are ways of placing yourself in the mindset of telling a great story with a superior purpose.
Because what it looks like on Uncrate and Fear of God’s Instagram following, is purposeful. Men feel that they are becoming themselves when they walk in with confidence wearing The Sixth Collection and pouring “vices” over ice.
How do you feel when you look at Uncrate and Fear of God? What lifestyle does your brand live and breathe?
If you want to learn more check out: http://thereflexmedia.com.