Wednesday, October 23

Warby Parker


I've been meaning to spotlight this brand for a long time now, because I think it's a great example of "marketing is a spectator sport":  Warby Parker.

Warby Parker is the online prescription eyewear brand that sells a huge variety of frames.  Actually they started out online but now have brick and mortar locations as well.

If you know anything about buying glasses, you know that it's an expensive and stressful process.  Did I say "expensive?"  There have been a few new entrants to the scene lately to try to overcome those two facts (glasses.com is one of them), but none do it quite like Warby Parker.

The brand clearly picked up on the do-good success of Tom's shoes ... for every pair of glasses purchased, another pair goes to someone in need.  "Marketing is a spectator sport" indeed ... the brand paid attention to a winning concept and replicated it in their industry.  Nothing wrong with that, especially when there's a note of giving.

But they did it so well!  Buying glasses is an expensive proposition, and it's filled with stress.  An "ordinary" pair can get upwards of $1000 without even trying that hard, and then who knows if you are really going to like them.  Making the glasses more affordable takes out some of the risk, and makes it easier to create fashion accessories with the frames ... you can buy multiples with the same amount of money.

The brand also has a home try-on feature where you can experiment with five frames at home for five days, getting your friends and family to help you choose.  Again, eliminating some of the risk.  There are also social features that allow you to share pics of yourself in the frames, to do more crowd sourcing selections.

The fact that you are giving someone else a pair of glasses in the process just makes it so much better.  Classic contemporary marketing.  But the brand took it one more layer ... they are setting up micro-entrepreneurs in areas around the world and setting them up to sell affordable eyewear in their communities.  Taking the concept on the road, shall we say, and making sure that people have access to glasses.

So while it's hard to say that this brand is brilliant, because it basically modeled itself after Tom's, I do have to say that I love how it "searched and reapplied" a marketing idea and made it all theirs .... addressing consumer concerns of pricing, risk in product selection, and ability to get friends' feedback all at once ... bringing it all to those in need.  Addressing consumer concerns, in a beautiful fashion, is what marketing is all about.  Creating a business model out of it is even better!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - Glasses are a big part of your personal statement, and of your personal brand.  Check out my new book on building your own personal brand by clicking here!  Thanks!

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