Building a brand that consumers love is no easy feat. Not only do you have to get the word out about your product, but you need to communicate your brand story and develop a connection to your customer.
Those companies that build strong brands enjoy strong competitive advantages. Their customers are loyal and willing to buy new products. Moreover, they regularly advocate and market your product. Look no further than Apple to see how their brand has permeated culture and woven into our identities on what type of technology user we are.
But how do you build a strong brand that lasts?
IceLink, a jewelry company based out of Los Angeles, presents an interesting case study on branding. In a highly competitive market, they’ve found ways to stand out with their brand and product.
Origins of the brand
In the 1970s, Andy Sogoyan took a job working at his uncle’s jewelry shop in Hollywood where he began to learn the jewelry trade. By the 1980s, he started CA Links, which would become a successful jewelry manufacturing and wholesale business.
In 2003, he floated new jewelry models of watches that could be jewelry as well, and received promising feedback. He launched IceLink, which stood out with its high diamond-laced watches.
Interest in IceLink’s unique design soon followed. The 6Timezone, inspired by Andy’s international travel to easily tell time across the world, became a hit. Celebrities like Taboo from the Black Eyes Peas would wear IceLink.
The financial crisis of 2008, however, impacted many businesses including IceLink. At this time, Andy’s daughter Suzy had joined the business, and they decided to pivot the brand to be more accessible. Today, IceLink isn’t just an exclusive brand, but a more accessible one, and they sell six times as many units as they did before.
When celebrities wear your product, your brand is put in the spotlight. Having built relationships within the Hollywood scene, celebrity names have gravitated towards IceLink for its differentiated designs, earning the company consistent media exposure. IceLink took luxury to the a new level.
Suzy explains that IceLink had previously worked with PR agencies to gift jewelry to celebrities or influencers. Now though she uses her personal Instagram account to make connections.
Connecting to the customer
Today, Suzy is a major part of IceLink’s brand, and she focuses on connecting with her customers. Suzy explains, “My goal has always been to encourage people and give them strength. With my personal Instagram page I’ve been able to connect with so many people on a personal level, with topics on my family life and my business life.”
Suzy also ensures that IceLink is transparent in their approach. They keep their audience in the know by communicating through social media with photos and videos. With clients, they stay in touch by email, text, and direct messages, and go the extra mile to make sure their clients are happy with all purchases.
Additionally, Suzy regularly participates in social media, and runs ads through Google, Facebook, and Instagram.
Be purposeful with your brand
Over the last decade Suzy has been instrumental and intentional in creating IceLink’s brand. She insists that consistent branding is critical, and that you should take the time to sit down and write down your visions, goals, and strategy. In particular, you should:
- Define your brand: What are the beliefs and values of your brand?
- Identify your strengths: Why should people invest in your product or services? Why are you the best?
- Know your target audience: How and where will you reach them?
- Create your brand story: How do you tell people what you do and why you do it?
- Find your brand voice: What tone do you use to connect with your audience?
- Design your look: How do you represent yourself visually?
As a fashion brand, you have to find ways to be relevant. Suzy emphasizes that they are in a constant state of innovation, and more importantly, they aren’t afraid to be different.
Suzy points out that their innovation is fueled by their connection to their customers. “Our team is our family, and our clients are our family. Together, we support each-other, work hard, and empower each other. More importantly, we listen to each other. We are constantly in contact with our clients and listen to their feedback on our pieces, and even take recommendations on new ideas! Trust is a two-way street, and we wouldn’t be able to create jewelry everyday without our clients, aka the IceLink family.”
Brands are a competitive advantage
When thinking about how to standout from your competition, your brand can be an incredible asset. Just as the team at IceLink demonstrated, be thoughtful about your brand, connect with your customers, and find a way to be different, and you might find yourself with a brand your customers love.