October 29, 2015
#heliumlovesbrand – here’s looking at warby parker

For this edition of #heliumlovesbrand, Kristin, our Marketing Coordinator, shares with us one of her favorite brands [which happens to be a favorite for the whole team, too]. Let’s take a look at eyewear aficionado Warby Parker. Get it…take a look at…hehe.
I first heard about Warby Parker a few years ago from a friend living in Manhattan. You know the kind of girl, beautiful yet down to earth, super smart, and always in the know about the latest and greatest. She talked excitedly about her new Warby Parker glasses and how cool it was they sent her 5 pairs to try on. And, she exclaimed, when you buy a pair of glasses they donate a pair to a person in need! Plus they’re only $95. Wow, I replied, they sound like an amazing company!
Fast forward a few years and Warby Parker is now a billion dollar company whose success is attributed in part to extreme focus on brand development. I guess some other people thought they were pretty amazing, too. What, you ask, is so great about their brand? The heart-felt story and the brand’s authentic voice along with the fact they are providing a solution to a legitimate consumer problem – stylish, affordable eyewear. But, let’s get back to what really matters – the story! When we develop a brand we start by identifying the language and then create a character representative of the person living that brand’s lifestyle. Warby Parker co-founders, Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa, created their character: first name Warby, last name Parker. This persona came from two characters found in Beat Generation author, Jack Kerouac’s, journals. Warby is the witty, sophisticated yet down to earth person you’d love to sit next to at a dinner party. Humorous website copy and social media posts reflect this friendly, interesting core of the brand. The founding duo infuse their love of literature into the company culture by giving employees a copy of Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums and a place to read it on their first day. There’s a library in the company’s main office!
Let’s not forget about the heart-warming aspect of the brand that pulls at the heartstrings of the bespectacled. Right after college, Blumenthal worked with the nonprofit VisionSpring, which seeks to increase access to affordable eyewear. It was an experience that instilled a great desire to give back, to make the world a better place. When laying the foundation for Warby Parker, he realized he could contribute to the VisionSpring mission by donating a pair of glasses for every pair sold. Done and done.
It’s all about the experience in our consumer-centric world. Initially Warby Parker was sold exclusively online and while you can relate to a brand that lives in the virtual world, it’s always better to have a human connection. Warby Parker wanted to immerse consumers in a whimsical, vintage inspired Warby lifestyle. Enter The Warby Parker Class Trip, a mobile showroom inside of a school bus that was transformed into a bespoke library.
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The Warby Parker bicycle complete with a case of spectacles to try.
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The Readery, a customized newsstand installed in Standard Hotels filled with books, newspapers and, of course, glasses.
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It’s the unexpected and delightful way people are able to interact with the brand that makes Warby stand out in a world of cookie cutter ophthalmology offices.
As for Warby Parker’s digital presence, the website is clean and filled with oversized, styled, and simple product imagery.
Whimsical, hand-drawn illustrations pepper the website reminding me of Shel Silverstein children’s books. It keeps the mood light and fun.
Their philanthropic mission is mentioned throughout the site with imagery to drive home the message. For every pair purchased, a pair is distributed to someone in need. Love it!
What’s the takeaway here? Warby Parker is this month’s #heliumlovesbrand feature, because they solve a problem in a way that speaks to their core values, they create delightful experiences, contribute to the world, and do it in a pretty way with design and imagery that conjures a place people want to be a part of. I’d like to sit next to Warby at a dinner party AND he’s got me considering glasses, which I haven’t worn voluntarily at any point in my life.
Use #heliumlovesbrand to let us know if you love Warby Parker as much as Kristin and the entire @heliumcreative team does. Or share with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter what brands you are crushing on!