Attention to Detail – Good But Not Enough

I bought a pair of Jeans the other day while New York City.  I wasn’t really planning on it and I had never heard of the brand before – Tokyo Five.  They just caught my eye while checking out a department store.  I liked their look and then their feel, particularly since I got a few unsolicited compliments on them – Believe me, that does not happen too often!
And then I made an interesting discovery:  See, these jeans have a lot of labels and even printed patterns inside.

There seemed just one too many. And it was stitched to the inside waist in a flimsy way.  A size label.  Tokyo 5 Jeans labelI decided to cut it out and to my surprise saw that there was something printed on the back of the label.  Read This:
Did you smile, too?
Now I was truly intrigued about this brand and went to check them out on the internet.  And that’s when I was … disappointed.  No cool, entertaining site – in line with the experience I just made.  No interesting story about the people behind this product or the product itself.  Just a bland looking mass label looking site which informs you that orders over $50 are free. None of the wit of the label in the pants.  The “About” tab just states what the brand would like to be: “a contemporary mens lifestyle brand that mixes classic American authenticity with Japanese Bushido philosophy…”.  They go on to explain briefly what that is supposed to mean but they don’t BRING IT TO LIFE.  I can not see, hear or feel the “bravery, respect, loyalty, honor [or] wisdom” that seems to define Bushido.  At best, I can study Tokyo Five’s shipping policy.
What a disappointment.  What a missed opportunity.  And what a great example of attention to detail triggering emotional responses in users but are unlikely enough to create a lasting bond.  The story needs to go deeper than physical signals.

Compare that with another Japanese denim brand – Edwin.  At first sight, the jeans themselves might seem less special than Tokyo Five…  But they have developed a strong following among the hip crown globally.  You can read about Edwin’s history, philosophy and craft on their site.  You can also see it all made into a film that tells the Edwin story in a modern context. But it is really all the stories related on social media, insider blogs and mags, etc. that drive their reputation and popularity among aficionados – Particularly since they are “reverting to their unprocessed ways, in keeping with the growing trend (in North America) of producing raw, selvedge denim“, as “Sean” the Denim expert tells us.  What is ‘selvedge’?  A typo or some connoisseur term? Intrigued?  It seems a lot of people are.  I certainly come across these pants in many of the Indie fashion boutiques that spring up in the hip areas of Hong Kong.  – An example of how another Jeans brand seem able to create a legend and keep it relevant, beyond the product.

About JP Kuehlwein

JP Kuehlwein is a global business leader and brand builder with a 25+ year track record of translating consumer and brand insights into transformational propositions that win in market. Principal at ‘Ueber-Brands’ a New York consulting firm, he now helps others to elevate brands and make them peerless and priceless. JP also teaches brand strategy at NYU Stern and Columbia Business School and leads the Marketing Institute at The Conference Board, all in New York. Jp previously was Executive Vice President at Frédéric Fekkai & Co, a prestige salon operator and hair care brand and lead brand- and corporate strategy development and execution at multinational Procter & Gamble as Brand Director and Director of Strategy. JP and Wolf Schaefer have co-authored the best-selling books “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueber-Brands” which lays out what drives the success of modern premium brands and "Brand Elevation - Lessons in Ueber-Branding" a guide to developing and executing a brand elevation strategy. Find the books here:
This entry was posted in 3 - From Myth to Meaning - The best way up is to go deep, 4 - Behold! - The product as manifestation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Attention to Detail – Good But Not Enough

  1. Pingback: Attention to Detail – Good But Not Enough | the cultbrand

  2. thecultbrand says:

    This is a very interesting post, I truly like this hands-on analysis of brands you experienced yourself. See, there are so many unused opportunities out there – great pity!


Make an Ueber-Comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s