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What Warby Parker Teaches Us about Brand Loyalty

By: Guest | January 7, 2013 | 
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Today’s guest post is by Erica Moss.

My name is Erica, and I’m a Warby-holic.

As in, Warby Parker.

And it’s all their fault.

They started by offering a trendy product that I wanted: Hipster chic glasses for just $95.

Then they made me swoon with a clean, user-friendly site design.

Then they upped the ante with a winning combination of social media savvy and in-person events.

And for every pair of glasses they sell, they donate a pair to someone in need. But that’s not all.

What’s Not to Love?

As PR and social media marketing professionals, some of our biggest challenges include humanizing our brands, getting consumers excited about our products, and finding new ways to connect with them in a really genuine way. We often hear about the horror stories, but not always about those who are doing it right.

Now, you might be thinking, “Okay, great – you’re one person who happens to be a fan girl. Big deal.” But my constant blathering about Warby Parker in conversations both online and off has induced at least five of my friends to buy pairs of their own. Talk about ROI.

So what can we learn about the power of word-of-mouth and fostering brand loyalty from this little-eyeglasses-retailer-that-could? The answer: A lot.

Events that Make People Take Notice

Warby Parker is selling much more than a pair of frames: They’re selling a lifestyle. So when they decide to meet their fans and potential converts face-to-face, they do so in a grand way.

Most recently, the team embarked on a cross-country road trip with a plan to visit nine cities during the course of six months, “To bring our showroom experience to life.” Their ride? A traditional yellow school bus, complete with leather sofas, wood paneling, vintage books, a photo booth and, of course, their eyeglasses. I visited them during their kick-off in NYC’s Meatpacking District, and was thoroughly impressed with my experience, including the friendly staff members, who did everything with a smile.

When they opened a holiday Annex, again in the Meatpacking District, they invited those in the neighborhood to stop by for its debut, complete with free mimosas and other beverages, delicious snacks, and their full collection. And because I wasn’t already geeking out enough, I was fortunate enough to meet one of the co-founders, Neil Blumenthal, who graciously thanked me for attending and spreading the good word about the company.

These multiple touch-points are not only relatively uncommon, but they also make me feel like I’m part of something bigger than a product. It keeps Warby Parker top of mind, reinforces why I bought a pair of their glasses and also is a great way for new customers to check out their offerings in a laid-back sort of way.

Responses from Humans

Social media is the ultimate equalizer in that it allows users to have real, one-on-one interactions with the world’s biggest influencers, celebrities, and brands. For those who live and breathe this world, you know exactly how cool it is when someone you respect tweets back at you or acknowledges your enthusiasm in any way.

Since well before I made my purchase decision, Warby Parker has been quick to engage in a dialogue with me (and others, for that matter), offering their two cents about what particular pair of glasses looks best, answering questions about the Home Try-On process and more.

When I had a question about their aforementioned Class Trip, I was pretty certain they’d get back to me in a timely manner with an answer. To my surprise and delight, they responded to me, not with a tweet, but a personalized YouTube clip. So simple, yet so brilliant. And you know what I did after I received it? I shared it with both my Facebook and Twitter networks.

It’s All in the Details

We all love someone who’s detail-oriented, don’t we? Not in the way your mom reminds you (lovingly) during each phone call that you’re still single, but more like the best friend who stops by with a bouquet of flowers when you’re having a bad day. Warby Parker’s like that friend, who always seems to know what you want and expect from them.

This past holiday season, they offered gift cards — pretty standard, right? Not so fast. For each gift card ordered, they delivered a hand-iced, Warby-wearing Santa cookie from Eleni’s for the “ultimate gift-giving impact.” A small, spirited gesture that went a long way.

A few other examples of greatness include branded cupcakes and SOLO cups at their events, which feature throwback games like Foursquare, Connect Four, and ping pong. Let’s also not forget the celebrities who pop-up to throw their support behind the brand such as Gayle King and Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and their now-famous Warby Barker campaign for April Fool’s Day.

Follow the Leader

So what are the key takeaways here? (Besides my directive to run — not walk — to support this eyewear company with a purpose.) Never underestimate the power of brand loyalty, and make it your business to identify those in your customer base who will be your biggest cheerleaders. Create multiple touch-points for them, consistent with your brand, and they’ll do the work for you.

Erica Moss is the community manager for the Georgetown University online nursing masters programs. She enjoys blogging, TV, pop culture, and tweeting @ericajmoss

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