Personal & Company Branding: The Added Value of Provenance-Part 3
In Part 2 of this series we discussed what to do If you wanted to challenge an established luxury real estate company with deep roots in your community, i.e., a company with traditional values, a heritage brand with provenance (a brand story rich in history). But, what if your competition is young and progressive. How can you position yourself or your firm as just the opposite–a heritage brand with provenance?
To recap, a brand position is the summation of what you or your company stands for. Heritage brands stand for a history of traditional values and are often associated with the geographic location in which they were established which gives the brand provenance.
The opposite of a heritage brand position would be contemporary brand. In the product category of cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, MAC or Benefit are contemporary brands. Guerlain, Lancôme and Christian Dior, are heritage brands with a provenance rooted in Paris.
Each brand position attracts a different target market because branding is all about matching the brand’s values with those who aspire to or embrace the same values. The best brands are those who clearly articulate their brand position and do not try to be all things to all people.
Two global luxury real estate heritage brands are Sotheby’s and Christie’s. They are both over 200 year-old auction houses established in England. Like the antiques and painting that they auction the companies themselves have provenance. These brands provide a historical, international context for their respective real estate businesses, which adds to their value proposition. What they do not have is the provenance of a local independent firm, which can be a competitive advantage if positioned effectively.
Creating a new heritage brand with provenance can be challenging. But, here is an example of a luxury denim jeans company that pulled this off brilliantly.
Do we really need another jeans company? Nordstrom’s carries dozens of jeans brands; Macy’s seems to carry even more brands. Just about every major clothing designer has a jeans line. How can one startup company hope to differentiate itself in a sea of fierce competition? Perhaps, these are questions you have asked of yourself as a luxury real estate marketing professional.
Imogene + Willie, in Nashville, Tennessee was founded in this millennium by the husband and wife team of Matt & Carrie Eddmenson. They source raw selvedge denim that is woven on the antique shuttle looms of North Carolina’s iconic Cone Mills. Their classic style jeans are sold out of a retrofitted gas station and also online. Prices begin at $225.
Their story is endearing, genuine, wholesome and authentic. The Eddmensons explain how their grandparents on both sides of the family infused them with love and genuine traditional values, values that give them a foundation of heritage, lineage and thus, provenance. They hired people who also match their values and their vision for producing the best fitting jeans, custom tailored to fit you, perfectly. They pass along these traditional values in every pair they sell.
If you have the time to read their story and watch their video you may just be inspired to hop on a plane and have your next pair of jeans custom fitted by these two in Nashville. If you value the richness of stories like theirs, a true piece of Americana, and the luxury of owning jeans that were hand made for you in the USA you will understand why provenance is so important to luxury real estate personal and company branding.
Watch for Provenance, Part 4, LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!