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April 11, 2024

Adrienne Weiss: Build Your Brand Like It’s a Storybook

To branding strategist Adrienne Weiss brand is a story. “It sounds like a throwaway line, but it’s not,” the CEO of Adrienne Weiss Corp. said at the recent Inspired Home Show during the show’s Inspiration Theater education program. “It’s literally at the heart of your business. There should be words and pictures like a storybook that tells the story of what you are doing.”



“If you’re trying to sell something to someone, you have a brand,” Weiss added.

At the same time, a brand is a club that people want to join and enjoy. “If you think about this idea of ‘clubness,’ that would make one person talk about your business to another and that to a third,” Weiss said.

In another perspective, “the brand is like a country that has its own rituals and customs and visuals,” she added.

It all adds up to a brand identity on which a business can build.

“There’s an emotional and intellectual idea at the heart of every brand,” Weiss said. “That means there’s a feeling piece and a thinking piece. There is literally what the products are made of and what the customer may respond to. When you are working, think about what that emotional piece is and what that intellectual piece is. If you keep mirroring them up and make sure you’re not too heavy in one direction, you will be coming up with the right equation.”

Given that exercise, a company develops a filter through which it can evaluate ideas, according to Weiss. Through that, she said, a business can align everything from its name to the signage, a public relations campaign, packaging, uniforms and more.

In working with retailer Five Below, Weiss noted branding took a low-price, convenience store for tweens and teens and created a concept that used store layout (divided into departments meant to focus on products the target customers cared about, such as electronics and bright colors) and unique wheelbarrow and oil drum merchandisers that suggested value while generating excitement. Five Below became a store that offered desirable, affordable merchandise while also providing a stimulating shopping experience, a cachet among young people that helped it grow into a chain with some 1,600 stores, Weiss said.

Listen to the audio from the presentation:

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