How To: Create An Admired Brand Like Neptune Home
Last week, I shared how the hugely successfully British lifestyle brand, Neptune Home, went from selling hammocks to global interiors retailer. In my second article, I explored Neptune’s marketing strategy in the context of the 4 Ps. Today I’d like to focus on what makes Neptune such an admired brand, and how you draw inspiration for your own business, whatever industry or sector you are in.
First a quick reminder about how Neptune started life. Founded in 1996 by sailing friends John Sims-Hilditch and Giles Redman, Neptune’s very first product was a hammock, stitched at the kitchen table by John’s wife and Creative Director, Emma Sims-Hilditch. The company sold more than 5,500 hammocks in its first year and Harrods, the world’s most famous department store, became a stockist.
That simple hammock evolved into making mid-range garden furniture. And once the founders realised they needed evergreen product lines - homeware, furniture, and cabinetry – to overcome seasonal variations, a hugely successful British business. The company will shortly have 24 Neptune stores trading in the UK and Ireland, and has licensing and franchising agreements with partners in the UK and abroad, including Norway, Germany, France and the Netherlands.
This level of success was 21 years in the making, and started like our businesses from the kitchen table, as a tiny seed of an idea. Momentum came from having a very clear mission and vision from the outset to drive the strategic direction of the company.
The Neptune brand is synonymous with creating impeccably stylish, beautifully designed and crafted products with British town and country heritage at its core. And for giving homes a soul. Every aspect of the Neptune brand is intentional. From its design aesthetic to the way the company presents itself in writing and images to the company culture.
Neptune Home is an admired brand.
WHY ARE SOME BRANDS MORE ADMIRED THAN OTHERS?
Why customers admire one brand over another has been the subject of extensive research by C Whan Park, Deborah MacInnis and Andreas Eisingerich. They discovered that admired brands do three key things. Called the ‘3 E’s’ of brand admiration, admired brands ‘enable, entice and enrich’ the customer experience.
Let’s look at each of these ‘3 E’s’ of brand admiration in turn.
Enable – Admired brands are easy to buy from because they solve a customer’s problems simply, in a way that requires the least time and energy and generates minimal stress. Customers believe the company recognises and understands their individual constraints e.g. affordability or location. And they feel empowered when buying from the brand because they believe the company will act in their best interests. This builds trust.
Entice – Admired brands make the products and shopping experience attractive and tempting to the senses, heart and mind. Customers feel delighted, captivated, uplifted and entertained when they come into contact with the brand. This engenders a feel good factor which compels customers to explore the brand further. Customers don’t just like the brand. They love it.
Enrich – Admired brands make customers feel proud and good about themselves. When they shop with a brand they admire, customers feel like they’re acting in alignment with their values, dreams and aspirations. This in turn connects them to a community of other like-minded people who love the brand as much as they do too. This builds respect, and even reverence for the brand.
Of the ‘3 E’s,’ research has found that ‘enriching’ is the most important factor as it has a catalytic effect on the other two factors. The combination of the ‘3 E’s’ is potent and has the effect of elevating a brand above its competition.
It’s this combination of these three factors – enabling, enticing and enriching – which leads to brand admiration.
NEPTUNE AND THE 3 E'S
Neptune is highly skilled at applying the 3 E’s to all aspects of its business.
From an enablement perspective:
Service is a core value. Each store has its own in-house design team to help customers bring their vision to life effortlessly.They offer a free, two hour consultation service for their kitchen design service to help customers explore potential layouts and concepts, build a wish list and indicate rough costs and timescales.
The company aims to make browsing and shopping enjoyable by walking the reader through each room, style by style at a pace that’s calm. This helps the customers to envisage what the products could look like in their home.
The layout of the website and Directory are free from clutter and easy to navigate.
From an enticement perspective:
Stores are designed to make the customer feel instantly at home, and are laid out in a series of rooms. The in-store experience evokes a feeling of warmth and affordable luxury with the use of textures like linen, wool and cashmere.
Captivating photography across print and digital media shows customers how they can create the home and lifestyle they aspire to.
Articles written for the Neptune online journal tell stories about the brand. This article is one of a tthree-partseries which articulates how the company sees things from a different perspective.
And finally from an enrichment point of view, Neptune is an admired brand because it:
Shows customers how they can create the lifestyle they aspire to. Whether that’s a simple galley kitchen, ways to host an Easter lunch or a guest bedroom guide.
Stands for timeless family values, making the hearth a home while welcoming friends and family into the fold.
Is influenced by other great design aesthetics e.g. French, Scandinavian while retaining its classic British style.
If you’d like to know more about how to create an admired brand, this book Brand Admiration: Building A Business People Love is a great starting point.
Thank you as always for reading my articles. If there’s a brand you’d like me to write about, please do drop a note in the comments box below.
OVER TO YOU
Are you familiar with the Neptune brand? If so, what do you love about it? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to tell me in the comments box below.
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