One of the companies I admire is Threadless, a T-shirt company that harnesses the creativity and community of talented artists to make and sell T-shirts by the truckload. Now a decade old, the company is stronger than ever. In the last ten years, a definite brand has been built at Threadless. Reading this interview with founder Jake Nickell, it’s easy to see why:
- Community – As Nickell says, the community grew itself, and as it did, the company grew, too. All Threadless did was provide a space for the community to gather and talk about and do work it was passionate about. Does your company allow its fans and customers to gather, discuss, and create? Nickell advises: “The biggest thing I would suggest is to not look at crowdsourcing as a way to outsource your work to a crowd but more a way to help a talented group of people find productive, fun and fruitful things to do with their talents.”
- Communication – Using the best tools to communicate with an audience is smart business, and Threadless reaches out to its 1.5M Twitter followers to share announcements, ask questions, and listen. As Nickell points out, it’s not necessarily the medium, but rather, the message. Who is your brand talking to? And how?
- Voice – Brands have a definite voice. Figuring out your organization’s voice will help it become a brand much more quickly and easily than if it remains stoic, inanimate, and “professional.” Says Nickell, “If we spoke really stiff it would come across fake and with a community based business that just doesn’t work.”
If you’re looking to become a brand, it’s important to follow the Threadless forumla of community, communication, and voice. It’s worth spending an hour today in the boardroom to define these words for your company, especially if you want to develop a following of passionate people, which is a must for any brand.
(Image credit swaksalot on Flickr)