A parity category wrapped in a brand-less industry
The direct to consumer world has grown from a handful of brands to thousands in just a few years. They fill up our Instagram feeds and deplete our bank accounts with their clever wares but when they really want to scale, they find out really quick it’s hard to do without a compelling brand. And not only is Nectar a DTC brand, they’re also in a parity industry with very little differentiation.
It was time for us to grow Nectar up and out of this sea of lameness.
Building a brand, then the website
While the assignment was to build Nectar’s new website for Shopify Plus, we advocated for starting with strategy. Specifically positioning, a brand house and an overarching creative platform.
We started the proceedings with our brand workshop—a series of 6-8 exercises that dig into the brand’s goals, values, competition, personality and most importantly, their “why.”
How positioning becomes a platform
Through the brand workshop and positioning work, we uncovered two things:
1. Nectar makes glasses to see, rather than "be seen" in (and)
2. They are really proud of their East Coast roots
Add to this the trends we saw in our UX deep dive about millennials moving back home during the Pandemic and we had everything we needed to craft a creative platform called "Salt of the East."
We are the Salt of the East. Sorry Cali.
When you think about what separates folks on the East Coast from their westward counterparts, a few things come to mind: grit, determination, soulfulness and individuality. These people are the salt of the earth. But to fully convey Nectar and their buyer base is from here as well, we added a little twist, hence “East.”
Visual language. That isn’t just pretty.
Instead of adding to the faded, sun-drenched visuals of west coast sunglass brands, we developed a color palette that was distinctly East Coast. Darker and deeper hues, inspired by the Atlantic Ocean waters and the more historical architecture around here. Textures and typography that felt gritty and weathered and spoke to the seafaring history of this side of the country. Photography that felt more in the moment and less like a staged fashion show.
We even renamed all of their old frames, as well as their new high end ones: researching and carefully choosing East Coast destinations that relate to the style of the products themselves.
And we developed bespoke icons for each frame to further represent the locations they were named after.
Crafting a website that works, and looks, good
Okay, back to the assignment at hand. The website.
As alluded to before, we began this assignment digging into UX. Beyond performing user research and a comprehensive audit of all of Nectar’s competitors, we spent months developing wireframes in search of the best user experience. Our goal was to effectively drive shoppers through Shopify Plus, but also weave in storytelling and branding not seen before in this category.
Adding the finishing touches to a new beginning
We pride ourselves on being dedicated brand stewards for challenger brands. So beyond building the website, strategy and creative platform for Nectar, we provided a robust set of brand guidelines for their internal team to follow and get inspired by. As an added bonus, we also shot and retouched almost all of their products for the website.
So now if you ever see a pair in the wild, you’ll know a whole lot went into getting it there.