Today’s culture is shaped by independent branding. Many millennials now have an entirely new way of creating empowerment and impact when it comes to conducting business. The approach of waiting for companies to hire them or to accept their ideas is dying away and is being replaced by a new and refreshing approach to marketing; creating a new brand and promoting themselves.
Those in the tech industry utilize snapchat and other social startups to create their brand’s presence online. Several online apparel companies utilize the Instagram platform to shape their brand and to keep the community up to date on their ventures and current affairs. On the brand-heavy site YouTube, entrepreneurs are making a huge impact on the entertainment industry from their own living rooms.
Power couple and YouTubers Samantha Maria and Jason Davis established a huge presence on YouTube, followed by the launch of their independent fashion collection Novem & Knight which has acquired nearly two million subscribers on YouTube. Blogging sensation Louise Pentland, or Sprinkle of Glitter as her viewers call her, actually teamed up with fellow fashion Love Culture. Pentland utilized her fan base to bring attention to not only her own fashion brand but to another smaller apparel brand as well.
These examples, as well as many others, show how these marketing platforms create an environment where diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, and corporate social responsibility all thrive under independent branding.
Entertainment and personality traits of today’s leaders are branding a new culture of consumerism. According to study.com, “‘Advertainment’ is an advertising strategy that appeals to the audience by engaging them using entertaining mediums, such as songs, movies, television, games and electronic communication.”
This is seen primarily in the music industry. When famed rapper Tech N9ne started his own music career, his style and sound went against what major music labels were looking for and putting out into the world.
Instead of continuing his search for a music label that would accept him, Tech N9ne did the next best thing, started his own label. Today, Tech N9ne’s music brand, “Strange Music” has numerous artists under its name, all with special and unique sounds that are now known around the world.
What happens when an individual, such as Tech N9ne, breaks the mold of name-brands and launches his own independent branding, a special creativity is able to come out and be shared. That’s because with an independent brand, the only rules come from the person or people that created that brand, not a virtually unknown CEO at a company.
This creative leeway makes for unique products that can be shared with the community and possibly even the world once a global audience can reached; by using social media, for example. Up and coming independent company Brandless is revolutionizing grocery shopping online by taking away the brand name entirely on its products. Brandless is a heavy user of Facebook to bring in followers and supporters. Consistent and well-timed posts that evoke dialogue and moves traffic to the Brandless site has brought over 100,000 followers on their Facebook page alone.
With the many options to produce and sell what you want to see in the world, it can even take away the power that high-end name brands have been holding over society for generations.
Name-brands tend to evoke the desire of wanting to be accepted and fit in. It provides a sense of connection with others that many crave. Collecting name-brands that others have as well can reinforce self-validation; that maybe you’re making the right decision because others have made that same decision.
That mentality is beginning to show signs of falling through the cracks of society nowadays. Near disdain can be detected in the consumer culture and big-brand mindset that it’s the name behind the product that matters, not the product itself. Independent branding is shedding light on how quality should and will make or break a company. And when an individual doesn’t like how a brand is doing something, instead of just biting the bullet and buying the product or just buying from another name entirely, that individual could just decide to create her own brand instead.
These entrepreneurial tendencies are being seen more and more today. Some of these independent brands are from big named people while others are from just another neighbor in the community.
Ike Shehadeh opened his independent brand and sandwich shop, Ike’s Place, in 2007. The motivation for this one of a kind sandwich eatery stemmed from Ike himself growing tired of the restaurant industry not putting the customer’s happiness first. That paved the way to the backbone of ike’s Place, it’s extensive and incredibly unique and customizable menu. This independent brand has grown immensely because of its near idyllic standpoint and now has locations all over California.
The biggest impact on consumer culture and independent branding, however, comes from millennials. Not only are the majority of independent brands and companies being led by millennials as previous generations are phasing out with retirement, those same millennials are mixing their branding together with a sense of corporate social responsibility and concern for the workplace environment.
Cone Communications says that 70% of millennials are willing to spend more with brands that support causes they care about.
Independent brands like sporting gear and backpack company Osprey Packs has shown great success with their high-performance apparel collection. The company is dedicated to limiting waste and its Colorado headquarters runs entirely on renewable energy. Osprey has been around and thriving for 20 years as an independent brand. The millennial generation especially has played a part in Osprey Packs’ success because of the independent brand’s dedication to making a difference in the world, even if it’s one backpack at a time.
The millennials are changing what’s important in society and consumer culture. With independent branding, there’s been more success and community impact than ever before. The ideal standards people have for brands now have switched gears. Major brand names that can’t get on board with these new standards by the consumer, are being replaced or pushed aside from independent branding.