Very much like an empire a brand is not built over night. Every stick, brick, swatch, stitch are all vital parts to build something great, over time. All the "smaller" parts are just as important as their larger counter-parts when it comes to constructing a brand. Furthermore, there are a plethora of aspects involved in brand building. Without planning there is no execution, without fabric selection there is no construction, and without sampling there is no final product. I hope you get the gist. Many outsiders to our industry don't understand that there is a process involved to get the product to them, which is fine. However, the purpose of this blog entry is to inform folks that there is a process and it must be both smooth and consistent in order to build a strong, lasting brand.
Exercising good habits is a part of the process and is also vital to success. Whether that be jotting down design concepts on a note pad or developing an effective marketing calendar, it's all connected to the success of your final product. When we first started FAZE, we would have loose deadlines that we would discuss amongst ourselves and not write down on a calendar. That was a bad habit. Ultimately, this would cause product releases, events, and marketing campaigns to be delayed because we were basically working with a tentative deadline. I couldn't tell you how many key dates we've missed because of it. My advice: create deadlines, develop a calendar, and abide by it. If you do this you'll succeed more than you'll fail in whatever it is you're trying to accomplish. But remember failure is not always a bad thing. Considering it a learning experience and use it to devise a plan to improve your process in the future. Just think, if our habits didn't fail us in the past, we wouldn't have been able to plot things out in our present and into the future.
Lining up our production calendar for an upcoming release
Choosing fabrics in order to start production on samples
Effective branding is made possible through consistency. Consistency, consistency, consistency...I can't stress that enough! It's almost like a form of OCD when I think about it. Like many others, we were trying to find our brand identity when we were starting off. We understood the essence of FAZE (Fearless And Zealous Everyday) but were trying to figure out the best way to convey it through our marketing and product design. Along this journey of finding our identity, there were many times we were inconsistent. Even our logo and the font we used for word mark varied from situation to situation. We had to get into the habit of being consistent in this area of our brand. Or else how would our supporters be able to identify us if our logo looked widely different from one design to the next? Not only should you be consistent in these areas but your brand voice, aesthetic, background story, and other aspects of your brand should be consistent as well. However, do not misconstrue consistency for staying the same. Your overall branding should continue to evolve but the root of it should remain consistent. I hope that makes sense.
Fearless Mentality and FAZE Mentality are common phrases that we use within our brand
Our mission statement can be seen in this woven tag. It conveys the essence of what we're trying to get across with FAZE.
The best way to gauge how much you've learned through your experiences is to teach someone else. The goal here is to figure the best way to get a process across in the most effective way. Plus, while doing so, you'll be able to really show the knowledge you've acquired over time. We've had interns over the course of running FAZE. Each of our interns had different interests within the company and different learning habits. As a brand, you must be receptive to this in order to be effective. Our goal as a host to these interns was never to give them the exact answer on how to do things but yet to give them the tools in order to be self-sufficient. It didn't matter if that meant that they would be self-sufficient while working for FAZE or running their own brand. The goal was to plant the seed and watch them cultivate it however they see fit. Strengthening the skills of those around you not only benefits them but also benefits you if at the very least through association. You will be able to strengthen your brand and strengthen your brand's goodwill in the process. Like the old African-American proverb states, each one teach one. In other words, teach your learned skills to others in order to strengthen the community as a whole. These are the many pieces of a brand.
FAZE co-founder, Herbert, teaching his daughter how to sew
Johnny FAZE going over some backend processes with intern, Jonah
Write-up by Johnny T.
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Check out some behind the scene photos of our discussion with O'Connell's fashion class by clicking below.