Inside-out Branding - Start With The 'Why'

Inside-out Branding – Start With The ‘Why’

I recently had the great pleasure of working with a young start-up company on a brand/lifestyle video aimed at getting their company and their products some increased exposure. After a good friend had referred me to the company’s founder, we met for a coffee to talk about producing some videos and one thing became completely clear straight away: this company wasn’t ordinary.

North South Apparel produce great clothes sustainably and ethically. I knew this before I met its founder and so this wasn’t something new or even that exciting anymore – there are tonnes of companies out there that have jumped on the sustainability wagon (excuse my cynicism, but it’s true). What North South do differently is, not only use sustainable and recycled materials but personally ensure that their products are produced ethically and in facilities that use renewable energy sources such as wind and hydro. And on top of all that, they are affordable.

In a brilliant TED talk, Simon Sinek explains how great companies start with the ‘why’, not the ‘what’. Simon explains that companies that are able to remain innovative and inspiring are those that place their core values first and foremost, not their products. They define why they have set out to do something before determining how they are going to do it and what it will look like. North South has a mantra of “Sustainable. Ethical. Wearable”. The most important thing to them is not to produce great products that happen to be made from recycled wood pulp, but to ensure that their products are made sustainably and ethically throughout the production process without making the consumer pay above the odds. Their products just happen to be truly great products at the same time. 

During the production of their video, I worked closely with North South’s founder. It was crucial that these core brand values were conveyed clearly without shoving the message down the viewer’s throats; we didn’t want people to think that they were being preached to. The key message we wanted to communicate was the brand’s natural connection (as well as showing off the products). We were able to convey this through some great shoot locations, including the Dart River near Holne Bridge and Salcombe beach, Devon.

North South Apparel are only in their first year of business but are definitely set for great things. What drives this company, and ultimately what will allow it to remain innovative and unique, is its absolute commitment to its core values. In my opinion, it is this above all else, that makes a company great.

Harry Williams