It is getting easier and easier to look through a brand in today’s age of transparency.

As P&G equity guru Matt Carcieri puts it “consumers are now looking beyond the brand (both consciously and unconsciously) to discern the values and intentionality of (their) owners”.

Some brands make it easy for people to quickly discover their purpose, while other brands don’t do so well here.  Life is Good, an apparel & accessories company out of Boston, pretty much wears its happy purpose on its sleeve…and gets results.  According to a 2006 Inc. magazine article, Life is Good is now an $80 Million business (probably more like $100 Million in 2009).

Life is Good is really a great brand story.  Apparently, LIG hasn’t used much (if any) conventional advertising to drive their business.  LIG founders (Bert & John Jacobs) have managed to stay quite unconventional and have bucked more conventional advice from business building “experts” who pushed them to grow & get big overnight.  Below are a couple of examples from an excellent Inc. article on LIG:

“People told us…”Don’t waste time distributing through mom-and-pops,” “Don’t locate your flagship store on Newbury Street,” “Do spend money on an advertising campaign.”

Bringing Back Mom & POP?

Interestingly, there is more to LIG than just clever purpose based brand building.  LIG is leveraging a new type of retail concept called Genuine Neighborhood Shoppes.  According to Inc.

A GNS is an independently owned and operated business that sells Life Is Good products and nothing else. GNS owners get some signage, a 10 percent discount on merchandise, a few exclusive products, and as much or as little help setting up stores as they desire. They pay no franchise fees, but they do agree to propagate the Life Is Good philanthropy model (more on that later) in their communities.

Through this Genuine Neighborhood concept, LIG is eschewing the cut and paste franchise approach and instead building a sort of mass customization retail model.  In effect, LIG is not only spreading happiness, they are also helping bring back mom & pop shops (I think?)

How to make Switzerland the happiest country in the world?

I feel like I might have missed some of the Life is Good cultural phenom magic while living in Switzerland over the last few years.  Granted, the Swiss are already pretty happy people (the 2nd happiest country in the world according to BusinessWeek), so they may not need as many reminders to smile from LIG.  BUT, if Life is Good does make a big splash Switzerland, maybe the cool smiling logo dude could propel the Swiss over the top and into the number 1 slot? Denmark beware!!!

Seriously, it will be very interesting to see how this plays out for them over the long term…let me know if you have comments or know more about these guys.  Again, I haven’t seen or heard much from them over here, so appreciate additional thoughts.

Hat tip to Matt Carcieri for the heads up on LIG

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]