How A Strong Brand Identity Improves Marketing

Building Brands Ep 13 Josh Taylor How A Strong Brand Identity Improves Marketing

Josh Taylor, Brand Director at SIXINCH USA talks about the importance of a unified brand strategy through a well defined brand identity that utilizes consistent visual styles, a unique brand persona, cultural outreach, and voice & tone. We also go into how these elements collectively contribute to building long-term brand loyalty and aid in ongoing marketing strategies.

Episode Links
Find Josh on LinkedIn
Visit SIXINCHUSA Online

Episode Transcript
Tim
Welcome Building Brands listeners. For our 13th episode, I’m joined by Josh Taylor, Brand Director for SIXINCH USA. SIXINCH is a contract furniture manufacturer that makes furniture that’s more than just something you sit on. It’s an experience, music, art, culture and charity are what SIXINCH is all about. Definitely not your typical contract furniture company. In this episode, we talk about the importance of a unified brand strategy through a well defined brand identity that utilizes consistent visual styles or unique brand persona, cultural outreach and voice and tone. We also go into how these elements collectively contribute to building long term brand loyalty and aid and ongoing marketing strategies. Enjoy the episode.

Tim
If you’re an owner or marketer in the building materials, manufacturing, distribution or contracting spaces, looking to set up your brand for success now and in the future. This is the podcast for you. on this show, we talk about brand and market strategies used in the real world that grow companies and truly Connect with consumer audiences. So sit back, listen in and let’s get to it. Okay, welcome Josh Taylor from SIXINCH USA, the Brand Director at that company. Thanks for coming on the episode and Joining me to talk a little bit about brand design and brand identity strategy.

Josh
Hey, thanks for having me.

Tim
You bet. I always start with the easiest question to get us into the conversation and give people a little bit of information about who you are where you came from, and and what you know on the topic, so why don’t you give us a little bit of background on how you got into creative and even how you find yourself in the building product space with SIXINCH.

Josh
Sure so I got into creative basically because I found everything else boring and I had to do I had to do something I had you know all these thoughts and unique things in my head that I did not express any other way but to be creative. Well then, you know long story short, you try to figure out okay, what am I good at and creative because creativity Such a broad term. So I I got into radio and TV as a young lad. And I did, I did pretty well in TV. I was started off in like local television production, the studio, you know, the news, I worked the the studio cameras in high school. And then I did studio, or I did news photography on the field with the reporting with the reporters for about three to four years. And then, you know, that was exciting. But it’s kind of the same stuff over and over and over, you know, there’s only so many car accidents and, and, you know, stuff like that, that you can film it just gets repetitive. And when you’re a creative, being repetitive, kind of gets old real fast. So, I had the opportunity to go into a more creative role doing local TV, commercial production, and I did that for a few years. It was fun, but even with that, it’s you know, again, Everything starts to kind of regurgitate you do the same, you know, locally owned and operated since 1955. x bakery has, you know, sounds like Alright, this is

Tim
you don’t have positioning, it’s crying. Have you been around? We’ll just go back on that.

Josh
Right. Right. So I did that for a few years. And then I got into station promotion. That was fun. I did that for a handful years. And in total, I think I worked in television for about 16 years. But you know, no matter if you’re promoting news anchors, or you’re promoting local businesses, I wanted my I kind of wanted my own brand. I didn’t feel like the you know, this was someone else’s brand that at the end of the day, they really paying customer and you kind of you just did whatever they wanted to do, you know, you try to advise them like, Hey, you know, I don’t think having your three year old grandson say this, you know, four paragraph line and the commercials really gonna benefit you, you know, people aren’t gonna understand, but at the end of the day, right, they were paying the bill there. The customer and the customer is always right. So I remember this, you know, my whole, I’ve been married for 14 years. And as long as my, as I was married, my wife has no need to be in TV. And so I remember going around saying, hey, I’ve got a friend reaching out from an outdoor furniture company. That time is called, it’s Hollywood. And I said, I don’t know anything about furniture, but it’s a local company. They’re huge and make out, you know, recycled Adirondacks and tables out of recycled milk jugs. And it’s a really cool story. And she was like, well, you’re just gonna up and leave everything you’ve done in the last 1516 years. I said, Uh, yeah, I think so. Class. Right, right. No, yeah, we’ll figure it out. Right, just jump in. So I did that I jumped in, and it was great. And I worked at Hollywood as the marketing director for about a year. And then I had a guy reach out who used to work at Hollywood. Who is am I parent company who wasn’t my parent company, we went designed that he said, hey, we’ve got this cool brand that we’re really trying to grow. We really need some leadership. Can you come and give us a hand? And I was like, Well, I don’t know. You know, I’m just getting started in the furniture. I’m still trying to learn Hollywood at that time. He was like, well, we’ll take a look at what they do. So he sent me the link to SIXINCH’s website, kind of check them out. And I was like, Oh my gosh, you know, a I never heard of contract furniture before in my life. You know, it was all TV media. That’s all I knew. And all sudden, I was working in furniture, and now I’m getting into contract furniture and like, so I go home, my wife again, I’m like, I’m gonna make another change. And she’s like, what are you doing? What are you what are you talking about? You’re crazy. Like, no, no, I think it’s gonna be cool. It’s gonna be real cool. It’s contract furniture. You know, they make furniture that’s really expensive. You know, not ash, Ashley furniture, whatever. It’s, you know, really expensive furniture that’s durable. She’s like, Yeah, I don’t get it. But you know, whatever. If you feel that strongly, then just And so jumped in and I’ve been with SIXINCH for four years going on five now.

Tim
Yeah. And why don’t you tell us a little bit more about SIXINCH they are a foreign company. They have come since come over in North America in the US and Mexican markets. You work with the US branch of the company. So who were Who are they typically working with? And how are you trying to position the company in the US for this type of market? Sure, sure. The company bread and butter globally is what we call flex plus coated foam. And it’s a polyurethane coated foam piece of furniture. It’s really cool. It’s indoor outdoor rated, UV protected. It’s a three layer process. It’s really cool stuff. So when my parent company back in 2013

Josh
was looking to kind of diversify because my parent company does OEM manufacturing for other brands, which is fun, but again, you don’t own the brand. You’re just making people tell you Make, so they wanted to diversify and find their own way into the channel. And so they connected with Peter and Michelle, who were the founders of SIXINCH over in Belgium, around 2012. And we we got licensing and rights to sell in the United States and Mexico at that time, back in 2013. So it was really cool contract furniture took to it. And that’s the one thing that’s unique about North America is contract furniture because most other countries don’t really have it, or it’s not structured the way that it is here. Contract furniture in a nutshell is just basically really good dependable furniture that comes with long warranties, extra excellent customer service, stuff like that. Whereas, you know, they’re not these companies apples and Google’s and anyone that’s building an environment isn’t gonna go to Amazon and buy their furniture. They’re going to use furniture dealers, because they need to know hey, when something’s up, they go to them. They get it replaced. Well, the furniture dealers buy from manufacturers like SIXINCH. So that was the one thing that’s different about our brand is coated furnitures. Very, very cool, very unique. But the contract furniture industry industry in North America is totally different than anywhere you know, than any other brand of SIXINCH. The coated foam does really well for all the other brands. And it does us too. But it’s it’s you’ve got to be more to this industry besides coated foam. And we’ll talk about that a little bit later of kind of how we’re looking to kind of expand the portfolio. But it’s cool because having this coded foam is like a huge differentiator for you all to all the other contract furniture manufacturers in this in contract furniture. So it’s kind of opened a lot of doors for us and now it’s allowing us to add upholstered pieces, occasional tables, stuff like that. So we have a well rounded portfolio and stuff that Unique that just our brand that no one else has. Because a lot of people, you know, everyone has midscale seating and they have occasional tables and they have sofas and lounges. So we’re allowed now to add stuff that’s I guess, normal in the industry along with all of our cool, flex plus coated products. So it’s really, it’s really a fun brand to market. Because we get the perks of the coated foam that open every door. Everyone’s like, what does that snake look and couch. So we’re, you know, it’s just it’s easy to kind of build upon that. And the last three years, we kind of restructured the team and three years last three years, we’ve just been focused on certain what does that portfolio need to look like and and how do we scale to the next level?

Tim
Yeah, you get a little bit of an advantage when you have a product, especially that’s coming into a brand new market that actually is a unique product that does open up the door so you can actually get into some of the more higher volume categories that are somewhat below or maybe it’s a lower price point or just more of a common product. But yeah, that’s the that’s the big red door that you can get everyone to walk through. Or the the red dress in the window is some people have put it before on this podcast like, yeah, that thing is super cool, really damn expensive. But look at all these other cool things they have. So I’m still gonna talk about them. And yet one way or another, we’re gonna get some SIXINCH stuff. And that’s like, I think a lot of times people forget that, you know, we’re going to talk a lot about brand identity, which is very important for getting attention and having the right presentation. But you know, product innovation, and getting things that pique people’s interest, especially if they’re unique is still part of the equation for getting people into the door. And sometimes, companies rest on their laurels because they’ve done things a certain way for so long, and they’ve sold them and people still need them. But you know, that new product innovation really helps. So that’s definitely a nice way to enter a new market. So you talked about brand. We’re going to talk about brand a lot. So before we get into that, one question I like to ask especially when we talk about brand is how you define it because everyone has a little bit of a different definition. And I don’t think There’s any necessarily wrong definitions, just the more definitions we get, the better we’ll understand it. So what’s your definition of brand?

Josh
My definition and the one I always end up going to is an experience. It’s a feeling. It’s an emotion that you get, when you see either the logo or you see a product, you know, how does it make you feel? And that’s, that’s what I really like to hear our branding around. Because as we’ll dive into a little bit, our industry is so unique, and it’s very hard to pinpoint a certain persona that you’re, you know, you’re really trying to target I mean, we have a, it’s a little we have a generic one, but you know, we’re trying to bring a bunch of different people together for a brand and, and you know, you’ve got different different views on life, different cultures different and so we really, it really comes down to no matter you know, when you brush everything away, how do they feel About the furniture and when they see it and what it you know, or they see the logo and they associated with a space or any event, how did they feel? What is their their first reaction and we always want it to be positive we want it to be. Oh my gosh, did you see that? Or Oh, did you? Do you remember when, you know we were here and we sat on that sofa? Yeah, that was really cool. So it’s all about the feeling the emotional connection? I would say that’s how we really define branding. At least, I’d say holistically in anything I do but especially with furniture because it’s all about that feel that sense that comfort?

Tim
Yeah, I mean, there’s so much that contributes to it you know, what you’re talking about is that perfect end result where the identity contributes to it the product quality contributes to it the history of the company and ownership, the values of the company all kind of come together and give you that feeling that gives you that loyalty and and familiarity that gets that excitement pumped up. Yep, correct time. So how you Tell us a little bit about the SIXINCH vibe. You know, you seems like you know, I’ve only known about SIXINCH since I started reaching out to you and looking into it. And you know, it definitely has a certain vibe to it. I feel like it reflects you as a person a little bit as the one that’s running some angles. So tell us a little bit about that and how you are using it to engage your audiences and attract the right people.

Josh
Sure, sure. And I think I said in the email to you respectfully at Yeah,

Tim
yeah, some Post Malone stuff. Yeah.

Josh
Because the brand itself is a little edgy. But you know, in different markets. I think you can be edgier, you have the freedom to be a little bit more edgier, a little bit more risque stuff, along those lines in North America, you can push it, but you got to still keep it tasteful. I like to think that we are very risk. We respect many different views. So when we’re coming up with concepts and ways to approach marketing a product, you know, throw everything out On the table, and then we kind of use those guidelines as Okay, we’re going to be edgy, but we’re not. We’re not here to kick anyone off. So how do we meet in the middle? And that’s kind of just been our approach. And that’s worked really well. There’s, you know, being a creative, you always there’s times where you’ll have something in your head, you’re like, Oh my gosh, this is gonna be perfect. And you do it. Or you almost do it, you’re like, Well, I’m glad I didn’t do that, because that was pushing it too far. And, you know, that’s, that’s one thing about a global brand. And the thing that’s kind of hard to control so we can only you know, the internet, you can’t control what people find. And if your other partners or in their territories are more edgy, you know, it can kind of you can get a little backlash at times. So that’s why we’ve really tried to differentiate with our our look, our message, our colors, just so that way if people come across something, it’s easy. It’s easy to say hey, Yeah, you know the brand, you know the brands edgy. I mean, heck the name SIXINCH, you know, can go places sometimes really quick. But this is what we’re doing in the US. That’s what other people will doing and just kind of leave it at that. Because we don’t you know, we’re here to shock the world but not piss it off, I guess is a good way to say that. Yeah. And the furniture itself, does it if you show again, I I’ll bring up cliffy probably a million times over the beast. It’s a snake looking couch. That’s foam glued up. I mean, it’s so cool. All you have to do to show a photo and people are just going to start drooling and asking questions. So it doesn’t take a lot. Do you think that

Tim
the the European influence gives you a little bit more license to do that with the design and the colors and everything?

Josh
Yeah, they definitely set it up. They set the baseline up for us to grow upon for sure. They definitely like to get a little bit more. They like show a bit more skin and some other stuff. We try to keep it you know, pull it back just a little bit but at the end of the day You know, we use their foundation and, you know, the European influence. And then our approach here in the states and kind of just like I said, find that happy medium. And so far, it’s been really, really good. I think we’ve been able to push the boundaries of what contract for insurance used to seeing in advertising, but not to the point that it pushes anyone away. I think all of the stories that we tell are very welcoming, and I think it allows anyone to come in and be a fan, you don’t necessarily even have to work in contract furniture to be a fan of, of what we’re doing. Heck, the big show that we have every year is Nia con in Chicago, and this year because of COVID. It was shut down. So we just did our last email blast and did a friend’s TV show theme because every friends episode is called the one where and so we just called it Nia con the one that never happened and we use some of the frames from the French show but our furniture in it. So just stuff like that. You know, you start bringing people along, even if they’re not in the contract furniture, they just like cool, creative, fun, unique ways of advertising and marketing. So you just make fans that way, just by doing you unique little things like that.

Tim
Yeah. And then you know, you’re talking about the colors in the, in the design and everything being a little edgy too, in order to actually present the edginess, you’re also using that and some of your copy, you know, your, your, your tone that you’re doing is not so much formal and serious, you’re a little bit more loose, casual and, and you touch the edge a little bit to like push the boundaries and some of your relationships that you have with people bring in that type of culture to, you know, because it’s not just about having the uniform types of pictures and the colors and the right logo set up. It’s also how are you surrounding that with the How are you bringing the values and all that into the copy so that people actually can connect with what you’re presenting to them.

Josh
Right and that’s the one thing when I got here Kind of retool the team. The one thing I made clear was, we’re not just going to be like every other contract furniture manufacturer as far as advertising and marketing, we’re going to be different. But we’re also going to expand outside of our channel. Because I think the best thing to do for brand awareness is to own your market, but also dabble in other markets and bring people along in the journey. Because just because someone’s not in contract furniture doesn’t mean they can’t be a fan of the brand. I mean, they can go on Pinterest and save our stuff and share our furniture. Say, Hey, check out this couch, or they can wear our T shirts or swag or hats, whatever. And so we really I mean, I’m, I don’t even know what you would call this but I guess Instagrams stalker in a way, as far as finding people that I like artists, musicians, it doesn’t matter. And reaching out to them and just saying, Hey, this is what we do. Here’s how I see A cool partnership that we could brand together. Here’s the marketing alcohol. I’m the king of mock ups to I’ll mock stuff up, left and right, because I think it’s a good way to bring people along. And so that’s how, you know, Aaron trapline came along. We started doing printed vinyl printed textiles. And I said, Oh my gosh, if we had Aaron trapline simplistic designs on these Ottomans, it would be epic. So we, we mocked it up. I went on Instagram said, Hey, Aaron, you know, here’s who I am. Here’s the brand. What do you think? And sure enough, he reached back out and had COVID not hit. We were just getting ready to do a limited run 75 Ottomans that he had signed, we were gonna sell them on our website. Yeah, it was gonna be really, really cool. So it’s gonna be a direct to consumer thing that our brand has never done before. We don’t sell their consumer. You know, we usually sell to a furniture dealer who then puts their services In sales to the end consumer. So this was going to be our way to start to kind of branch out and do unique things. But you know, doing, keeping the voice very unique, and having the portfolio that we do, you know, also attracted the Machine Gun Kelly. And so he’s opening a coffee bar, which again, would have been open by now. And he said, you know, love the brand, we need to have this furniture in the club. So literally spent two years working with him and his team, a bunch of great individuals. And they we custom made in Wall seating units for them. We’ve got some tiered seating, we’ve got tables and chairs. And it turned out really, really cool. And it’s a cool experience to work with the end end consumer, but it’s going to be even better when that marketing comes back. And he talks about our brand. You know, it’s a whole different to music channel, talking about SIXINCH furniture contract, and then you’ve got Aaron trapline Who’s gonna talk about us who’s in graphic design. So you’re touching all these people that necessarily aren’t in your channel, but don’t have to be you don’t have to have brand awareness and brand love and brand loyalty. You just have to be real. You just have to be you. And people will come along in the journey. I mean, if you’re, you know, if you’re not touting fakeness, if you are, who you are, and your products legit, and you have an honest story, and people will see that and they’ll come along with you.

Tim
Yeah, I mean, it’s definitely it builds up that persona of the brand too, right? It’s the association with these types of people like this is these are circles that we run in. This is the type of inspiration that we draw from. It’s very exciting, the product is great, check us out kind of thing. And that’s like, you know, that’s totally the strategy side, you know, like, these are all the intangibles that you’re doing around the presentation so that when someone does come across SIXINCH in an ad or content piece or or Just seeing the product out in the wild, that presentation and identity associated with it starts to trigger those memories of the Aaron trapline project or being at the machine gun, Kelly cafe or whatever it is that partnership and experience that you’ve created for them. And you know, that’s really how you take that identity and persona and put it out into the world so that people can be a part of it.

Josh
Correct. Yep.

Tim
So let’s talk a little bit more about some of the nuts and bolts stuff, which is the actual brand identity, you know, there’s what we talked about from a strategy perspective. So you can’t even get to some of that until you actually nail down the nuts and bolts of having a unified like style guide and all the right pieces to play with just from putting things together. So you know, sometimes a lot of there’s a misconception This is why I always ask the brand question at the beginning, which I’m glad I’m getting so many definitions on to get people exposed to a lot of people think the brand is like I’m gonna go have someone design a brand for me. What they’re really saying is I need someone to design a logo for me. And then if they’re even thinking of the color palette, so, right, so we’ve talked a lot about how the brand is going to get executed and strategies and pulling in that culture. From an identity standpoint, why is it so important just to have those nuts and bolts defined and ready to go so that you can make that next leap?

Josh
I mean, it’s, it’s your foundation, it’s your structure. You know, I’ve worked for companies that are loose with that. And ads and visuals start to look different depending on who makes it or when it’s made or the mood that someone’s making it. So having that structure and that foundation is is key. And it’s even, I believe in it so much that like I said, when I restructured I actually brought in a guy named Ryan Williams to be the art director who used to work in an ad agency for 12 plus years because I know how important it is to have someone who owns that. Sometimes it’s just a document. But it’s, it’s even better when it’s someone employed that owns it. Because then you run everything through them. You ask them, you know, obviously, you’ve had your meetings before and you as a team, you set the path, you set your foundation, but you let them be the guardian. You Let Them own it, you let them keep that consistency, where you’ve decided it needs to be. And it just keeps everything in check. And you never question Oh, should should I do this the logo, should I put the logo here, you already know where it’s going. And if you don’t know, you ask, and it just so that way, when people are seeing your ads, and they’re seeing your content, everything has the same look. So as you bring them along and they become fat fans, and they like your product, nothing they don’t ever see something and go is that SIXINCH, they know they know it’s SIXINCH because you’re consistent with how you do things. colors that you use the fonts that you use. And what’s kind of cool now is, so I inherited three years of a brand that was basically just taking everything from what the Belgians did. Okay? their color palettes. They wanted us to use their website we kind of made our own at that time. And so, but we really weren’t trying to differentiate for our market. We were still trying to be what they knew of the brand in North America. And it just wasn’t working. So we had to like basically start over. So we started over and we didn’t start with the logo. We left the logo alone. But we did make it clear. Okay, the the blue, the black, the white, the gray, those were going to be our primary colors in North America. We pitched it to Michelle to have you know Japan. Anyway, India have their own color palette, still have some of the main colors Like global colors, but you know individualize with two or three that separated. So when you did stuff you could tell that it was a certain territory. And so we did that and we came up with a new website, lockdown Proxima Nova as our fonts, little things like that, and we did that for up until this point. Well, Ryan and I have been working on Michel in Belgium, to let us kind of retool the entire brand still using some of the core stuff that we started with. But modernizing the logo, so the logo behind me As you can see, it’s a little old fashioned. We’ve cleaned that up, brightened our colors a little bit. We’re still using a blue but it’s more of a neon blue. We added more of a bold yellow. We still have black, white. And then, you know, we encourage Michelle to take this brand guidelines over and talk with the other territory. as well about kind of following our suit. And I think that’s going really well. I mean, we’re trying to clean up social media, because I think that’s a part of this as well. The icon should, you know, with those with that color concept in mind, you know, if you see blue or you see gold, that’s North America, and it’s like a yellowish gold. If you see Japan, it’s red and white, if you see so, so that way people could start to differentiate a little bit, but, but it all still ties together. Oh, exactly. And that’s why Yes, that’s what’s kind of tricky. When you have a global brand, and you’re not the owner of it. You’re trying to inspire the owner of that brand to make a change, you know, globally. And again, it’s done with mocking stuff up and just kind of bringing them along. But yeah, I mean, having having your fonts, having, you know, the voice in which like, you talked about how we speak to people, and I still think it’s an evolution I don’t think you can ever be complacent with what you do. I think you should always learn you should go back and reread And and read it from a you know, visit it as like a consumer, how would they see it? Do they do you connect as a consumer because if you don’t connect, well then you’re missing something because at the end of the day, that’s who’s going to make a decision as a consumer, either it’s an architect or designer or an end consumer, you have to be able to relate to it. So that’s why marketing copy is very key. I think, in that it’s just if you talk if it’s if it’s not, I don’t know I’m a big fan of conversational talk. And so if you start to get too systematic and wordy, it’s just you lose you lose the connection, I think so just keeping it you know, nice and easy to the point. And here’s what the product is, I think is key so you you have the the verbiage you have the fonts and you have the colors as a foundation and you just build off of it and you stick to it.

Tim
Yeah, look at especially with what you’re doing with profit. You know, product photography itself has a specific style. I mean, look at the brands like apple, you can look at a product photo of an Apple product without any Apple logos, the name of the product, you know, oh, that’s something that Apple made. Microsoft’s getting there. But you could tell which brands know how to do that. And all that stuff contributes to what you were talking about earlier, which is building that that comfort level and loyalty with people that may even not not even be customers. But people that love seeing things from the brand. If they’re getting presented, inspiring content, and they’re in a creative field, well, that’s still someone that’s a brand loyalists, they might share your stuff to someone further down the line that actually might need that and you’ve just reached another touch point with someone but you hit them over and over and over with the same consistent visuals consistent message consistent tone, and they become like a connection of yours like they connect to the brand and that’s what makes them want to come back for more. So when you do things like have special promotions where you bring in artists You have virtual events because you can’t have in person events or you’re having in person events, they’re like, Damn, I gotta get there like that is, that’s something I want to be a part of, because it’s just cool and the people associate themselves with that are cool, but that consistency is what builds that loyalty. You can’t just do scattershot design and brand presentation, you’ll just it’s to schizo phrenic.

Josh
Right. Right. And and then it comes down to, okay, so your visuals convey a story. But what what happens, you know, like you said, when you have events, and it’s the people behind the curtain, get out there, that’s just as important and it comes down to just how they relate to people because a face in public is just as you know, just as equal as what you’re doing behind you know, with with ads and all that you’ve got to have the people on the streets or the people talking about your brand in public, you know, speaking and having the same kind of vibe that you’re trying to portray otherwise it does you an injustice, it does. If the people out there aren’t relatable like you want your brand to be, it just does this. It really does. So that’s one thing we focus on too when we’re hiring. And when we were building the team, if any of us, just Ryan, Josh or myself, are out in public, we are the brand we all we all. It’s not, you know, necessarily drinking the Kool Aid, but it is because it’s natural. It’s what the brain how the brain is conveyed is how we would talk about it to anyone in on the streets…

Tim
That’s that authenticity.

Josh
Yep, exactly.

Tim
And you mentioned something also earlier, when you were talking about having all your ducks in a row from, where’s the logo going to go kind of standpoint, not only does that help you know what you’re going to do, but it also makes it can shift your conversations about creative from the basic stuff that you shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel on every single time. Like here’s how we do our logo placements. Here’s the type of photo that we use. Here’s our The layouts that we use for graphics and atmospherics and the creative that we’re doing, you don’t have to have that conversation, people are going to assume that you’re going to go that direction where you can focus on is, who is this reaching out to? What’s the messaging going to be on it? And what are we putting in this which is more of a productive conversation and can move creative quicker off the bat too. So when you get to something like mockups or storyboards, you don’t have to focus on like, where the logo is going to go, or what colors we’re going to use, what the tagline is, maybe even it’s let’s get, let’s talk about the pieces we need, how we’re going to apply this to get the right messaging and call to action in there and I’m gonna mock that up and we can move that conversation quicker. I mean, that saves time and money and contributes to the consistency that you need from an end output to Yep, totally agree from a from a brand standpoint overall, how you know, you’re working, you’ve been working building products for I think you said like four or five years now since you’ve gone through a couple of your first company to SIXINCH.

Josh
Yep.

Tim
So you’ve seen what the what the risks And changes in the industry about how do you think the billing products industry is going to shift in the next 10 years? And how might brand identity contribute to that?

Josh
Yeah, that’s it was, it was always kind of a tricky question in contract furniture up until COVID. It was always kind of that soft resume mercial, you would hear that term a lot. But then COVID hit, and now everything, there’s a lot of knee jerk reaction, things, you know, being made and put out. and rightfully so. Right. You’re, you’re trying to understand and help people get back to the office. So you’re seeing a lot of screens, a lot of separation. A lot of companies have had to go in and move desks around. benching was real big before COVID, which is, you know, kind of a long workstation and you had people kind of pretty close together. Well, that’s kind of going away right now. You know, it’s how it’s how it’s gonna shape up. It’s, it’s kinda hard to tell right now, I don’t think home, working from home is going to go away anytime soon. I think people are proving that certain jobs can be done from home, I think companies are going to start investing a little bit more, or allocating a little bit more budget to furnishing home offices, whether it be you know, printers, computers, monitors, maybe a nice task seat and a desk for their employees. So I don’t think that’s going away anytime soon. I think that’ll have a nice little ramp up. But I don’t think the commercial softness is going to go away in the office, wherever wherever the office may be, or however that may look. I think it’s going to actually bolster it because when people are working at home, they’re used to certain comfort levels, and looks and feels. And when they come into the office, let’s say maybe their schedule is they come in once a week or something for their meeting day or whatever, and then they are collaboration and then they go back to The rest of the week, they’re still, they’re still gonna like that feel. And so it was hot going into it. So I don’t think softness is going to go away plush materials, overstuffed pieces of furniture, lounge furniture. I don’t think people will be crammed together like they used to be obviously, but I think that that’ll still be there. Um, I think you’ll see a lot more touch list items. That’s more, I think in the tech world, you know, touch lists, ways to enter a room or to book a room for conferences. I think you know, with all the sneeze guards that are being installed now as I like to call them the plastic, or the resin or whatever, those those will be hanging around for a while. But you know, I think it’s mainly just working from home flexibility and flexibility is how things are going to change that how that kind of shapes the office and how we work. still yet to be kind of worked through, but flexibility is, is how I see the future.

Tim
Hopefully, we get to a point where there’s a vaccine and more therapeutic treatments, things like that, right. So even if it’s three years down the road or whatever, offices might shrink, but they might have to also recreate some of the amenities that you have at home. And you know, they may not have dedicated workspaces, they might have open workspaces. Instead of people having desktops that might be all have laptops. So you’re going to, at least in this contract furniture industry, you might see a shift from some of that traditional cubicle bulk order stuff into more of what you know, the Googles and apples and Facebook’s have done in the last 10 years or so, where you make adaptable workspaces for people that can come in and come out where they might be working two days in the office three days in the office, or someone might just like being in the office five days a week, but you give them the flexibility, like you’re saying to figure that out on their own, and the types of furniture and setups that you’re going to have in there from community spaces, meeting spaces and dividual, soundproof spaces, they’re all going to shift even for a smaller office if you have 40% of your work force work from home, so, you know, you’re gonna have to make people buy into the vibe that someone like SIXINCH provides that we can reinvigorate this workspace that people might be scared to go back into or might only want to go into occasionally, but they want to feel just as comfortable as they are at home. So you build up the brand, the feeling, the loyalty and all that stuff. And hopefully, when that point hits, you’re there to greet them at the door and say, welcome. You’re finally here.

Josh
Right. Right. Yeah. And then also, you know, that’s kind of where we’re looking at to improve the brand in United States and contract furniture is the portfolio. Like I said, you know, we inherited a foam coated, very unique, high cost, high labor intensive pieces of furniture and we In order to really be successful in contract furniture, you’ve got to have, you know, traditional style pieces of guests and dining chairs, midscale delight scale lounge, heavy scale lounge, modular units. And so that’s where we’ve been shifting our focus. You know, and that’ll translate then as people, you know, build out these offices, they won’t just have you know, some of these Alec Hart you know, very extravagant pieces of to pick from, they’ll have, they’ll have that, but they’ll also have kind of your ordinary pieces of furniture. Now, I say ordinary because even if it’s an ordinary chair, we always try to put some little unique twist to it, because that’s what’s cool about SIXINCH. If you want to go find ordinary chairs, there’s, you know, tons of brands that sell chairs that all look similar. So anything that we introduce, we try to have some kind of unique twist to it. So yeah, so when people return the office, you know what we’ve been been heavily focused on especially once COVID head, we’re just really looking at new product development and really ramping stuff up is how to how to build our portfolio to work with and, you know, really any range of budget, any range of look that you’re looking to do, because just because we show something that’s over the top, if you put it in a basic textile, it can look as normal as anything else. So it’s the flexibility of our brand. Just bolstering it with product is really what’s going to set us is really going to pave the way for the future for this brand here in the United States.

Tim
Cool when it comes to brand identity. What’s if you had to wrap it up on one thing, what’s the what’s one critical thing that everyone should make sure to do for their brand identity right now? Let’s see.

Josh
I guess Don’t forget the little things, is what I would say. You know, so stuff as simple as customer service. You know, the thank yous the if you’re sending out An email, make sure it’s not cold. Let it have some warmth to it, let it have some personality. If you’re sending out, you know, a package, take time to write a handwritten note. Things like that, I think make or break a brand have a drastic impact I should say on a brand. But you know, then everything else that we talked about, you know, having your fonts decided having your your color palettes decided, those are key. Those should be your foundation, your brand voice should always be a foundation. But don’t forget the little things. Because at the end of the day, especially now with everything that’s going on, wipe it all away. And it’s little things that just help people you know, just deal with life life. Life can not be fun sometimes, right? And you know, everyone has their good days and bad days, and you never know what someone’s going to go through. So You know, if you take the time to handwrite a know, or to just call someone or check it, just text them, you know, we have really good, we use reps that help sell our furniture, and we’ll just randomly reach out to them and see how they’re doing. And it’s not about Hey, how are you selling? It’s about how are you doing personally. And it’s the little things like that, I think that people really like about our brand, because it’s genuine and it’s real. And I think the more sales start to come in, and the more you build your team, and the bigger you get, you forget about those things. And that’s what you know, if you can keep your core with the motto of you know, just remember the little things or the little things matter, however you want to put it. You’ll feel it’ll set you up for success.

Tim
Yeah, the brand identity has to have a personality you can’t have a personality without the details. And you mentioned earlier you know, you may have core elements of the visuals but it’s okay to assess the the personality, the voice and things over time as societies shift and your products shift and your audience’s shift, so, you know, redressing those, but always making sure that you’re paying attention to the details helps. Oh, yeah. Is there anything that we haven’t touched on that you want to get out before we wrap it up?

Josh
No, I think we hit on a lot of good stuff.

Tim
Cool. Before we wrap up, why don’t you let everyone know a little bit about where they can find you. And some more info on the SIXINCH USA division?

Josh
Yeah, so Josh Taylor on LinkedIn parentheses, JT, you’ll find me my smiling face. And the brand is at SIXINCHUSA on Instagram. And it’s sixinchusa.com new website will be up early July. So that’s exciting. Yeah, right now my domain just goes to our old domain but SIXINCH USA and the new website will be up in July. So it’s a I like to say we’ve moved tchard in a, in a creative way, because we’re never going to lose that edge. But we have we have found a nice little happy medium from super bright colors kind of childish looking almost to a mature level of quirkiness. Yeah, I would say so. Yeah. Feel free to reach out and you know, we’re always willing The nice thing about the brand too, is we we focus heavily on customizing to we do a lot of custom work, phone yields itself to be able to do a lot of custom designs, but upholstery as well. I know a lot of people in the industry Don’t you know, custom upholstery is kind of a bad word because it’s low volume typically. But we we entertain everything and we’re willing to work with your ideas. You know, whatever you’ve got, if you’ve got an idea, hit us up. We have a 230,000 square foot upholstery plant. So We know what we’re doing.

Tim
Cool. I’m stoked to see the new website. And you know, when you say like you tweak the colors, like that’s just one way to modernize a brand without losing its identity from before. And it’s just a perfect way to get like that fresh look out and really fine tune it to what you need it to be. So, yep, I will. This is this episode’s coming out just before July. So we’ll all be warned. We’ve all been notified. And we can check in on you in July and see what’s up with that.

Josh
Sounds great. Looking forward to it.

Tim
Yeah. Thanks for coming on, Josh. It’s been a great conversation.

Josh
Yeah, thank you.

Tim
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