Design and social media are key components of establishing a retail brand. We spoke to Desk Space member Alex Lawson about the importance of branding and the power of social media in establishing her business, ARLO BLAK.
Alex established ARLO BLAK in November 2016. ARLO BLAK Activated Charcoal Powderis a chemical-free ultra-fine black powder that can be used for a multitude of purposes, including teeth whitener, face mask and detox drink. “In an age of toxin overload, I realised there was a gap in the Australian market for a versatile, all-natural alternative product and decided to launch my own,” Alex says. Having learnt the ropes of importing, packaging and website development, Alex sells her product range online, through wholesalers and at weekend markets, with orders coming in fromaround the world.
Alex established the branding at the outset of launching her product and business:“It’s extremely important to have a consistent brand image, because it’s the face and voice of your company and product.” There’s a vast array of elements that play into a brand these days, but the brand essentials—name, logo, colour palette, font, imagery, and voice—are important for establishing the foundation and personality of the brand. “Work out the branding at the very start,” Alex advises. “Create a set of guidelines and stick to them.”
“I see ARLO BLAK as your ‘go-to’ babe for all your beauty needs. If you have a problem, you can look to ARLO BLAK to see if it can help as it is such a versatile product that has been used for thousands of years due to its amazing health benefits,” Alex says. “Everything for ARLO BLAK—my website, social media posts, marketing collateral, EDMs—is written in first person, as if the product is speaking. And that harks back to ARLO BLAK being your ‘go-to’ babe.”
As Alex personally sells her product at weekend markets she has a strong understanding of her audience and says it’s very varied, which is both a result of the product and the brand. “I wanted to create a brand that anyone and everyone wanted to use. This is also why ARLO BLAK doesn’t have a specific target market, anyone can and does use it. Young girls and guys who want help with their skin; more mature women and men use it as a detox drink or teeth whitener; and parents buy it for their kids. The brand is very relatable across a range of markets,” Alex explains.
Once the brand essence is nailed, there’s the marketing material and platforms they’re used across. For ARLO BLAK, that includes packaging, website, social media, market-stall signs and posters, EDMs, mailer bags and marketing collateral. “The brand needs to be consistent across all that you do. I want people to see an image and have it straight away resonate with ARLO BLAK,” says Alex.
Social media plays a large part in how Alex promotes ARLO BLAK and gains awareness and recognition from customers and retailers. Proving the power of social media, Alex gets most of her retail enquiries through Instagram, and therefore gives a lot of attention to the ARLO BLAK Instagramfeed. Colour and imagery is on brand, complementary, and looks good individually and collectively. Alex creates a weekly schedule of images to make sure the brand content is balanced and puts each image through the same filter on Instagram and VSCOto make sure the brand aesthetic is consistent.
“The brand is what customers see first, and obviously first impressions are very important. You have to demonstrate that you truly believe in your business and product right from the beginning and all the way along,” says Alex.