Introduction

CREATING A NEW BRAND FROM THE GROUND UP

Vessel is a leading custom bag maker, with an unprecedented array of colors and fabrics that allow customers to create a bag that’s uniquely theirs. With every purchase, Vessel donates a school backpack to a child in need. Vessel customers have helped provide more than 15,000 school backpacks to children in need around the world.

Owner Ronnie Shaw dominated the custom golf bag market for PGA and LPGA pros, but he identified an untapped market for selling high-quality custom lifestyle bags (backpacks, duffels, totes) to the general public. While many high-profile athletes, celebrities, and golfers were aware of Vessel, they viewed the brand as the leader in customized golf bags; it wasn’t well known outside of golf.

How do you expand Vessel's market penetration by connecting with a new generation of trendsetters?

Results

Naming

When Ronnie approached us with his business concept to turn his custom golf service offering into a custom lifestyle brand for a highly personalized and philanthropic company, the idea was to create a name that embodied all of that: the heart behind the business and the upliftment of the people using them.

Names should always support brand positioning. We determined this updated brand lived within four quadrants: stylish, premium, uplifting and humanall of which needed to be present in the name to ensure consumers could build an understanding of the company’s character.

Our team’s solution was experiential, functional, and evocative: Vessel, a play on the product being a vessel for your items as well as the consumer being a vessel of love and hope. Vessel encompassed not only the company’s intentionally made, high-quality bags for carrying important items but also its profound belief that people (customers, employees, and beyond) are also intentionally created for a great mission. Because, after all, we are vessels filled with purpose.

Results

IDENTITY

Vessel approached BLVR with the challenge of creating an ownable identity that effectively communicated the brand’s key characteristics. We explored countless icon and typeface options that expressed luxury and sport, yet were simple enough to clone on products via embroidery, embossing, and other production techniques.

BLVR worked closely with the Vessel team to dial in the final icon and wordmark. Today, the logo visually conveys the letter “V” which bears the image of a vessel, per se, carrying its treasure and purpose. The lettermark also plays on the brand’s core beliefs by doubling as hands that are raised in exaltation and triumph.

  • BLVR took my idea and thoughts, and transformed them into a reality that's beyond my wildest imagination. I couldn't be more pleased with what they've accomplished.

    — Ron Shaw, CEO

Results

TAGLINE AND Positioning

Vessel’s mission was simple: make great bags and share its blessings with others. The brand was created to make a difference in the world through their passion for making stylish, high-end bags. This inspired the brand’s “Filled With Purpose” tagline, which subtly touches on the bag and customer holding a unique purpose within them. The next step? Bringing it to life.

We know from research that people are more motivated to purchase when they feel a direct connection to helping others, so BLVR implemented a social-impact aspect to the brand: Buy a Bag, Give a Bag. Under this one-for-one model, with every bag purchased, Vessel gives a school backpack to a child in need. While the business paradigm wasn’t novel, BLVR’s approach was. We took an intimate approach to ensuring they weren’t just covering an issue with a Band-Aid but rather engaging with local and global organizations to improve lives. Since Buy a Bag, Give a Bag was implemented, Vessel customers have helped provide more than 15,000 school backpacks to children in need around the world.

Buy a Bag, Give a Bag also birthed the Vessel mantra in 2016a rallying cry for Vessel customers and a movement to share a greater story with the community around them. The mantra unites the Vessel community and supports the Filled With Purpose cause.

Results

LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY

In establishing the Vessel lifestyle brand, BLVR immediately recognized the need to conduct lifestyle photoshoots showing real young people interacting with the brand’s products. The shoot served as a visual representation of Vessel’s point of view, creating an identity and lifestyle that consumers could attach to the brand and their world.

We assigned visual guidelines (look and feel) for each Vessel collection, ranging from sophisticated and minimalist to contemporarystyles appropriate for anyone under 40 years of age. BLVR constructed photography guidelines covering models who look bright and cheerful to enliven the brand’s voice characteristic of uplift and style; a complete wardrobe with high-end apparel and footwear; and unfamiliar photoshoot locations that were fun, stimulating, and evoked positive connotations.

Results

PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY

To turn web browsers into buyers, Vessel needed to show products in the best light, including how they can be used or worn. BLVR spiced up product photography with flat lays (e.g., product with real-life items inside: pens, notebooks, laptop, etc.) and human elements (e.g., models interacting with the products). With both metaphorical and literal blank canvases, Vessel built its lifestyle brand through styling and posing while honing in on the real details and quality. We used a range of neutral color backgrounds and lighting, as well as decorations and props, for added warmth and character, depending on the season.

Results

WEB CONVERSION OPTIMIZATION

While traffic was growing on the Vessel site due to eCRM, social media, events, and other marketing efforts, users were not converting. In response to this, BLVR came up with a web conversion optimization strategy to address this major pain point. We utilized a three-tiered approach that: 1) increased the perceived touch and feel of products so the online retail experience better mimicked what was happening offline, and 2) utilized high-end curation to streamline the product-browsing experience.

While the site effectively showed product range, it did not make shopping any easier. In fact, excess options prevented users from connecting with any one particular product. We created a more curated method to show the products, filtering and categorizing options in a more digestible way.

BLVR capitalized on homepage real estate by increasing the number of site panels that could deliver key retail messages (i.e. product features, collection updates, etc.) and eliminated extraneous blog content. We expanded the site’s main navigation to include more avenues of exploration across product types, collections, sales, and other featured content, too.

But, while this put product front-and-center, it didn’t convey why users should choose Vessel over another brand. We drove third-party credibility by highlighting high-end stockists and outlets the brand has been featured in. Huffington Post, Nordstrom, SELF Magazine––these are all visual indicators for Vessel site visitors that trusted companies are vouching for the brand.

Results

marketing: Social and email

We take social seriously. This rang especially true in the case of Vessel, where we needed to build brand affinity, generate web traffic, and drive sales through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We started with strategy, developing a social media plan that encompassed the brand’s many editorial offerings across cause, product, and lifestyle. We crafted and scheduled monthly social media playbooks that pushed editorial at the right time and to the right people.

When it comes to eCRM, BLVR utilized a robust strategy that tailored content across Vessel’s various customer segments (golf and lifestyle). We strategized and identified the main buckets of content around new products and collections, retail pushes, events, cultural happenings, and lifestyle experience.

Pushing new products and lifestyle via email was only the beginning, though. The brand was losing a huge number of sales through shopping cart abandonmenta whopping 90% of sales, to be exact. In an effort to resolve that drop-off, BLVR implemented a three-pronged cart abandonment campaign that retargeted customers with personalized messages across various time increments. Additional products were also recommended based on a customer’s exhibited behaviors, taking price points, colors, and bag silhouettes into account. This ensured the customer was receiving content that was truly relevant.

 

Results

in conclusion

Together with key leaders across the organization, BLVR created a branding and marketing plan that positioned Vessel’s unique product offering as a hip, trendsetting lifestyle brand that reflects every customer’s unique aesthetic. We built awareness in the Millennial and Gen X communities, tapped social media influencers in the creative fashion communities, and leveraged ambassadors to highlight Vessel’s “Filled With Purpose” tagline and philanthropic core.

Today, Vessel has cornered the custom bag market with its unparalleled customizer, partnered with more than 20 nonprofits, and donated more than 10,000 school backpacks to make education more accessible to underprivileged youth. The site has also seen an uptick in visitors of over 200%, with more than 950,000 page views since launch. Sales have increased 20% year on year, while database growth has increased 400% in the last year alone.

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