Here is a new post category we wanted to create. We will regularly ask 4 simple questions to strategists, experts and entrepreneurs with a focus on brand utility. The first of them is Tristan Nicolas, one of the three men behind Ben & Fakto, a fun, great and responsible website to find your next clothes. I had the chance to meet him and talk about his adventure several weeks ago…
1/ Tell us more about yourself, what are you doing for a living ?
I am 24, I am a runner and I love the Internet.
For a living (and beyond that) I am one the three co-founders of an online e-shop called Ben & Fakto. The aim of Ben & Fakto is promote ethical fashion by offering new brands, new fashion designers who think of the impact of their clothes on the society or the environment. We really wanted to avoid the “clichés” around ethical fashion which is not really “fashionable” and we also wanted to use another way to talk about it so we called it “mode happy” (happy fashion). We really wanted to focus the positive aspects of the brands. Happiness is a our way of doing business.
And we began working on this idea of e-shop, we soon realized that all brands had their own way to deal with the issue, so we wanted to do something on our own. We thought on what we truly believed, and this is “entrepreneurship”, the idea that you can create yourself your own jobs, especially in countries where there is “pôle emploi” (the French public agency to help you to find a job). It appears that the way to encourage entrepreneurship is micro-credit, so for each purchase on our e-shop, 10% is used to finance an entrepreneur somewhere in the world through micro-credit.
2/ How did you get into brand utility ?
I think that for a large part of our generation, it seems natural. We have lived for many years in a crisis on many aspects (environment, economy, ..). I do not want to work in a NGO, but I want to have personally a positive impact on the world I live in.
Besides, Internet changed the way we think brands and marketing. Instead of spending money on marketing and advertising, we can now spend money on doing something good, something truly useful, and because people have now the power to share more globally, they are able to recommend your brands among their peers and they are more eager to do it if they think you do something good.
3/ Have you any example(s) of brands, products or brand utility campaigns that inspire you ? Why ?
Well, for Ben & Fakto, our main inspirations were Tom’s shoes, Warby Parker in the US and obviously Jimmy Fairly in France. It was also Piola, MaïProject and a lot of the brands that we are very happy to sell today.
As a runner, I am also sensitive on the way Nike for example can show some “brand utility”. First, in their last campaign in Paris, in the “Goutte d’Or” for Nike Basketball. The “Goutte d’or” is not really seen as a clean, safe district but the videos show the pride of the inhabitants, the way they live through sports, etc… Another example is the “make it count”. I am more and more surprised by the way people don’t do any sports and do not have a healthy way of life. The commercial “make it count” is somehow useful to change the situation.
I saw on your blog the example of Adidas in Tokyo with the “runbase” where you can have a shower after your run. It is also a good example of something very useful for the runners.
4/ Any book or blog to recommend on the topic ?
A book that changed a lot of things for me was “tribes” by Seth Godin. In the book, one the ideas (or what I remember of it) is that we all belong to tribes. Tribes on the Internet are the new geography. We can be leaders our tribe if we think of we can bring to our tribe. The question : how can I be useful to my tribe ?