Michael Aram is a luxury home decor brand. With three brick-and-mortar stores, an eCommerce site and a heavy presence at department stores like Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, they chose AdVenture Media to spearhead the overhaul of their advertising strategy on Google, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Initial conversations indicated the dissatisfaction with current creatives and ad copy. Michael Aram wants to:
Michael Aram’s creatives failed to differentiate their products from the mass market. We saw this as an existential creative problem for a brand that sells heirloom quality, hand-crafted goods. We understood–and so did Michael Aram–that we’d need to tackle this creative obstacle and put together a campaign infused with the same craftsmanship imbued in their physical products.
Working in tandem with the brand disconnect, the overall state of their creatives posed a problem in the overall efficacy of their campaigns. Previously, most ads were run in a template format, taking attention away from product photography. Additionally, Michael Aram needed more lifestyle imagery to place them at a similar visual threshold with their competitors.
While brand disconnect and creatives were the two largest problems in the account, we identified an additional point of consideration to incorporate into our strategy. With home decor and jewelry relying so heavily on visual appeal, what works on Instagram and Facebook differs slightly from what works on Pinterest and Google. Pinterest requires a unique strategy separate from Google, Facebook and Instagram.
Conveying Brand Essence
The luxury home decor market is saturated with quality designs. When consumers enter the market to make a purchase there are a few main factors used for consideration: price, style and quality.
Once the market is narrowed by consideration, purchasing decisions are made based on branding and further specific key differentiators.
An average Michael Aram product retails for $114.70. The style is classified as modern, sophisticated and elegant with the quality deriving from their craft-based designs, each piece being individually hand-made.
These factors, alone, do not make Michael Aram unique. Based on market research and competitor analysis, Michael Aram sits next to several “hand-made” modern home decor brands at that price point.
Our competitive advantage - the specific key differentiators - derives from brand essence:
With a clear understanding of Michael Aram’s brand essence and value proposition, we created fresh, new creatives tailored around articulating the three aforementioned components of their brand essence for optimal and accurate brand awareness.
It’s better to show than to tell. While having each piece individually made by hand is a unique selling point, it’s not that unique in today’s eco-conscious consumer landscape. Saying a product is “handcrafted” is analogous to saying a product is “organic;” organic sounds great, can certainly entice people to purchase, but, ultimately, many products are labeled organic and further proof of production is required to give insight into ingredients and nutritional value.
Similarly, many products fall under the “handcrafted” category, but without illustration, it means next to nothing. We leveraged existing video assets of Michael hand pouring liquid metal onto each piece, firing the kiln and speaking to the thought and care that goes into welding each piece in the collection to highlight the care and artistry that goes into every piece in the collection.
You wouldn’t have known through prior ads that each collection is based on an element found in nature. To drive awareness around this key brand essence, we created collection-based ads incorporating the original source of inspiration into the ad itself. For example, for the collection inspired by cherry blossoms, we leveraged a 15-second video placement rotating each product in the collection on a loop with a third of the frame showing a cherry blossom tree blossoming. We used this principle of intertwining the source of inspiration with the products themselves for three additional collections and two different ad placements, the goal being to drive awareness that each collection is inspired by the beauty and elegance found in nature.
It’s hard to communicate timelessness in an ad, but we found a way. By leveraging copy like “The Heirlooms of Tomorrow” and “Timeless Elegance” with core home decor products like vases and picture frames, the messaging that these products are classic, timeless staples in your home came to life.
With new creatives conveying Michael Aram’s brand essence, the last piece to tie together into the overall creative strategy was the direction for future photography based on our overall positioning goals and platform-specific needs.
Our overarching goal for the account is not only to drive awareness and sales but to position Michael Aram as a lifestyle brand. We aren’t selling a product; we’re selling a room. Each piece in the collection is meant to be collected and cherished for years.
This goal, along with platform-specific creatives, led to the recommendation of increased lifestyle photography, videos and 360-degree product views.
Increasing lifestyle photography serves a dual purpose: one, it highlights the way in which Michael Aram pieces can transform the aesthetic of an entire room. Instead of buying a one-off product, illustrating multiple pieces together further demonstrates the collection aspect of the brand.
Two, increasing lifestyle photography improves the efficacy of our Pinterest strategy; a photography-based inspiration platform, the most effective ads and overall account strategy on Pinterest relies on the power in imagery. The images that get the most “pins” (saves) are seasonal, lifestyle-based photography. For example, summer is wedding season, so to capitalize on wedding-related searches on Pinterest, showcasing wedding registry items in lifestyle photography falls in line with best practices for the platform.
Additional platform considerations were taken into account for the direction of future photography, like the necessity of 360-degree product views to imitate the brick and mortar experience online and an increase in video content to fuel engagement on Facebook.
We are continuing to produce new creatives in accordance to our three-pronged brand essence strategy highlighting handmade, nature-inspired and timeless traditions.
Lastly, it’s important to note that this creative strategy was developed alongside the overall Google and Facebook campaign strategies, delivering our client performance creatives. Both strategies, on the creative and performance side, influenced each other and worked simultaneously to develop a robust and comprehensive account-wide strategy.
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