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How to use ordinary objects as a brand marketing play

Just realized that the year is already more than 12% complete.

Here we are, amidst the strange calm of Chinese New Year, hitting the marketing high point of Super Bowl ads and Valentine’s Day promotions, and it’s worth considering that — the next 45 days are a crucial point if you want to launch a brand, or update your brand, and be in full swing by 2024 holiday.

Over the next few weeks, we’re getting tactical here, exploring new topics and getting into the nitty gritty of brand building — naming, trademarks, 3PLs, campaign execution, and store setup, and we’re excited to continue to hear about what everyone in the community has been bringing to life.

Lots to come over here.

Here are a few educational videos from this week—


This is a perfect example of how to use data to understand strategy in your niche online. 

Here's a screenshot of men's jewelry brand Craftd London from data platform Particl that ranks their top products in order of volume (amount of sales over the time period I selected).

What immediately stands out to me are

  • almost all their top products are bundles

  • the most popular products by a LONG SHOT are mix-and-match

This is really useful information if I'm in the same niche to help understand how to position (or to think about if you're in a different niche as well). 

Many brands will think to offer a few bundles, but after this if I would give some serious thought to building my entire eCommerce strategy around bundling versus just using it as a tool, and if that's right for my brand, products and positioning.

Using Particl, I'd also pull a few other brands for comparison and see where there are opportunities in various price points or option types (like cross-category combos of a chain and bracelet) that might be underserved.

Just as interesting is identifying the mix-and-match products as huge sales drivers.  In some niches, consumers just want to be shown what to buy with the least amount of thought possible.

If I was looking at the Particl data and the SKUs with the least variants were popular, I'd think about making sure the brand is giving consumers clear choices and guidance. 

But it looks like in the mid-range men's jewelry niche, consumers want to pick something ideal for them, love to have the options, and feel good about saving a little bit while doing it.

This is also part of why I love looking at Particl data outside of niches I work in for ideas.

This is a relatively common strategy in jewelry (although I think many new brands don't do it nearly enough), but what about applying the same concept to your brand in a different category where you might be one of the only brands to allow that level of customization?

Learn more about the data Particl offers HERE - and I will follow up in a few weeks with a dive into reviewing discount data.


Ordinary objects as the brand play

One of the ways that brands build affinity with customers is through ordinary objects, whether the object is adjacent to your brand or not.

There are really four different use cases for creating objects as part of your product strategy (perhaps more!). Here they are:

1. Mirroring

You can use objects to mirror something about your brand to the customer. Like this Vibram mat outside of a clothing store in NYC.

Vibram makes some of the best footwear soles around, and using a doormat made from the same materials as the shoes they produce is a perfect marketing play for them.

Photo credit @geo.hagg on IG

Or you can make a spoon holder shaped like a ravioli, a perfect personification of the very thing you’re cooking.

2. Irony

Some of these may feel like a logo slap, and that’s probably true. But, they’re still fun ways to activate when you’re hosting an event or party, launching a campaign, etc.

Photo credit @sartoriallyinc on IG

Photo credit @streetnightlive on IG

Do they mean anything? Who knows. Do they look awesome? Absolutely.

3. Cornerstone

Another manifestation is by making an object a cornerstone of the brand itself, something recognizable that customers know you for and associate you with.

Pure Beauty gorgeously complements their core consumables business with artisan chairs and ceramics to build the character of their brand.

4. Household

This is when you take a product that’s recognizable to the eye test (i.e., the hunter-green NYC trash can) and build a campaign around it.

Only NY, a streetwear brand in Brooklyn, pulled off this incredible campaign where they partnered with the NY Parks & Rec to promote keeping the city clean.

They capitalized on this drop with an actual pen holder shaped like the exact NY P&R trash can.

Marketing genius in full effect.

Where do objects fit into your product strategy?

For upcoming brands just getting your collections live… this is likely a distraction. Instead, focus on your core product.

For a brand that has found a fit with its core product(s), adding an object into collection drops, catchy single items, and collaborations that build your brand can be a nice brand-building complement for your releases.

Experiment with one and see what the response is, then begin to build out the strategy further.

This also ties to all the objects your brand gives away or has to sell for a specific reason - tradeshow giveaways, consumer or partner gifts, branded bags, and boxes…

If you apply some art direction and intention and make something interesting, does the conversation around the product, its shareable nature, and the affinity developed for your brand become worth the unit cost?

This is the right conversation to be having internally.


If you’re looking for the Portugal factory that makes these Denim Tears hoodies featured in Oren’s video this week, its https://alec.group/

This group had excellent items from Stussy, Moschino, and many more in their booth of the highest quality, and we’re talking about MOQs in the 150-200 range, but flexible depending on the brand scenario.


Check out our market reports. We spend many, many hours researching markets, categories, and brands & products within the consumer space–all so that you don’t have to.

How to Source Blanks 101 — HERE  
A guide to finding and producing your own merch

Market reports on Running, Golf and Tennis — HERE A guide to each sport, the market opportunities, and how to launch your own brand

Looking for brand strategy, research, or merchandise support?

Shoot us a note here: [email protected]

We’d love to chat!

Oren & Clayton ❤️ you.