Guest blogger: Anne Charbonneau, brandgym Amsterdam
Now for a cool 21st century brand: Freitag. Probably the most successful and interesting brand launch from Switzerland since Swatch. As often with great idea, the concept is simple : Freitag makes recycled bags out of truck tarpaulins, seat belts and inner tubes. They are becoming the epitome of urban chic.
It all started with two bike-riding designers living next to the truck route in Zurich. They started designing bags using the discarded truck tarps they saw – virtually indestructible and 100% waterproof. And free.
This was back in 1993. Soon, the 2 brothers began making the tarp bags for their friends. Before long, word got around, and shops began requesting lines to sell in their stores.
Great sausage = product truth: tough as a truck!
Freitag products are made out of recycled seat-belt and truck material. Because trucks are tough, your Freitag product is tough too. And as the brand say on the site, "We are Swiss, which means we are acutely quality-conscious".
Great sizzle: Naturally unique design.
Each bag is unique in style and design, but this uniqueness is not artificially create. Colours vary 'according to pan-European trucks of Western Europe'. This is because the tarps are usually used for advertising, and painted to reflect the brand being carried or the corporate logo. This is like Nike ID, but better!
Brand Social Responsibilty
Frietag is a good example of going beyond Corporate Social Responsibility (supporting a good cause like recycling) to BRAND social responsibility. The doing good aspect, recycling, is an integral part of the sausage/product recipe.
Route to consumer
Distribution is a strategic part of the brand mix. There are flagship stores, an online store, and an online tool for designing your own bag. The brand personality comes through in the naming of this: "F-Cut" = It's Your Fault.
Brought to life and across all touch points
Check out the flagship store is Zurich. This is really about walking the talk: the shop itself is made out of truck containers. And guess what, to close the loop wonderfully, from the top of the store you can enjoy a good session of…truck-spotting!
In conclusion, Freitag is the perfect post-recession brand, combining sounds brand social leadership, modern product truths and cool factor. This is authentic branding, with close alignment of beliefs and behaviours. Vision and action working perfectly together.