We love that Philadelphia is home to so many unique local brands. From bakeries that specialize in only one thing to coffee shops that double as clothing retailers and charities, consistent and interesting branding is at the core of why some stand out more than others. We’ve decided to start a series focusing on the Philly brands we love most. Up first: Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Part handcrafted spirit makers, part local boutique, this brand is nailing the hybrid business model. Inspired by Walter Benjamin’s 1935 essay of the same name, their brand revolves around the idea that, “there’s a quality that a piece of art has that separates it from something mass-produced. There’s an inherent value in the handmade, the one-of-a-kind, doing it the hard way instead of the cheap or easy.” Every customer touch point of this brand lives up to this idealistic vision. Here are a few reasons we love them.
As themes like “local,” “hand-crafted” and “artisan” explode, it’s so refreshing to see a company where these qualities are not a marketing gimmick. AITA spirits are all based on the history of the Philadelphia area, and each have a distinct lineage and story behind them. Simply looking at the bottles evokes their brand statement that there’s value in art over mass production, and nothing they do falls too far from that core philosophy. For example, they feature a monthly installment on their blog, The Aura, where they interview a local creative whose mission aligns with the AITA brand. Through this they not only build mutually beneficial relationships, they remind people of what they stand, reinforcing their brand.
The In-Store Experience
With the rise of e-commerce, average brick and mortar stores are getting creative with how they get people through their doors. We’re seeing “concept stores” everywhere – restaurants are also butchers shops and teaching facilities and gyms are retail and community hubs. One of the most interesting things about AITA is that their most iconic product, the cornerstone of their business model, can’t be sold in their store or on their website. Instead of just selling to restaurants or have a distillery open to the public as many alcohol brands do, AITA created a space where consumers come for more than just their iconic drinks. The store is a destination for finding design-focused, handmade goods like apparel, accessories, preserves, soaps, stationery and quilts. When you walk into the store, your eyes aren’t sure where to go. If you know nothing about the brand, you’re not quite sure what you’ve stumbled into – is it an art museum, a pop-up event, a clothing boutique? And that’s the beauty of it. Every design element from the branded wallpaper to the antique drawers overflowing with funky gifts and cocktail accessories screams to a certain type of customer. AITA knows exactly who their customer is and what will bring them in, therefore they’re able to get away with this uber-hybridized in-store experience. And did we mention, they’ve added a Warby-Parker store within their store!?
They’re Rooted in Community
AITA gives its customers so many ways to engage with their brand, and their reach extends well beyond the four walls of their brick and mortar store. Of course, they appear on many of the craft-cocktail menus in the city and they have a fantastic e-commerce site, but AITA has truly integrated itself into the community in very interesting ways. Through partnerships, events and cross-promotions with local photographers, artists and other creatives, even non-profit organizations, they provide plenty of reasons to draw their customers to their brand.
In short, their ability to really provide real value for their customers is remarkable. Their aesthetic is consistent across every customer touchpoint, they never stray from their brand values and they truly know their ideal customer - all qualities we believe successful modern brands must master. If you are looking for ways to evolve your brand, give us a shout, we'd love to help!