Uluwatu creates an authentic brand connection from factory to consumer

Authentic brand connection
Uluwatu heroes who and how their products are made for real brand benefit.

Lately there has been much discourse about where and how products are made. Price is always a major purchasing driver but more and more consumers are seeking more transparency and a true connection between what they are buying and how it was made.

Rather than seeking to hide the production process, Bali’s Ulawatu creates an authentic brand connection by heroing who and how their products are made.

Brand authenticity
Most clothing brands avoid talking about the production process. For some, there is good reason, as the appalling conditions of their sweatshops do not match their brand values and premium product positioning.

With the constant pursuit of maximising profit margins, many brands are keen to explore any possible way to produce their clothes for a fraction of the price they sell them for – regardless of ethics. However, smart brands are seeing this an opportunity to proudly and transparently talk about who and how their clothes are made.

On a recent trip to Bali, I was pleasantly surprised to find one brand that has embraced brand authenticity and transparency and taken it to another level. Amongst local markets and the haggling for the cheapest knock-off of brands, local Balinese brand Uluwatu stands apart and sets an example for many global brands.

Uluwatu is positioned around “handmade Balinese lace”. The idea of hand-made is nothing new but Uluawatu provides real authenticity to their handmade claim with a ‘certificate of origins’. Hand-written on every Uluwatu garment is the ID number, name and age of the person who made the garment.

Heroing people behind the brand
On the company’s website, they also proudly talk about their craftspeople, showing their factory and explaining in great detail the production process. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the beautiful brand story telling that talks about Balinese culture, the importance of family and ceremonies and the sense of artisan craft and love that goes into creating every garment.

It’s such a simple idea but talking about how and who the garments are created is an incredibly refreshing and powerful brand gesture. You instantly feel a real connection to the person who made the garment as you shop. You can almost picture the person making the clothes for you. This provides a deep emotional connection beyond purely the product and the label.

The fact that the garments carry a price premium to very similar products locally almost becomes irrelevant. Uluwatu garments feel far more valuable. Uluwatu has found a way to hero one of their key brand differentiators in a very humbling and compelling way.

The world’s big global brands should take note of this. The days of concealing production secrets may be short lived. The more connection you feel towards a brand the more loyal you are likely to be. Surely understanding how it was created is essential in building more of a brand connection.

If you have a brand that is trying to build a stronger audience connection maybe you should think about how you could be more transparent about where and how your product is created.

Michael Hughes
Strategy Director and Partner


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