One of the reasons I got into this business was because I really disliked how some agencies marketed to skateboarders.
It felt like agencies and brands were faking it so they could make money off us.
As I was doing more and more work for pro skateboarders and companies within the skateboard industry, it opened up other opportunities outside of skateboarding.
I quickly saw it wasn’t just a problem within skateboarding. It was everywhere!
That was the moment I decided to focus 100% on SecretPenguin to brand and market companies to be genuine and not insult communities by faking it with surface-level branding that emulated a community/culture.
I’d like to think most people don’t want their brand to take advantage of people, appropriate cultures, or talk down to others. Unfortunately, sometimes brands are steered in the wrong direction because they trust their agency doing that.
Within skateboarding, seeing big brands throw an “x” on their products to try and make it look like they were part of the skateboard culture was insulting.
Some agencies forget that brands are there to serve or provide a product to a community.
That’s why I love branding. Over the long-term, it has to be true to itself and the people it serves in a genuine way.
As a result of all of this, our approach is to never sell to a brand’s community – instead, we support their community. As a by-product, that mindset has always made our clients successful when they’ve followed it.
Be sure your agency is taking the time to understand not only who you are, but also who the community is that you serve and support.
Our approach was to support the Martial Arts community. So Hyper Martial Arts created events, training curriculums, and also endorsed athletes. It is now the largest streetwear clothing company for Martial Artists in the world.
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