Everlane is one of the fastest-growing clothing companies. It also offers a great example of a core communications principle and how it can be applied not only to communication but to product design and business focus.
The principle is: focus on an audience’s problem (that you solve).
Far too often we see presentations that fail to meet this standard. A sales presentation starts with a discussion of product features and benefits instead of with a customer problem their product solves for them, causing disengagement. A conference presentation tries to be all things to everyone in the audience, containing way too much material for the time allotted and offering a “grab bag, something in there for everyone” lack of focus.
How does Everlane apply this principle? They focus on one group of consumers: Generation Z. And they make that their focus across the business: in communications, yes, but also in areas like product design.
On the communications front, Everlane focuses not on features but on how a customer will use the product. This excerpt from a Quartz article explains:
To design functional clothes that fill a need, Everlane always starts with questions about the customer: “How is she going to wear it? Where is she going to take it? And then what product do we design for that?” said [CEO Michael] Preysman. “Everything is always about end-use for us.”
For example, a recent collection of “street fleece”—Everlane’s answer to athleisure—was designed for wearing on the weekend:
“You roll out of bed on a Saturday, and either you’re going to work out or maybe you’re going to meet a bunch of friends,” said Preysman. “You don’t want to spend too much time trying to do makeup and all this stuff, but you also want to look put together, and have it be somewhat comfortable and flexible.”
Essentially, Everlane is telling their customers, hey, you’ve got this challenge in deciding how to dress for certain situations, and we have the solution. Take a look: https://www.everlane.com/street-fleece – !
As the company says: “At Everlane, we want the right choice to be as easy as putting on a great T-shirt.”
When you’re building a presentation, you want to have the same laser focus on your audience: what problem do they face that I am offering to solve?
And as the Quartz passage above shows, in a commercial environment the principle is even stronger when the product’s design and the communication for it both are aligned around solving a customer’s problem.
“The Compelling Communicator,” by Tim Pollard, pp 177-199 and pp 129-153