Caitlin Bowen

Public Relations Specialist

RAREFORM, I hear that you’re hiring a Brand Consultant to guide you on your future endeavors. I know that I can help you on this journey – let me show you why I’m a great fit for both the role and the company.

My name is Caitlin Bowen, and I’m a graduate student in the Public Relations and Advertising program at the University of Southern California. I’ve spent most of my professional career interning for public relations and communications firms. I’ve worked with clients in several different industries, ranging from law to entertainment. I have the professional and academic experience needed for this position, but more importantly, I have the personal experience – I am an avid RAREFORM fan. Not only do I love your products (I have three duffle bags and I intend to buy more), but I also value your philosophy: to make each product as unique and sustainable as possible.

RAREFORM, you are a high-quality, sustainable fashion brand that aims to reduce landfill waste, one billboard at a time. Your products are visually stunning, one-of-a-kind, and durable; my duffle bags still look brand new, even after four years of wear-and-tear. Your values of quality and sustainability speak to my values and to those emerging in today’s world, as expanding landfills worsen climate change. You boast numerous happy and satisfied customers, uplifted by countless positive reviews on your products. Your high-quality, durable items and your vision to create a sustainable future have created a loyal, satisfied following.

However, your following is small compared to other fashion brands, including your main competitor, Baggu. While retaining 102,000 followers is impressive, your competitors are stealing the social media spotlight, upping your count by at least 100,000 people. But have no fear, I believe I’ve figured out why.

Your brand narrative on social media is all over the place, making it hard to follow. While comedy seems to be one of the themes that you’re trying to incorporate, your efforts aren’t resonating with the audience. That’s not all your fault; the comedy narrative is extremely hard to master. Knowing your mission, values, and products, I believe that changing your storyline is the best way to garner more publicity and more brand loyalty. A brand is only as good as its story, and yours should be known by everybody!

Let’s look at an example. Take this Instagram post from early January:

RAREFORM, I love this tweet – and I agree that grocery shopping with friends does add an extra ‘oomph’ to an otherwise boring trip. However, neither your company nor your products are mentioned anywhere in this tweet. Trying to connect this post to your brand is like waiting for rain in this drought: useless and disappointing. And, while I hope you understand that as a reference to the classic 2000s movie, A Cinderella Story, it’s also a harsh truth. As such an amazing company with high-quality, stunning products, it’s disappointing that this post does not include anything about your brand.

While you do mention that a product inspired this tweet in the comments, you neglect to illuminate if it’s your product. And, since you posted this on Instagram, most people would not want to expend the energy launching another social media platform – Twitter – just to find this tweet and see the product that inspired it. Your audience was likely confused by this post, judging by the lack of interactions with it.

Speaking of your audience, it’s hard to tell who you are trying to reach with this post. I assume this is aimed at Millennials and Generation Z, as these generations tend to value sustainability (i.e., your reusable bags) and seem more likely to go grocery shopping with friends. However, the audience is unclear, as is the message that you are trying to deliver to them.

While I do appreciate the simplicity of this Instagram post, most of the design elements are unrelated to your brand. Your signature blue color does appear in the gradient, but the post lacks your logo and your brand name: two key elements of branding. Overall, this post is missing any connection to RAREFORM or its story. That needs to change, and I’m here to guide you on that journey.

“Your goal is to make a high-quality, sustainable bag as ‘one-of-a-kind’ as your customers. My goal is to make that aspiration as visible – and successful – as possible.”

Instead of comedy, you should try the “overcoming the monster” narrative. In “overcoming the monster,” your brand would highlight how you’re defeating a ‘monster’ in your story. There are several ‘monsters’ that you can choose, but here is my initial idea:

  • You could make the ‘monster’ the fast fashion industry: a sector that massively contributes to landfill waste and environmental degradation. As a brand that believes in second chances, especially for wasteful products like billboards, you could be the reusable, durable fashion brand that overcomes the current trend of fast fashion and mitigates its environmental impact. RAREFORM products are affordable, durable, and sustainable: a rare combination in fashion. Use that unique identity to your advantage!

You are one-of-a-kind, in so many ways. Let’s make that more noticeable.

Whether you choose to pursue my idea or another one, this brand storyline fits your company much better than comedy. If you still want to include comedy in your social media content, it should only happen occasionally – not for every post. Instead, your company should take advantage of its position as an ‘underdog’ in the fashion industry and ‘overcome monsters.’ Everyone likes an underdog, especially an environmentally-friendly one!

Your goal is to make a high-quality, sustainable bag as ‘one-of-a-kind’ as your customers. My goal is to make that aspiration as visible – and successful – as possible.

Want to learn more? Contact me today.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Rareform. This webpage and the included content are only for a class project.