5 Branding and Marketing Lessons Online Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Eyewear Retailer Sunglass Hut

Skill Development
Sunglass Hut

While entrepreneurial success involves improving your capabilities and gaining new skills, it never hurts to learn from other accomplished entrepreneurs and take note of how they got to where they are today. For instance, a previous post entitled ‘Branding Goals: Lessons from Pop Icons’ outlines business strategies effectively deployed by pop star Rihanna to branch out from music and make her mark in the fashion and beauty industry.

Now renowned not only for her chart-topping songs but also for her brands Fenty Beauty and Savage x Fenty, Rihanna reminds aspiring entrepreneurs of the role of personal branding. These include making inclusion a primary branding goal, embracing customization, and tapping into your following for engagement and promotion.

Besides learning from a sole entrepreneur, you can also gain insight from a business that has successfully established its brand and identity within its industry. Enter Sunglass Hut, a top eyewear retailer whose distinct approaches to branding and marketing can lend themselves to today’s online entrepreneurs.

Leverage the power of storytelling

Beyond outlining the products or services you can offer, an essential branding element for earning the trust and engagement of your potential customers is a compelling narrative. While this is easier for someone like Rihanna, whose brand can be herself, Sunglass Hut exemplifies that you can also humanize a business by leveraging the power of storytelling.

To illustrate, Sunglass Hut’s official website emphasizes its legacy, which spans fifty years, tracing its history from being a small family business running a mall kiosk to expanding worldwide with over 3,000 stores. Besides a detailed timeline that starts in 1971, the website’s ‘Our Story’ section also highlights the brand values that are centered around family, community, and self-expression.

Cater to different audience segments

Even when you’ve already identified your target demographic, a successful branding and marketing strategy entails catering to different audience segments. Determining such subgroups allows you to deliver more tailored messaging and make your brand, whether it’s yourself or a business you own, feel more personal.

Case in point, the optical retailer’s website positions sunglasses not just as accessories for women but also as wardrobe staples for men. Sunglass Hut’s selection of men’s sunglasses is as diverse as its offerings for women, showcasing a range of brands from the outdoor-oriented Ray-Ban and Oakley to designer names like Versace. It also curates its product assortment for men by creating categories like sporty frame styles and polarized lens options.

Deliver immersive, customer-oriented experiences

While most entrepreneurs start online due to lower logistical costs and extended audience reach, you shouldn’t be restricted to simply making your promotional and marketing content intuitive and accessible. So, on top of ensuring your website interface is user-friendly, come up with ways to deliver creative and immersive experiences.

For instance, Sunglass Hut’s website bridges the gap between the virtual and in-person shopping experience through 3D imaging, allowing customers to virtually try on the frames they chose on the website. As this increases customers’ ability to make informed purchasing decisions, consider tapping into emerging technologies like virtual/augmented reality and artificial intelligence for tech-enhanced, customer-oriented experiences.

Be open to partnerships and collaborations

Regardless of how long you’ve been a digital entrepreneur, it’s crucial to acknowledge the various benefits of entering a partnership or collaboration with other brand personalities and businesses. Not only does it enable you to gain access to a new audience, but it also encourages you to reinforce your brand identity and credibility through shared values.

Yet again, Sunglass Hut demonstrates the value of strategic partnerships for marketing and brand identity. In 2023, the retailer collaborated with the avatar platform Ready Player Me to gamify the intersection of its virtual and physical retail offerings. Meanwhile, working with creatives like Shekhinah & YoungstaCPT for its diverse collection of frames enabled the optical store to highlight its core values of individuality and self-expression.

Build and maintain relationships

Lastly, Sunglass Hut reminds entrepreneurs that branding and marketing success isn’t always about engagement numbers and sales. Part of what makes a brand last a long time is investing in long-term relationships with your clients.

Instead of solely focusing on attracting new customers, Sunglass Hut’s loyalty program, aptly named The Sun Club, is designed to provide loyal customers with exclusive online and in-store benefits, including reward points, birthday and anniversary promotions, branded gifts, and access to product launches and sales.

In summary, entrepreneurs across all industries and from different backgrounds can learn a lot from how Sunglass Hut creates and markets its brand identity through elements like storytelling, audience segmentation, partnerships, and customer relationships and experiences.