How Warby Parker built a powerhouse brand

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Why is an eyeglass retailer attracting so many eyeballs? 

On the surface, Warby Parker doesn’t seem different than any other company. They sell a product—eyeglasses—mostly online. They have a website where you can shop. They have a blog. They create year-in-review reports.

But what’s truly brilliant about Warby Parker is how they’ve managed to transform every ‘normal’ aspect of a company and its website into a brand worth salivating over. The company is rooted in rebellion, founded by four friends in 2010 who were sick of a few large firms controlling the eyewear industry. This iconoclasm contributes to the fresh young vibes coursing through their brand, as well as the non-profit ‘buy one, give one’ mission that’s a cornerstone of their company.

We’ve taken five ‘normal’ business elements such as a company’s website and year-in-review and examined how Warby Parker has turned each one into something consumers look forward to experiencing.

1. Their blog: a lifestyle teacher

Warby Parker’s frequently updated blog is an organized chaos of staff book recommendations, music playlists for fall, and ’39 things to do before summer ends’. Though they also publish articles about new glasses styles and share their collaborations with various brands, they know that promoting their brand means more than pushing product. They’re not just selling the glasses they create, but the edgy lifestyle that comes with wearing their glasses.




2. The website: function and a lot of fashion

As an e-commerce company, Warby Parker knows that their website drives their business. It can’t just look nice, but must work supremely well for consumers shopping online. When we browsed Warby Parker’s website, the first thing we noticed was how easy it was to get around. Dropdowns offer options to shop the entire collection, but also offer featured selections like their fall 2015, original, and circuit wear collections Every detail of the site has been examined, down to the email signup button asking you to ‘stay in the loop’ and the sketched paper airplanes that zoom by in the corner of your screen.




3. Their tone: not down with being uppity

Warby Parker’s colloquial tone creates a perfect separation from the ‘hoity-toity’ atmosphere often associated with luxury eyewear companies. They poke fun at themselves on their website (like teasing the fact that, yes, they do actually sell monocles) and their blog sounds like real people are offering you style and lifestyle advice. While some companies keep their blog tone conversational but stick to formalities and the hard-sell on their corporate site, with Warby Parker it’s what you see is what you get. As they say on their website, they were “founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price”. 




4. Their stores: like the libraries of your imagination

Warby Parker started as an online retailer, but have since opened numerous locations throughout the U.S. It was important for the company that their stores had a homey vibe: they’re promoted as “featuring glasses, books, along with other surprising treats”. Some locations, however, are more ‘party’ than ‘homey’. A writer from FastCompany describes his visit to Warby Parker’s Los Angeles store as “the space is decked out like a 1950’s beach club…servers offer martinis and champagne flutes and trays of crackers topped with avocado hummus…guests gravitate to the full-length mirrors and the glasses, which are sticked invitingly on open wood shelves”.  It’s a brilliant maneuver. Warby Parker stores include the luxurious feeling of buying designer glasses without the part everyone hates: the high prices of the glasses themselves. Anyone visiting their brick and mortar stores can feel expensive and pampered, while still leaving feeling like they made the right choice going with the Warby Parker rather than a monopolizing corporate brand.

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5. Their 2014 Year in Review: something you actually want to read

So this is the coolest. To promote their 2014 Year-in-Review, something all companies put out but barely anyone reads, Warby Parker created a fun online generator called ‘Make Your Own Annual Report’. The generator asks you questions like your favourite colour, your average mood, and the emoji that most describes you. Once you’re done they create a nicely designed and hilarious ‘report’ of your own year. At the bottom of your report, you can share on social media as well as  (aha!) view the Year-In-Review that Warby Parker made for themselves. You can still play around with the generator here. Try it out!


Warby Parker annual report


How to use Twitter to promote your website


The term ‘Twitter ad’ is pretty ambiguous, as it can refer to any post to Twitter with a paid boost. There are different types of ads including promoted tweets, promoted trends, and promoted accounts. For this post, we’re talking about creating a Twitter website card to specifically promote your website. This tactic can be used to promote your main corporate site, your investor relations site, or a site you’ve created for a special campaign. Whatever your goal is, read below for some tips on how to create the perfect website card.

First thing’s first: what in the world is a website card?

A Twitter website card is a type of ‘Twitter card’, or a tweet that contains an image and a call to action button that helps direct a user to where you want them to go. With a website card, the goal is a specific URL. Brendan Zhang, a member of Twitter’s small business team, wrote that “website cards work to turn ordinary tweets into a creative showcase of your website”.

The best part about them is that they’re actually free to use! It’s your choice whether or not to put money behind a card and promote it. That’s where website cards turn into promoted Twitter ads.

Anatomy of a website card

A Twitter website card has four main components: a headline, a 800×320 image, a call-to-action button and the URL of the website you’re driving traffic to. We’re going to break down each element and give you some tips on how to capitalize on every space you’re given.

Here’s an example of a Twitter website card with its main parts (the URL is included with Call To Action button):

Twitter website card

70 character headline

This is where you want to be catchy, catchy, catchy. Or where you directly explain the benefit a user gets when clicking onto your site. Here are some tips when writing a website card headline:

  1. Don’t use all 70 characters if you don’t absolutely have to. Be short and sweet, but still get your message across.
  2. The headline should state exactly what a user gets by clicking that button. Misleading info will just frustrate everyone.
  3. You can choose to accompany the website card with a 140 character tweet. If you do this, don’t repeat information in both the tweet and the card headline. Always give something new.
  4. Seriously. Be concise. Brevity is the soul of wit. And yep, that was a little Shakespeare for you.

 Card image

The image is arguably the most important part of the card. So do your research! Here are some tips in the meantime:

  1. No ambiguous images. Choose one that directly connects with your headline and the website you’re directing people to.
  2. Triple check that the image you chose is high-quality and the right size, or things will get fuzzy and you’ll look unprofessional.
  3. Consider creating an image that has some words included. Take a look at our example above of our winged ‘IR Champ’ logo.
  4. People like to see images of other people interacting with what you’re offering. Example: if you’re a surfboard company, choose a high-quality image of someone overjoyed to be on a surfboard instead of an image of a lonely surfboard lying in the sand.

Call-to-action button

This is where you get them to actually click. Unfortunately with a Twitter card you can’t write your own call to action, but we’d argue that’s the right way to do it. This way you’re forced to be more concise, and as we’ve learned, that’s good. Twitter provides you with almost 20 different options, such as ‘learn more’, ‘visit now,’ ‘register now’, and ‘subscribe’. Time for a few tips!

  1. If you’re promoting your company or investor website, ‘visit now’ is a safe bet. You can also consider creating a Twitter website card for a specific part of your site like a page where users subscribe to your email newsletter.
  2. Again, make sure all parts of the card are connected and make sense. The image needs to relate to the headline which needs to relate to the call-to-action word.

 Website address/URL

This part is straightforward. Make sure you’re including the right URL, especially if it’s for a subsection of your main website.

  1. Triple check your link before you publish the website card. No one likes a broken link, especially if you’re promoting the ad with some dollars.

Final Thoughts:

  1. Try some free website cards first before putting any real money behind them. Test them with your followers to see if the headline makes sense and the image is eye-catching.
  2. Always make sure your Twitter website cards are up-to-date if you’re running them in an ad. Don’t launch a card and forget about it, because as long as you’re paying for it, it will still be out there.
  3. Even if your ad campaign is running for a long time, swap up the images and content. Keep it new and fresh so your audience won’t glaze over the same ad.