Leonard Van Buren in Berlin wrote us last week to ask if Wallstreet Kingdom was the result of our Primal Branding methodology. We don’t know if we’re being punked, but we checked it out anyway.
The Dutch-based elite luxury house of WallStreet Kingdom was established in October 2008 by designer Christian Adriaanse (pronounce: Adrians). Adriaanse and the brand goes straight for the power grabbing greed angle of Wall Street as deftly as American Apparel’s Dov Charney goes for the sex angle, claiming an “appreciation for Wall Street, capitalism and entrepreneurship in general”.
WallStreet Kingdom’s $500 “Stripes of Pride” shirts sport the vertical stripes and white collar sometimes seen in the financial houses.
Primal Branding builds communities around a belief system that includes seven critical elements: creation story, creed, icons, rituals, lexicon, nonbelievers, and leader.
This creates the brand narrative that defines the brand—including brand vision, strategic positioning, product design and development, even communications.
Our systemized brand engineering goes through what we call the primal code. While many marketers operate some pieces of code mentioned above, it’s the constellation of all pieces working together that creates that head-snapping WOW moment most brands struggle to achieve. It’s what differentiates Nike from also-rans, Starbucks from Seattle’s Best, YouTube from Vimeo.
Although we are geographically unable to visit WallStreet Kingdom’s Europe-based retail locations, we did take a look at their web site. There’s an extensive story on the site that covers WK’s beginnings. And like many creation stories, it is a story against all odds and the world at large. Starting during the onslaught of the 2008 recession, when retail was frying pan flat.
“The timing couldn’t be worse yet couldn’t be better. It was the moment.,” pipes Christian Adriaanse. “The moment to launch the most luxurious fashion brand in the world. My dream for years. Not cowardly looking for other ways…Stripes of Pride. Celebrating capitalism. Promoting happiness and supporting freedom. Calling my brand WallStreet Kingdom.”
There are plenty of opportunities for a credo, from Stripes of Pride to flamboyant “the most luxurious fashion brand in the world”.
The other parts of a belief system are easy enough to find. Any reader can identify them on the WK site.
The interesting thing is that Adriaanse pinpoints the object of any belief system—that is, to create community, and a group of people who feel they not only believe, but belong.
“Whether you’re living in New York, Tokyo or London, Shanghai, Moscow or Dubai,” writes Christian Adriaanse. “You are connected. We are connected…Wearing WallStreet Kingdom and showing its distinct black-gold features actually says ‘I agree’ and ‘I belong’.”
Whether or not Wallstreet Kingdom succeeds or not is still a question mark. But like Ecko, American Apparel and other upstart brands, it has the right marketing mechanics in place to succeed. It just might become a primal brand.