COPYWRITING AND STRATEGY FOR WEB, EMAIL, PR, MARKETING, PRINT, AND SOCIAL
Ethan Allen was founded in 1932 and rose to fame with early American furniture designs. They innovated the industry by creating the gallery concept, in which furniture is displayed in lifestyle settings, rather than in rows. The association with colonial designs endured long after those lines were discontinued. Additionally, some have incorrectly perceived the brand as conservative and limited in styles.
Classic styles do remain a mainstay; as well as exceptional craftspersonship and 75% North American manufacturing. Ethan Allen also continues to innovate with 3D room planning and a wide array of designs that range from the exotic to thoroughly modern.
To begin rebranding, the voice of Ethan Allen was drastically reimagined. The existing style was heavy with “romance or catalog” copy—flowery, verbose, see/say language that focused on the literal and prescriptive.
I outlined and crafted the new voice with the team with the following characteristics:
• Honor Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
• Be conversational, a tad clever, and always clear
• Tell stories, create experiences, and stimulate the imagination.
With the big caveat: Follow the data. General examples are followed by trends and results.
The social channel was one of the first places the new voice appeared. My use of the term “feelies” sparked lots of debate, yet, as we proceeded with the new tone and voice the clients responded well to it. In addition to positive online engagement, the field anecdotally shared reports of its success.
When I started at Ethan Allen in October 2019 I participated in the transformation of our approach to eCommerce, CRM, partnerships, internal processes, and overall strategy. We were gaining a greater awareness of the existing audience and beginning to expand our reach when the pandemic struck.
Data revealed strong engagement with work that highlighted our clients and guidance with interior decoration.
The 1/8 email was particularly successful.
The Copywriter side of me wishes that creativity, cleverness, and a cool concept could receive most of the glory. Alas, mentioning a juicy percentage off in a subject line, highlighting an offer or showing new products does a great deal of the lifting…but surely not all. The following examples were effective generators on their own and part of overall campaigns that performed well.