Based on a supposed wood figurine desginer (Karl Kahl) from the east of Germany…
For centuries, the family-owned workshop of the Kahl family has produced the most marvellous wooden figurines in the region famous for their craftsmanship. Neither the socialist regime nor the sudden change to a capitalist system after 1989 could bring down tradition and passion for carved wood in the Kahl family. Having survived innumerous obstacles, it was high time to make the Kahl figurenes as renown as they ought to be.
And what better way was there to communicate the extraordinary skills of Karl Kahl and his sons and daughters to a global audience then a custom-made digital strategy?
This is how they did it…
A wood carver starting from scratch – you might think
When our agency first sent me to Mr. Kahl’s workshop I have to admit that I was absolutely reluctant. I really tried to evade this project as I could not imagine a less promising mandate. Some wood carver in the hills outside Dresden needed digital advice and a strategy. How could that lead to an interesting project?
I was taught better from the first moment I set foot on the company area.
From neat and modern buildings with a quite wealthy look and several trucks setting off os et big boxest o the view inside the workshop: this was a healthy company obviously exporting in large numbers.
Getting to know Karl Kahl that day was a revelation to me. This seventysomething years old gentleman not only knew how to fabricate the most delicate figurines the way his ancestors did for kings and queens 200 years ago. He was also as eager to know about ideas and posibilities in the digital area as I have not experienced before or after. Therefore it was a really rewarding job to set up the digital strategy for this company.
The very strong and clear brand identity and logo was so much identifying the family, their work, their way to make business that we just had to evolve this into the digital age and ist possibilities.
The goal fort he campaign was set by the company owner anyhow:
„We want to sell our art to connaisseurs from Australia to Iceland while anyone interested in decoration should crave for the possibility to own one of our figurines.“
The static website of the company was set up to be the centre of our digital focus and the centre of our digital strategy as the main purpose was to bring customers form around the globe to Karl Kahl and his very exclusive craftsmanship. Responsive, search engine friendly and packed with content about past and present of the company. Several regularly changing or renewing areas such as news, making of-videos and a customer club area were integrated. The last was the one part which we established to create a post purchase relationship between company and customer as many oft he customers become collectors.
The onlineshop included in the website was redesigned and now offered several opportunities to customize figurines, order special editions or even custom editions based on fotos sent tot he workshop.
Leading to the now relaunched Website, we setup different social media pages focussing on the artistical value and skill represented in the workshop.
By an instagram-account for the design team at Kahl’s combined with a pinterest-site and dribble, we achieved not only fame for the designers educated traditionally but also attracted new product designers, ideas and contributions from around the globe. This way, a fresh input lead to a new figurine series, even stars in Hollywood are proud to posess.
Through this, a goal was achieved, we were not believing to be realistic: create new customer groups for the somehow ancient art of wood carving.
The channels we were very cautious with were youtube, facebook and twitter. The issue here was and still is to keep the brand traditional and exclusive but also appear on these digitial stages and to occupy the niche of exclusive wood carvings from Saxonia.
We tried to solve this in the way that we ignored twitter and used facebook and youtube in a one directional way. This way we tried to establish the sensation of a brand unreachable for normal customers who are only allowed to witness the marvelousness of the figurines.
Some involved in the digital strategy both inside the company and in our agency were not at all happy with this approach. But the effect shows that the decision was right: Our numbers tell us, that Karl Kahl is now the most famous, credible and exclusive brand in its niche.
Still, there ought to be another way less aloof than ignoring the global audience to establish exclusiveness.
I would really like to hear about your opinion on exclusive brands and the digital accesibility. Did you experience a similar obstacle? How did you solve it? Please comment and discuss!