Brand Storytelling at Shinola

Jill Avery, Giana M. Eckhard, Michael Beverland

Publikation: AndetUndervisningscase


Detroit, Michigan, aka “The Motor City,” is known as the birthplace of most of the American classic automotive brands. It is a city filled with the rich history of the industrial age, the pride of American manufacturing, and of the soulful sounds of Motown music. It is also a place more recently known for rustbelt urban decay, with abandoned factories, commercial buildings, and homes covering wide swaths of the city’s neighborhoods, soaring unemployment and homelessness rates, and a sense of despair following the city’s declaration of bankruptcy in 2013, which led to its other nickname, “America’s Warzone”. It was a surprising place to find the headquarters of a new luxury brand.
In November 2019, Shannon Washburn took over as chief executive officer of Shinola, a luxury watchmaker and purveyor of stylized, retro-chic, and hipster-cool products. Several issues awaited her in 2020. A recent expansion of the brand into lower price point timepieces and into the hospitality sector would have to be monitored, and future brand extensions and brand partnership opportunities evaluated to support an evolving lifestyle brand positioning. As the company continued to expand the Shinola brand into U.S. markets beyond its home state of Michigan and into international markets in Europe and Asia, the brand’s story, rooted in Detroit’s imagery, history, and lore, might have to be reconsidered to better appeal to non-American audiences and those not as culturally familiar with and connected to Detroit. Finally, the company found itself the subject of legal and cultural critique. A “RETHINK SHINOLA” movement, sparked by artist Rebekah Modrak, was questioning its commitment to Detroit. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had recently fined Shinola for unfairly claiming that its products were “made in Detroit,” putting its brand storytelling under the microscope
UdgiverHarvard Business School Publishing
Antal sider29
StatusUdgivet - 2020