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How a National Apparel Chain Remains Local
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By Darryl Ohrt

Just stumbled across the Urban Outfitters blog, and received a pleasant surprise that many national or regional brands could take a lesson from.

There are a few things that make this blog unique. Its design is interesting, and appropriate for their brand. It also scrolls sideways - allegedly the first ever side scrolling blog. Both great, but that's not what grabbed my attention.

Urban Outfitters is a national chain of lifestyle and apparel stores. They appeal to hipsters, and as their name suggests, urbanites. Their blog has done a tremendous job of appealing to this nationwide audience, and providing value. All while making a very local connection.

At a quick skim, readers can identify posts related to the store nearest to their neighborhood. Readers can learn about store promotions and events, sure - but also cultural events that are happening in the marketplace. Using tags, a visitor can quickly sort through the posts and view only events, art, music, etc. Urban Outfitters have become local 'cool hunters' for each of the markets where their stores are located. They're providing actual value to potential clients, having nothing to do with the consumer products they sell.

I just discovered an awesome package design art show in New York, that wasn't previously on my radar. I learned something about an event in my local market; something that I have interest in; and that I didn't previously know about. My reaction? I've added a clothing store's blog to my blogroll. And just like that, Urban Outfitters has become a part of my life.

Isn't that what branding is all about?

Darryl Ohrt is the founder of VIA and the chief contributor to BrandFlakesForBreakfast.com.

Darryl Ohrt is the founder of Plaid.
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