I Live Lokai and Here’s Why

It’s early 2016. Chances are, if you live in a big city, you’ve met at least one person who has this bracelet:

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What is it? It’s a Lokai. Both a new brand, and the official name of that brand’s bracelet, these guys are the talk of the town these days in the branding world and fashion communities alike. Lokai bracelets are comprised of clear rubber “beads,” with one white bead and one black bead on either end. The white bead contains a tiny drop of water from Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth, while the black one contains a bit of mud from the Dead Sea, our world’s lowest locale. The general idea behind this contrast is that we can use this bracelet as a reminder to stay hopeful in times of turmoil, but to also stay humble when we’re feeling unstoppably high. In fact, Lokai coined a simple, catchy tagline, “Stay Humble, Stay Hopeful,” which is a memorable and terse way of iterating their very simple, very meaningful message. Skeptical about the sourcing of the special beads? Not to worry, Lokai’s got you covered. On their official website, there’s an entire section dedicated to authenticity – you can see a series of breathtaking images and a video depicting a few sherpas’ trek up Everest to get just enough water for the bracelets (which is a lot of water, when thinking of the scale!).

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What’s better is that Lokai releases limited edition bracelets every few months – there’s no method to their madness (that’s publically revealed, anyhow), and no way to know for sure when they’re releasing a new color, or how long it will be around. The best part, in addition to being able to add a physical variety to your collection, is that each limited edition bracelet goes to a worthy cause. In 2015 alone, Lokai had a camouflage bracelet for the World Wildlife Federation and a blue bracelet for charity: water (an organization dedicated to bringing clean drinking water to developing countries). They ended the year with a rather festive red bracelet for Save the Children (and hey, subliminally the Holiday season), and also had a pink bracelet for Susan J. Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer organization. Each special edition bracelet includes a partial donation to the chosen charity, and an even better reason to become part of the Lokai community, much like a charitable yet trendy business model before them from the Warby Parker’s and Tom’s shoes of the world.

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Lokai has done everything right because they’re not just selling a rubber bracelet, they’re selling a lifestyle. Their Twitter handle is “Live Lokai,” as is their Facebook page and their hashtag. This hashtag hits on the most crucial way to appeal to a millenial audience – experiential marketing that makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger. Yes, Lokai is an $18 piece of rubber when you think about it from a hyper-rational perspective. But it’s also a symbol of a community. A group who embodies free-spirit and thrives on adventure. Lokai is symbolic of people who get excited by the prospect of new experiences, and live to share their stories with the world. From subtleties like, “Join the Lokai Circle,” as their chosen copy for a phrase more oft labeled, “Subscribe to our Newsletter,” to more obvious  ways to establish community, Lokai has worked hard to build a brand from the ground up (quite literally, Dead Sea, up!) and used social media to their advantage in doing so.

A lot of Lokai’s traction comes from Instagram – everyone loves a pretty photo, especially when it’s of some land unknown. We want to go there. We want to see that. It’s in every recent publication and all research points to the obvious – we want a life filled with new experiences. Forget about the days of new cars and fancy houses. Sure, that stuff is still cool, but you know what’s cooler? A spontaneous trip to the Galapagos Islands with 5 of our closest friends. Riding a camel through the Moroccan desert. Cage Diving with sharks in South Africa. Taking a Thai cooking class actually in Thailand. These are some of the new aspirations, and Lokai does an excellent job of hitting the nail on the head when it comes to marketing that desire. Their Instagram feed is full of foreign fantasy lands, beautiful images that look surreal when we see them on Google. We question the reality of photos like these, because of Photoshop and other picture enhancers that reshape the digital photography landscape and alter our sense of reality. But Lokai’s photos on Instagram include, of course, the Lokai bracelet – a way to ground a viewer and let them know that the images they see before them are in fact, quite real, and more times than not, they’re also user-generated. The Lokai community can click a chosen photo, which is always given credit, and find it’s photographer to be yet another fan, another traveler, another human being who lusts for adventure just like they do.

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Their business model is brilliant. Simple. Smart. I live Lokai because I believe in their message, and I 100% embody their exact target audience. If you don’t yet live Lokai but like what you see, I definitely recommend checking them out!

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The Importance of Reconnecting

I’ve always been a firm believer of sending out those “Hey, remember me?” messages..no matter how awkward it may seem at first. And of course, you’ll have to be a little more creative than that if you’re trying to get any sort of message across.

Earlier today as I was scrolling through Twitter pages for PR Firms/Agencies to follow (and potentially places to apply for internships next summer..always thinking ahead!)…I came across a greek name that sounded so familiar. A name, much like my last name, that’s both hard to remember and hard to forget. And above all, hard to spell.

So I clicked on this Greek girl’s account and assumed that with over 5,000 followers, it belonged to just another PR Firm I’d heard of way back when. Maybe someone from my high school years above me had an internship there or something. And maybe the Twitter page went by the name of the CEO, rather than X Agency, Y Communications LLC, or Z Public Relations.

Well, the first thing I did was read her bio…still no light bulb had gone off. Once I reached the end of her terse information section I clicked the link to her webpage (MSM Public Relations) and read her “About” section. Within the first 15 seconds I had my aha moment…I shadowed this girl, Margo, when I was just a freshman in high school.

At the time, Margo wasn’t much older than I am. This was probably her first job after college. I was lucky enough to be close family friends with one of her bosses, Jacqueline Precious. She worked as the Merchandise Director at SoHo Fashion. Margo was SoHo Fashion’s publicist..which meant that she was in charge of maintaining positive PR. I remember her calling several magazines to feature SoHo’s products, in addition to contacting celebrities’ personal stylists (Vividly remember her speaking to Rihanna’s) asking them to “do lunch” so they can discuss Celeb X wearing SoHo outerwear Y in Z magazine.

Watching Margo work gave me my first exposure to PR, and I knew right then and there that I’d like to do something similar some day. Now she founded her own Public Relations Firm and is a producer for the Wendy Williams Show. Branching out to telecomm shows how versatile the industry is.

So about half an hour ago I decided to send Margo an email. While the natural progression of this post would probably lead me to saying something like “Reconnecting is so great..now she offered me an internship!” the truth is she hasn’t responded yet. I’m too impatient to wait for that…

But even so, I’ve rekindled a useful connection. I can ask her if they’re hiring for next summer later on this year or do an externship over Winter Break. She can get me in contact with other important people in the industry. It’s basically all about building connections. Reconnecting = another form of Networking.

On another note, I also reconnected with another old friend today–in the spirit of stumbling upon Margo’s new company.  At my younger sister’s graduation I ran into the elderly woman who lived next-door to my childhood home. Her granddaughter was in my sister’s class. Seeing her reminded me of another granddaughter of hers, who’s my age. When Kacie used to visit her grandma, she really came over to my house to play, up until about 3rd grade. So I found this girl on Facebook, crafted a message that would remind her of who I am in as minimally creepy of a way possible, and realized she’s a sister of the same sorority as I am, TriDelta. Funny coincidence!

Moral of the story: never be afraid to reach out to someone from the past, no matter how long ago it may feel. The worst thing that can happen is that they don’t remember you (but who would actually admit that?). At least you tried!

xox