A Healthy Brand Helps a Dress Decision

By Lauren Miller | July 12, 2019

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A healthy brand helps. In fact, a healthy brand helped me make a wedding dress decision. I am more convinced than ever that a healthy brand helps everything.

Our decisions are not rational. They’re emotional.

We like to believe that we are in control of our decisions – analyzing facts, assessing prices, comparing features, to ensure we’re making the best decision. The reality is the vast majority of decisions are made subconsciously, driven by shared values and emotional connections. We only rationalize our choice after the decision has been made.

Healthy brands understand this.

79% of Americans claim to have deeper relationships with companies that share similar values. Healthy brands understand this and create a brand experience based on their values. Not just words that live on a website, but core beliefs put into practice. They show why a business exists, how they work, and how they engage customers. 

I recently experienced this first-hand while buying my Winnie Couture wedding dress.

Let’s be clear, I consider myself a very rational person. I was looking forward to sharing an experience with my close friends and family, drinking champagne, eating tacos, and crossing this chore off my to-do list. I was not expecting the emotional process that followed. 

While I’d like to say it was the dress itself that influenced my decision – the silhouette, design, fit, price – in retrospect I see the many connections that the Winnie Couture brand and my amazing stylist, Michelle, created with me and how that contributed to my dress decision.

My Winnie Couture Experience

I received a call from Michelle five days prior to my appointment. She took the time to get to know me, my style, and my wishes so we wouldn’t waste time during my appointment. 

To kick off the appointment, Michelle took a temperature check. She listened to me – how I was feeling, how my other appointments went, and whether anything changed from our prior conversation.

I related to the Winnie Couture brand story.

Winnie, the designer, actually studied and began her career as an architect. As fate would have it, my fiance and I love visiting old, beautiful homes. We appreciate craftsmanship and design and the process of making things that are unique, beautiful, and functional. Just as Winnie does with her dresses.

When Winnie married her husband (and co-founder) she was disappointed by the selection of gowns and the struggle to find a high end, one-of-a-kind, reasonably priced gown. This was me so far! My first visit to a high-end boutique was horrible – the gowns were beautiful but the staff was rude. They wouldn’t listen and made me feel like I didn’t belong. My second appointment was better, but the lower-priced dresses didn’t fit well and did not feel unique or high-end.

After learning a bit about the brand and designer, I was guided through the store. Michelle provided suggestions but I was left free to select any dresses I liked.

I tried on dress after dress after dress. At one point I felt exhausted, confused, and ready to leave. Michelle sensed I was overwhelmed. She calmed me down and, most importantly, gave me time.

After trying on the same dress three times – with zero tears, I swear – I said yes to my Winnie dress.

My gown was custom ordered to fit me perfectly. Even the receipt was handed to me in a beautifully designed folder containing Michelle’s contact information. There was laughter, excitement, and hugs all around.

Remember when I didn’t think this process would be emotional? I was wrong.

My entire dress experience cultivated important emotional connections, like being heard; appreciating quality; a shared love of architectural design and craftsmanship; shared frustrations about the wedding industry; and empathy, that spurred and strengthened my decision to buy.  

We don’t pay much attention to these things as they’re happening. It’s a feeling and a connection you can’t quite articulate. But a healthy brand helps, and I made a happy decision supported by emotional connections, high quality, and positive associations. It felt great! 

I don’t intend on getting married again, but if I do, I know where I’ll go for my dress.

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Author

Lauren Miller

Lauren is all about branding. Coming from a global brand research firm, she brings with her a depth of knowledge on what makes a strong brand. A proud Ohio University alumna, she began filling her well of brand knowledge as a Journalism & Advertising Major, with Minor focuses in business and sociology - you know, because one degree wasn't enough. As the Business Development Manager, she puts her knowledge to good use in speaking with new and potential clients about the importance of building healthy, sustainable brands. Health and sustainable are words she lives by - constantly training for (and complaining about) her next athletic endeavor, be it tackling the icy Lake Michigan waters for a triathlon or jetting to Germany to run a marathon. After years of city-living in Chicago, as an Ohio native, she is so glad to be home, where she enjoys a bit more acreage for her and her English Bulldog and Boston Terrier pups to enjoy.

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