Storytelling Weekly – #010 Tangent GC

I’m a “shower lover,” meaning…

– I really enjoy taking hot steaming baths

– I refuse to get in bed without showering first

And most importantly…

– I do most of my creative thinking in the bathroom

Yeah, I brainstorm most of my email ideas while taking baths. And this is why the fragrance of my body wash matters a lot.

If it’s too light… it’s dull.

If it’s too strong… it’s suffocating.

So far, the most memorable ones are from Tangent GC.

Recap of Storytelling Weekly

Before diving in, here’s a quick recap for newcomers just tuning in to my One Story A Week Series. 

  • Once a week, I’ll find an interesting brand to study.
  • I’ll break down what I like about their storytelling techniques.
  • Then, I’ll show you how to utilize these techniques in email.
Full Disclaimer

I don’t have any insider info or access to their account. So, I’m writing based on studying their website, interviews, and emails. However, I don’t have proof of earning claims or results of specific campaigns.

Now, there won’t be any “hard selling” in this series, but – 

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Brand Introduction

Ecommerce Email Marketing - TGC Logo

Tangent GC didn’t start with body care.

Instead, TGC started with garment care – which explains the GC part of their brand name. 

According to the founder, David Samuelsson – 

The brand was inspired by his grandfather, who was a chimney sweep yet maintained an elegance in his wardrobe.

The seeding idea:

“We want to extend the life of clothing and shoes through non-mass-produced, chemical-free products.”

Storytelling Tactics

Now, I love the About page of Tangent GC.

Instead of leading with “me, me, me…”

It leads with an interesting story about the founder’s grandfather.

  • How he was a chimney sweep in profession
  • How he did not own many clothes
  • How he knew how to care for these clothes
In the beginning

My grandfather, chimney sweep by profession, could sometimes come across as a bit coarse. He was, nonetheless, meticulous when it came to his wardrobe and dressed with a certain degree of elegance.

He did not own many clothes, but the clothes he did have he knew how to care for. His Sunday best was brushed down after use, his collars starched, and his trousers pressed. When out of his wingtips, he made sure to put shoetrees in them and followed this up with contemplative greasing and polishing. His garments somehow seemed engrained – not just worn; perhaps because he wore his apparel long enough to leave marks on it. Not the other way around.

Somewhere along the way we stopped caring ­– presumably when mass produced, cheap, and oftentimes deficient, clothing was introduced. Due to wear and tear the mere idea of garment care seemed distant. And this came to pass over the course of just one generation or two.

Nowadays though, when quality of fabric and pattern making – the passion for craftsmanship –­ is of interest once more, so is the need for proper care. In the light of this we are set to provide a superior range of garment care products, not emanating from the chemical industry or flung off conveyor belts, but products that will naturally and effectively give your garments a long life.
Source: Tangent GC About Page

This story does a lot of things.

1) It entertains the reader (rapport)

2) It implants new beliefs (presell)

3) It triggers a memory (identity)

The memory of our grandfather – the IDENTITY we look up to when we were young. This emotional connection is so powerful that it can sell anything without going into the features or benefits.

This is one of the best techniques for selling premium products.

If you want to justify a premium price… a price that is much higher than your competitors… then:

You have to build an emotional connection – using storytelling – between your product and the reader’s identity.

At the end of the day, the best marketing always leverages IDENTITY.

(just like the case studies I wrote about previously: Last Crumb, Snow Peak, the Marlboro Man, and more)

Email Tip of The Week

Unlike many of my previous case studies…

I’m a real customer (and fan) of Tangent GC.

So, I know firsthand what it’s like using their product. 

The smell is truly unique!

And that’s why…

While I love the story on their About page… I think there are opportunities in their product page.

Let’s look at one of their product descriptions:
(a product that I’ve personally tried)

TGC305 fir body wash

TGC305 fir is a perfumed organic body wash — crafted with pure vegetable oils. The Siberian fir, native to the taiga east of the Volga, smells compelling where it stands. Pressed between your fingertips, the needles release a balsamic wood aroma as well as a resounding top note with crisp, fleeting pinene.

Organic and vegan.
Cruelty free.
Made in France.

Volume
350 ml.
Ingredients
Aqua, Potassium Cocoate, Glycerin, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Parfum, Potassium Olivate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Sodium Chloride, Abies Sibirica Oil,  Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil, Limonene.
Source: Tangent GC Website – TGC305

Now, this is decent copy.

It tells you all the most important features: organic, ingredients, and aroma.

But I’m craving for more storytelling.

For example – 

Here are two from J. Peterman – the king in storytelling description:

The B-15B Flight Jacket

DETAILS
In the Spirit of Pushing Limits.
 
A faithful reproduction of an original WWII U.S. Air Force issue B-15B flight jacket.
Designed for utility, for warmth, for altitude. For pushing the limits of courage.
This is the bomber jacket of the day, with the asymmetrical zipper at front and one utensil pocket on the sleeve. Constructed with an extra sense of individualism, an extra sense of interventionist independence at a time when we all needed to believe.
 
The B-15B Flight Jacket (No. J7828). Classic bomber with a exceptionally warm faux fur collar. Traditional nylon sateen shell and lining. Poly-filled interior for extra warmth. Two exterior snaps and two on the inside. Leather patch at wearer’s left chest, made for a pilot to clip things to it—radio cords, oxygen tubes, any other in-flight essentials. Rib cuffs and hem. Shoulder darts. Trapunto-stitched storm guard at neck. Imported.
Source: J. Peterman Website – B-15B Flight Jacket

And…

Lightweight Fireman’s Jacket

DETAILS
The Lightweight Fireman’s Jacket.
 
Inspired by coats worn bravely by firemen through the decades.
You owned one like it in the ‘90s but lost it that year you moved to Boulder with Alys. Luckily, it wasn’t as easy to lose track of her. (Twenty years and counting.)
You’ll appreciate the vast exterior pockets and the raglan sleeves that give you room to move, but the real headliner here is a series of heavy duty quick-release metal lobster clips that close the storm flap.
Zero fumbling and fussing.
Good looking, functional, interesting.
You’ll hang this one on the hook by the door.
Alys will borrow it, too.
 
Lightweight Fireman’s Jacket (No. J8155). Lightweight, durable, 100% cotton twill jacket. Metal snaps at center front closure (underneath functional storm flap). Suede reinforcements anchor the noteworthy quick-release lobster clips. Corduroy reinforced collar and cuffs. Two vast exterior pockets and one interior patch pocket. Water resistant finish on the fabric (not waterproof but stands up to a light drizzle). Imported.
Source: J. Peterman Website – Lightweight Fireman’s Jacket

Notice the difference?

J. Peterman uses storytelling to connect an identity to each of their products – boosting your desire and making the price irrelevant.

I believe every premium store should consider doing something similar.

Conclusion

When it comes to selling, the starting point is always:

feature > benefit > result

But if you want to take your marketing to the next level, it’s no longer enough to focus on the ingredients (or benefits).

You must find a way to hinge your product to an identity that your best prospects want.

The most effective way is storytelling.

(story + emotion + word painting = irresistible copy)