Burrow

Independent Study

How might we introduce the 'Casper of couches' to Middle America?

 
 

Independent study is a semester-long project for a live client. Each student is responsible for securing a client and working with them to solve a business problem. I partnered with Burrow, a young NYC-based home furnishings brand.

The ask: Help Burrow grow awareness outside their core markets of NYC & LA.

The problem: The brand doesn’t have a clear image to enter new markets with.

The solution: A brand platform that unites Burrow’s benefits under one singular, compelling image.

 
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Background

Founded in 2017 and known by some as the ‘Casper of couches,’ Burrow is a direct-to-consumer brand focused on building clever, quality furniture. The sofa startup sells modular and easy-to-assemble seating that ranges from armchairs to king sectionals, and they’ve recently expanded with a line of pillows and throws. The Burrow sofa was named one of TIME’s best inventions of 2018.

Situation

Burrow’s modular furniture is perfect for transient young adults, renters, and families who live in metropolitan areas. While the brand is making a splash among nomadic millennials and city dwellers, awareness is primarily concentrated in larger urban areas. As the company grows, they’re focusing on increasing awareness in markets away from the coasts.

Challenge

Extremely fragmented messaging has led to a convoluted brand image.

By highlighting every possible benefit, Burrow is trying to be everything to everyone. People don’t have a clear idea of who Burrow is, and the brand doesn’t have a clear image to enter new territories with.

 
 

Objective:

Unite Burrow’s benefits under one singular, compelling brand image before entering new territories.

 
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Key findings:

01. Style and convenience are king.

“We liked the portability of Burrow and the fact that we could make it in different sizes if we moved.”

“I chose Burrow for the look and style.”

“I bought it for the modular design, because it could be moved in pieces and assembled once there.”

02. Burrow represents a milestone in life.

“I am at the point in my 20’s where I need to start buying nice things instead of low-price/quality stuff from IKEA.” (Law student)

“We wanted a bigger sofa since we were having a second kid.” (Nurse & mother of 2)

“I moved into a larger studio for work.” (Manicurist)

 

03. The future is full of possibility.

“We’re still renting, making a little more money now, may not permanently stay at this job.”

“I moved to a new city away from home, lots of exciting possibilities.”

“Just the place I am in life-wise has a certain impermanent lifestyle.”

04. Most furniture feels too permanent.

“It’s an investment. It’s not something disposable.”

“I’m apprehensive about investing in a new piece of furniture because I don’t know if I’ll be able to use it in the future.”

95% of people say that buying furniture feels like a commitment.

 

Takeaway:

Although this group is stepping up and excited about making an investment, they’re hesitant to make decisions that feel too permanent.

 

 

Consumer truth

When your whole future is ahead of you, you don’t want to feel like your furniture is holding you back.

Brand truth

Burrow adapts to your style, your space, and your lifestyle.

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Positioning:

Beautiful home furnishings that adapt to your life.

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Strategy:

Show Middle America that Burrow goes with their style and their life.

Three strategic pillars:

01. Be strategic about what you say.

02. Be strategic about where you go.

03. Be strategic about how you engage.

 

 

01. Brand communications

Goal: Align existing materials with new positioning.

Bring adaptability to the forefront on Burrow’s website, social channels, and ads on social. Before we can expand into new markets, we need to ensure that all of the brand’s assets & messaging are centered on the core idea of adaptability. Simple tweaks to the homepage, social media posts, and Instagram ads create a more cohesive brand image.

Updated homepage

Clear brand beliefs

 
 
 

Updates for social

 
 

 

02. Target markets

Goal: Enter markets with the largest amount of people who have the highest likelihood of being interested in the brand.

Decision criteria:

  • Total population in target demographic

  • Search interest within the state (based on Google Trends & AdWords)

  • Growth among target population in-state

Columbus, OH Indianapolis, IN Minneapolis, MN Kansas City, MO Denver, CO

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03. Engagement

Goal: Engage with current & future consumers in meaningful ways.

Expand showrooms

Burrow partners with co-working spaces to give customers a chance to see their furniture in person. These showrooms work great for nudging customers over from consideration to purchase, but there’s a missed opportunity to use them as an awareness tool. Burrow can leverage their showroom program by expanding from co-working to coffee shops & apartment complexes— places that our target audience frequents earlier in the purchase funnel.

Coffee shops

 

Apartment complexes

 

Update partnerships

Currently, Burrow partners with influencers on social media to give followers a chance to win free products. By moving away from social media giveaways and pursuing more intentional partnerships, Burrow can work with brands that help build brand equity and create awareness.

Exclusive pillow line with Target

 

Burrrow x Lyft seat cusions

 
 
 
 

From → To

Coastal awareness → National awareness

Functional benefits → Emotional benefit

Fragmented messages → Cohesive brand image

Final Thoughts

I’m proud of this project because I got to own every aspect of the process and help a newer brand during a period of growth. I was excited to partner with a brand that was was born to solve a consumer need, and I hope that this work helps them to better reach the people they serve.

 
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Team:

Though this was an independent project, I’m forever grateful for my wonderful peers and advisors who kept me (mostly) sane, provided guidance, and shared their thoughts & snacks with me.