Yesterday a friend of mine came by to pick me up for lunch and noticed a basket I have sitting in my living room. A non-traditional "note pad" basket, she was confused by its form its basket aesthetic. I explained that it was a Longaberger basket, a collectible that and a well-known brand. The confusion lingered. Since receiving the basket from my mother, I have been well aware of the brand and the product's value, however I never considered that others did not know of its existence or worth.
A basket is a basket is a basket. Correct?
At some point most brands live in anonymity, gaining only a small following of dedicated consumers. I would argue, however, that Longaberger has already reached what Seth Godin describes as "the flipping point", a theory based on Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point. Godin describes this moment as being "when the story of a brand or a person or a store or an experience flips in your head and it goes from good to bad, or from ignored to beloved." Gladwell argues that once a product or company has reached its tipping point that it swells beyond the niche market and into the masses. Until yesterday, I thought I was part of the masses that knew of Longaberger. Has the company tipped or do I sit in a strange limbo between the clueless and target consumer?
My friend's questioning of the basket has led me to question how we are introduced to the brands we buy or own and do we have a responsibility to expand the brand's presence?
The Longaberger Company
Based out of Newark, Ohio, The Longaberger Company was founded in 1896 and is America’s premier maker of handcrafted baskets with offerings in a variety of shapes, sizes and functions. Since their founding they have expanded their business to include "home and lifestyle products, including pottery, wrought iron and fabric accessories."
The corporate office is extremely unique and a clear representation of the Longaberger brand.