VSCO Brand Lessons

Oct 31, 2019 • Aaron Goldman

Happy Halloween!

For this year’s costume, I decided to dress up as my daughter who is a proud VSCO girl. She was initially horrified which is exactly the reaction you’re going for on Halloween so chalk up a win for dad. After getting her to come around and take a pic I decided to see if I could make things scarier by turning it into our newsletter theme. Let’s see…

To the uninitiated, VSCO may seem like a passing fad. But it really speaks to the enduring power of brands. What started as a simple photo editing app has turned into a cultural phenomenon featuring full blown fashion requirements.

In this case, though, imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. No, I’m not talking about my costume (although it’s certainly not flattering and I oop) but rather the low tolerance for brand substitution.

Depending on which VSCO starter kit you pick you’ll see the specs call for certain types of shoes (Vans, Crocs, or Birkenstocks) and backpacks (Fjallraven), even chapstick (Burt’s Bees). And don’t come in here with anything other than a Hydro Flask, sksksksksk. About the only thing you can go generic on is scrunchies…just make sure you have a lot of them!

Beyond brand loyalty, the VSCO trend speaks to the importance of core value alignment. While “Save the Turtles” may not appear in 4C Brand Compass, “Wildlife Preservation” does so marketers would be wise to put purpose before profit (see #4 for Gillette here) when targeting this demographic. Now where did I put my metal straw?

Subscribe to the 4C’s Insights newsletter here.