The Family Company

In May, Harley Davidson opened its first Black Label retail store blocks from my home. The turnout forced a street closure. I attended the grand opening and gained a deeper sense of why people traveled great distances to be there.

Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.

My motorcycling life began and ended during a moment in 2005. I had bought and restored a 1965 Vespa VBB, then crashed it into a wall seconds after starting it, narrowly avoiding a truck that was speeding toward me in my lane. While my life on two wheels ended that day, the regard I’ve had for Harley has been lifelong. This isn’t about motorcycle culture, for which I was clearly not cut out, but about the brand’s impressive ability to story.

Harley’s engineering feats aside, much of its success has resulted from its ability to connect with its ideal consumer through marketing and advertising. Harley has wisely used ads to tap into the American spirit that mirrors its beliefs.

This is a brand that truly understands the importance of living and telling its story through every detail.


From day one, Harley has offered something different. It’s a brand for the people. One that understands their dreams and desires. Harley gets that no one rides one of its motorcycles to get from point A to point B – they ride a Harley to feel alive.

For 114 years, the brand has used its story to create the most loyal customer base in the world. Walking through their store the other day, I could see this story flow through every detail.

This became inspiration for a project we have underway at 1000WATT.

Designing the family brand

Our client Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty is a family-owned and operated company whose story lay hidden beneath the decades.
Obviously, the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand itself has advantages. Many recognize this iconic lifestyle brand that stems from tradition, but with a current vibe.

What we were looking for was the story unique to this particular brokerage company. As we dug to find out why agents join Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty and, more importantly, why they stay, we struck gold. More than 250 agents responded to a survey we designed. What they told us was that while tools, training, technology, culture and support rank high, family was the most important for them.

These agents joined because of their interactions with Rand family members. They stayed because they felt supported throughout their careers as family members.

We quickly got to work thinking through the best ways to plant the family story in the world. Our first step: write and design a print piece to bring to life the core values this family was built on and continues to build on.

Theme, words, design

It would have been easy to write the word “family” everywhere and drag the reader into a long-winded Genesis-style story. It would have been easy to craft a set of typical words like honesty, trust or integrity that are either undefined or unbelievable.

But great storytelling requires restraint. So we took a different approach.

We culled a list of characteristics that describe the entire company – leadership, culture, behaviors, services. Then we used those terms to inspire the values that came next.

We decided to present each value on its own card to highlight its individuality.

But we also felt it was important to connect them together as a whole, just like a family. Here’s how it came together:

The cards come together to form the rings of the Rand tree. The years together, the growth, the people, the progress. As each year passes, there is room to add more.

This represents just one piece – one beat of the drum – of a Rand story playing through the company in many ways.

Paying attention to even the simplest details and finding ways to tell your story through each one are the ways brands connect, engage and endure.


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