Learning from Hiut Denim – Valuable Content Award for a story with a heart

by Sonja Jefferson on July 29, 2013

We are massive fans of the Hiut Denim Company and strongly suspect we’re not alone in this – what a story they tell! We are delighted to present them with this month’s Valuable Content Award. Here is why. There is much we can all learn.

A story to fall in love with

I first noticed Hiut on Twitter, enticed by their profile: “Our town is making jeans again.” Intrigued I followed the link to their website and their story unfolded. Their mission is compelling. This is a business with meaning and purpose beyond pure profit.

The Hiut Denim Co was started by David and Clare Hieatt. They make jeans in Cardigan, West Wales. This small town used to have Britain’s biggest jeans factory. It made 35,000 pairs every week for nearly 40 years. Then one day it closed. Clare and David wanted to get their town making jeans again. They want to bring manufacturing back home, to breathe new life into their town. When you buy Hiut you’re not just buying a pair of high quality jeans; you’re saving a town.

It was such a powerful story that the initial demand caught Clare and David totally by surprise. As David said in a BBC article:

“We took six months of orders in the first month and were totally unprepared for the level of interest. We didn’t do any marketing, other than mentioning the product on social media and in a few newspaper articles. We had to shut the website down until we could catch up.”

Content that makes that story fly

Hiut Denim is a business with meaning and an innate ability to communicate. Their story is at the heart of things, and their content makes it fly. Their valuable, inspiring content spread across their website and beyond helps us to find them and turns people like me into passionate advocates for their business.

If you appreciate meaningful content and great design you have to check out the Hiut website. Take a good look around. There’s so much to learn from here, but I’ll pull out a few key things.

1. Grounded in a story. Successful marketing starts with great storytelling. We do keep banging on about this but it’s so important. Every piece of content Hiut creates, collates and shares backs up their story. They answer the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’. It’s clear what they stand for. I trust them, and like them. This matters.

2. Beautifully written copy. Simple, pared back and totally compelling; this company takes care over the words it chooses. Even the titles in the menu are selected to inspire a community – not ‘feeds’ but ‘clubs‘; not ‘links’ but ‘love‘. Writing from the heart.

“The only difference between an audience and a community is how you face the chairs.” Chris Brogan

3. Inspiration, not hard sell. For Hiut, it’s never about the hard sell – through giving value they end up selling more. What they do doesn’t feel like marketing. It just feels natural, and right.

4. A variety of social feeds: Hiut are everywhere – Twitter, Google+, and Instagram – I follow them all and get value from each. They share customer stories, behind the scenes insight into things that they love, articles by those that inspire them. Most of this has nothing to do with jeans. Over time it gives a pictures into what they stand for, as humans, as a business. That’s enough for me.

5. Joining up real world with online. Check out their History Tags idea. Each pair of jeans is tagged with their own unique number. Pop it into their website and you can see footage of your jeans being made and add photos and stories of your jeans over the years. If you ever pass your Hiut’s on, the new owner can tap straight into their history. Genius! Their Year Books extend this idea too. Inspiration online ends up as a beautiful coffee table read and extends the experience.

6. Social media and PR widen their reach. Hiut take their fabulous story wider by using these channels, not advertising.

“If content is your champagne then PR and social can pop the cork!” Hubspot

7. Part of a collaborative community. I notice close links between Hiut and like-minded businesses in their part of the world – Fforest Camp, the amazing Do Lectures, The 25 Mile restaurant, as well as many respected thinkers across the globe. Each promotes the other and everyone benefits.

An exceptional company with a story to fall for and content that extends that experience and makes us love them more. Remember, this is a jeans company. There are many companies making jeans, but Hiut Denim stands apart. Whatever business you are in, you can learn from their approach and inspire loyal customers for life.

Congratulations Hiut Denim, your Valuable Content Award badge is on its way. We love what you are doing. Keep going and good luck. We’re right behind you!

-> You can read more about Hiut Denim’s story and content-fuelled marketing approach here ‘Why we had to start another factory’.

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Sonja Jefferson

Sonja Jefferson is a consultant, writer and founder of Valuable Content. She helps good businesses to create and share great content so they win the business they deserve.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Greg Strandberg August 18, 2013 at 6:13 am

I think content grounded in a story that’s beautifully written will always do well.

I hope we can see some more great content on this site pretty soon!

avatar Sonja Jefferson August 28, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Thanks Greg – totally agree on that one. Hiut’s story is so compelling. I’ve been talking about them to everyone. Even my dad is thinking about buying a pair of Hiut jeans now!

More content coming, having taken time out in August. Watch this space!

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