Surf and lifestyle brand Maui and Sons has employed a brand strategy and design positioning that has allowed it to thrive in a fickle market for three decades. Jeremy Owen reports on the Californian cultural icon.
Surfing as an industry is relativity young, but as an activity and lifestyle its roots go back to the ancient island dwelling societies of the Pacific, whose denizens paid homage to their gods of the oceans via the act of ‘wave-sliding.’ Today these rites have been transformed into an international multi-billion dollar industry, the perfect foundation for a commercial enterprise, its potent mix of athleticism, personal expression and spiritualism within a dramatic theater of geophysical elements inspiring strong passions in its enthusiasts.
An emotive element is vital for any successful brand and so in surfing creating a successful brand looks almost guaranteed but as a culture it is notoriously fickle and is dominated by fashions and trends; start-ups with a fresh outlook can rise quickly while the most established brand can fall out of favour almost overnight. To be successful a brand must be considered as being ‘core’ to the market.
Above all the brand’s existence must demonstrate authenticity by putting the sport before commercial activity. This is naturally ensured via a commitment to supplying the best products possible but is also found in activities that give back to the sport, such as event creation, development of new talent via sponsorship or CSR initiatives, in particular ocean related environmental issues.