Building a consumer electronics brand for the most unlikely of consumers.
Following the acquisition of Jet.com, Walmart approached Sylvain Labs to explore the potential of a new private label brand of tech accessories aimed at a consumer outside the bounds of Walmart’s typical shopper, but squarely in Jet’s playing field—the young, urban, affluent, and tech-proficient. From name to identity, to value proposition, to launch products, everything was on the table. How do you balance the scale and resources of one of the world’s largest retailers with the authenticity and personality of one of the web’s fastest-growing startups to build an authentic, design-driven lifestyle brand?
This project was always about the people. So we began by speaking with aspirational consumers — New York City-based millennials in creative fields — as well as tech and fashion industry experts about what motivates them in life, how they define “good design,” and their point of view on technology and tech accessory products and brands. We supplemented this qualitative research with secondary research on tech and fashion trends, competitive brands and product offerings, and the tumultuous world in which 20 and 30-somethings live today. From this, we developed a sharp point of view on who these people are and a potential role this tech accessory brand could play in their lives.
We crafted a sharp, compelling brand narrative that brought to life the people, the market and cultural opportunity, and the role the brand could play in their lives. In short, it was clear that success is no longer a straight path, it’s a maze of starts and stops, loans and side hustles, lateral moves, and small victories. So they are redefining success, and they are in search of brands, products, and experiences that give them the freedom to make sense of the world and architect their own personal story. This narrative served as the cornerstone of the brand positioning — smart accessories for an untethered world — and was the bedrock for the brand name, brand identity, and product concept development.
With a crystal clear understanding of the brand, its users, and its differentiated role in the world, we brought the brand to life through name, brand voice, and robust brand identity system. Additionally, we hosted an Ideathon™ with a blend of clients, aspirational consumers, and fashion and tech industry experts to develop initial product concepts. These concepts, many of which comprise the initial line of Motile products, were rendered in dynamic sketches and the brand work was used as a filter against which all concepts and designs were evaluated.
Walmart launched Motile just in time for the holidays 2018, exclusively on Walmart.com. The launch included more than a dozen products, including a line of backpacks with embedded 10K mAh wireless chargers, a wireless bluetooth speaker, and QI wireless power banks. Lauded upon the first drop by both fashion and tech bloggers alike, the brand was praised for its “minimalist aesthetic that could rival the Everlanes and Nikes of the world.” The brand has since expanded to include a wireless bluetooth mouse, a portable Apple Watch power bank, and a laptop.