We study brands a lot. What to do. What not to do. Which ones get it just right. Which ones miss the mark by a mile. A brand has a lot of moving parts, and when one of those parts breaks down, it can harm the company’s image—sometimes irreparably. Oh, but when a brand gets it all right… It’s magical, isn’t it?

Once in a while, we run across those branding unicorns—the ones that get it just right. Those mind blowing brands are few and far between, and that’s why we decided to feature our favorites as we discover them, starting with Draper James.

If you’re not familiar with Draper James, this lifestyle brand is the brainchild of Southern hospitality personified: Reese Witherspoon. Once you have that bit of knowledge, everything else falls right into place the moment you lay eyes on the products, messaging, and voice. Basically, with every encounter you have with Draper James, you feel like you just heard directly from Reese herself. It’s a master class in brand voice and messaging.

Take a look at this email subject line:

draper james email marketing

Can’t you just hear that phrase flowing from Ms. Witherspoon’s mouth? Rather than shy away from her Southern roots, she embraces them, and then uses them as a foundation for her brand.

The messaging and voice only strengthen the brand image, giving even more power to the products: clothing, shoes, accessories, and home goods awash in Southern imagery like gingham, magnolias, and Dolly Parton.

draper james branding imagery

The Princess of the South pays homage to her Queen.

The Power of Content Marketing

If the branding stopped there, we’d be impressed enough. But Draper James just keeps going. Take a look at the intro to the Love, Reese blog.

draper james content marketing

Right away, she greets her audience as friends and pulls out the epitome of Southern speech: “y’all.” She promises a good time, whether through recommendations for traveling in the South or recipes for leveling up your next party. Then, her blog delivers. Check out the recommendation for visiting St. Simons Island in Georgia. (Full disclosure: St. Simons Island is one of my favorite places in the States, just behind its Golden Isles neighbor, Jekyll Island, so I might have been more excited about this feature than the average person.)

But the blog isn’t all decorating tips and wedding venues. Reese uses her considerable sway to boost other women entrepreneurs whenever possible, proof that women from the South have always been #bossladies.

draper james blog


Stunning Social Media

Perhaps the most fun feature of all Draper James branding is the occasional reference to Reese’s past and present film and television pursuits. Never once does the brand attempt to separate the two, giving fans of the brand and the actress one central spot to connect.

Here’s a blast from the Sweet Home Alabama past:

draper james social media

Following soon after is a feature of her current production partner and co-star, Kerry Washington, wearing the brand.

draper james social media

Bold Brand Imagery

The first impression many receive of any brand is through what they see. Draper James never veers from the sunny, warm, colorful palette they created from the beginning, drawing heavily from the feel of a hot summer day tempered only by a glass of ice-cold sweet tea.

draper james brand imagery

If you look closer, the message expands. Not only does the brand embrace the warmth of the South, but you’ll also see inclusivity. This hero image from the website in its current state features real women—women who look just like the ladies you’d meet at the park or the diner or the library.

draper james brand imagery

With this powerful imagery, Draper James makes it possible for all women to picture themselves wearing the dresses and decorating their homes with copious magnolias, even if they don’t have the Southern accent.

That’s the true power of a knock-out brand and a job well done.

Want to create a brand that’ll blow people’s minds? Maybe brush up your current brand standards so you can start knocking people out, too? Let us know how we can help.