Posted on July 12 2018
The North Shore of Oahu has more world class surf breaks in one area than anywhere else in the world. I’m sure you have seen the giant waves there before, whether through media outlets, or talked about through legends. Every year the world’s best surfers travel to these massive waves to get barreled, break records, and make history. However, if the waves aren’t big enough, not impressive enough, then the surfers don’t show. And if the surfers don’t show then the crowds, photographers, fans, and media don’t show either. MAIN POINT: The sport of Surfing has built a community around the idea of riding the BEST quality waves in the BEST quality conditions in the BEST locations… And then there is the surfing world of Ben Gravy.
Ben Gravy has done something unique in the surfing world – he has brought fame and glory to riding SMALL waves – borne in typically marginal conditions.
Do you know who Ben Gravy is? If you don’t surf, then chances are you probably have no idea who he is, BUT, if you DO surf, then you know exactly who I am talking about. Ben Gravy has done something unique in the surfing world – he has brought fame and glory to riding SMALL waves – borne in typically marginal conditions. He is from New Jersey, where wave conditions vary from incredibly inconsistent to nonexistent. Despite this obstacle, Ben Gravy managed to DESIGN a “novelty” movement that has attracted an enormous following in the surfing community; a tribe of SMALL wave surfers who revel in their mediocrity, (who have been ignored by mainstream surfing since its existence). And so, his tribe is born.
Designing a community around your brand is just as important as the brand itself- In fact, it IS your brand.
What Gravy has done is designed a community. Designing a community around your brand is just as important as the brand itself- In fact, it IS your brand. The community surrounding your business are your number one fans, your biggest consumers, your target audience. Creating a community is like forming a family- You need to love them, comfort them, give them what they need, address their problems, and give them gifts. For example, Ben Gravy makes a surf video EVERYDAY and addresses his fans, EVERYDAY. He shows commitment to his community by RECOGNIZING them every day- with a smile on his face and small yet glorious surfing victories, EVERYDAY.
You may be wondering, “what does this have to do with design?”. The answer is: It has everything to do with DESIGN. See, design takes many forms- Designing a community for yourself is one of them. It is up to you to strategically DESIGN for your community, to show them what they want to see- what embodies them. For example, Gravy has a branding symbol (a pineapple) that identifies his work, and even though it isn’t a particularly unique symbol, it is readily identifiable to his followers. It fits his vibe- it fits his tribe. DESIGN, BRANDING, AUDIENCE, COMMUNITY- These are all under the same umbrella, (or should we say cabana?), when it comes to strategically designing for your brand.
Pretty gnarley, huh?
PS. If you are interested in seeing Ben Gravy in action - Check him out on his YouTube Channel. Ben, if you read this, my Boyfriend is obsessed with your videos. You are a real legend in our household, like many other households I’m sure. (Nub Nation for the win).