Published on December 1, 2021 at 4:52 p.m.
by Alyssa Thomas
For a brand to be successful and have meaning to consumers, “establish what your brand represents” and follow through with that meaning. Having a strong, expressive brand presence is what resonates with consumers and forms meaningful relationships with the target audience.
That is exactly what Rachael and Shelby Perkins have done with the brand they have built honoring their late father, Ray Perkins.
Ray Perkins, well-known for his college football and coaching careers at The University of Alabama, was more than just a football player and coach. As noted in a recent Crimson White article, he was an inspiration to many and encouraged others to take life head-on. After Rachael and Shelby Perkins lost their father in December 2020, they knew they wanted to create a brand to continue to uphold and share “his legacy” to others.
The meaning behind Eighty Eight
Rachel and Shelby Perkins created and named the brand Eighty Eight after their late father’s uniform number when he played for the Crimson Tide. Eighty Eight sells merchandise such as T-shirts, sweatshirts and stickers that are embellished with motivational messages and encourage consumers to embrace and live life to the fullest.
“When my dad passed away almost a year ago now, I wanted to do something to 1. keep his memory alive, and 2. make a difference in his honor … that’s when Eighty Eight was born,” explained Rachael Perkins.
The sisters knew they wanted to make a difference in the world just like their dad did, so they created something more than just a brand. Shelby Perkins noted, “We want Eighty Eight to be much more than a brand; we strive for it to be a movement.”
Eighty Eight officially launched in October 2021, and it has become a place of comfort and positive experience for consumers. Both Rachel and Shelby asserted that they wanted Eighty Eight to be “a place for consumers to know they aren’t alone in their struggles and hope everyone walks away with a feeling of comfort knowing they aren’t alone.”
The two sisters have made an effort to build meaningful relationships with their audience since the brand launched. In order to reach their target publics, the two have utilized social media to shape their goals and strategies.
Rachael Perkins elaborated about how they focus on using their social media appearance, not for the sales, but for a place of community and inspiration for their consumers and audience. “We use social media to interact with our audience by doing questionnaires, talking about hard subjects like grief & mental health, and posting quotes for people to relate to,” she said.
Shelby Perkins further detailed aspects of this relationship-building process. “We decided that we also wanted to do a video series on our social media platforms to give our audience the opportunity to share their story with the world,” she explained.
She added, “We love when brands are personal and make you feel special, so we focus on that aspect as much as we can.”
One way the Eighty Eight creators have added a personal touch to their brand is by handwriting each consumer’s name on their package before it is shipped to them. The sisters said they do this to make each consumer feel loved and wanted.
The brand-building process
While first creating Eighty Eight, the Perkins sisters worked closely with Aurrie Hicks of Hopson Rae Branding and Marketing. Together, the three built the brand. Hicks helped create Eighty Eight’s brand identity, including the look and feel, color palette, logo design, typography, brand patterns and other pertinent brand elements. Hicks went into detail about an eight-step process she used to help produce the brand.
“I start with an in-depth questionnaire to help set the direction and foundation of the client’s desires for the brand. There are probing questions that help to identify what the client hopes to achieve with the brand look and feel,” stated Hicks.
Hicks continued, “From there, I create a mood board, design several concepts, then finalize the selected concept and create accompanying patterns and other elements for the client to use across its social media, website, printed materials and more.”
Using the eight-step process, Hicks helped Eighty Eight find its brand identity and essence. Hicks agreed with the sisters’ description of the brand’s impact on its consumers. “Eighty Eight is a place of inspiration, love, hard conversations, feelings and vulnerability. By honoring their dad, they want to welcome consumers to tell their own stories and be a place of comfort during hard times,” said Hicks.
The brand itself is more than just a logo or place of sales; it is about a legacy of a person that meant a lot to many people. “He lived each day like it was his last. He knew life was short, so he took advantage of it. He made it his own and made everyone he knew feel loved. He is the complete identity of our brand,” said Shelby.
The legacy Ray Perkins left behind is the essence and identity that have been instilled into the brand. The brand identity of Eighty Eight is what resonates with its consumers. The efforts that Eighty Eight has implemented to interact and connect with its audience are what has helped it build lasting relationships with its consumers.