“How did we get to this place of disconnectedness”? asks Al Perkins of Costa Sunglasses

Yesterday morning, Al Perkinson, VP of Costa Sunglasses was our guest speaker. For those of us in attendance, we greatly enjoyed and benefited from his presentation: “Growing Your Brand Through Community Based Marketing”. If you were not able to attend, we don’t want you to be left out. Here are a few key highlights for you:

Al asks us at the outset:

“How did we get to this place of disconnectedness”?

He shared stories of trips to Europe where one can still visit a village where the locals know their butcher,  baker,  fishermen, and the farmer(s) who grew the vegetables being sold in the local market…

Somewhere along the way, many nations of the world became industrialized and we stopped making and buying goods for and from people we knew. We became disconnected from the things all around us.

Al asserts that at a fundamental level, we humans all want to have personal relationships. He gives an example of Airbnb whose mission is to eliminate strangers. Their whole business model is based around connecting people around the world.

For marketers, how do we connect people?

Hands of young people close up on sunny nature background


We are told to first separate out our brand strategy and our communication strategy.

For our brand strategy, we need to determine: what are our values? What drives us? Once that is clarified, we can then take care of how we will communicate our values.

Al shared that their team at Costa Sunglasses sought to study long-standing  brands that they respected such as Harley Davidson and Jack Daniels. What they found were a few traits that all of these successful companies had in common.

1.The main thing was authenticity. These companies keep it real.

2. The next common trait was connecting with who their core followers are. Once you find out who believes in you and your brand, you let that core following co-create your brand with you!

3. Ask yourselves: What is your higher purpose? Making money is great, but most of us these days desire a greater purpose (than just profit) and to make the world a better place. How are you and your brand going to achieve your higher purpose for the greater good?

Mr. Perkinson has an answer for us. The solution is community based marketing.

How does community based marketing work? Our guest speaker begins by drawing a contrast from the old school, traditional style of marketing which imbues a rather militaristic and adversarial approach of segmenting, targeting and capturing… (you get the idea).

Community based marketing is all about as a brand, finding and joining your community. The key words here are a move towards being transparent, open, and collaborative (not words likely to be used on a battlefield).


Costa Sunglasses found their community: the fishing community. They entered into a relationship with this community not by trying to sell them anything, but by asking questions. They sought out and connected with the leaders. They had many one to one conversations. They joined in celebrations and helped when needed (without being disruptive with an agenda of their own).  Costa learned about what was important to this group of people; what was their higher cause. As it turns out, when you make your living fishing, natural resources are highly important. Costa did what they could to support this cause of conservation as well.

No matter what our industry and niche is, we can all apply these lessons of community based marketing. They are very simple and if we go back to our own teams at work and ask the right questions- quite doable.

We would like to thank Al Perkinson and Costa Sunglasses for this inspirational and informative presentation.