Meet the fast talking Spaniard who has, over the past two years, built our brand identity with passion – Carolina Arraiza.
We sat with Caro, and she took us through the key ingredients of great branding, what brings her unparalleled joy, and why her latest trip has got her hitting the snooze button.
Please state your name, place of origin and occupation for the record:
Carolina Victoria Arraiza Careaga (my folks love a good telenovela). Pamplona, Spain. Brand Director at Grana.
As brand director, what’s a day in your shoes like?
My role in a nutshell is to make sure that every area of the Grana business is working towards our collective brand mission: Quality for all. With our success has come rapid expansion – going from less than 10 people two years ago to more than 80 today. I make sure that everyone in the Grana family understands that we’re here because of the value we bring to our customers; understanding that value is key.
“Espanglish is not yet considered a language, but I’m hoping it will be soon.”
How do I keep everyone in sync? Well I work across product strategy and development, brand partnerships and brand campaigns. Something super exciting on the way is our major brand campaign launching in September, in NYC and HK – watch this space for something great.
The most impressive part of my role is probably the funny looks and chuckles I get daily, because of the way I mispronounce certain words and names. Espanglish is not yet considered a language, but I’m hoping it will be soon.
What makes good branding?
Good branding is having a consistent experience at every brand touchpoint. From brand name and logo to website design, photography and packaging. That’s good branding. And then you have great branding. Great branding is about building relationships that last. It’s wanting to be friends with someone. It’s looking forward to receiving an email from your favourite brand because you want to see what they’re saying today. It’s actively looking for them on Instagram because they always share good stuff. Great branding is people wanting to be part of your world.
The recipe for achieving this is simple: as few additives as possible. At the end of the day we all look for the same things when building relationships: authenticity. Trust. Respect. Fun.
What are some of the biggest mistakes brands are making today?
The biggest mistake brands can make is not putting your consumer at the centre of everything you do. We are here because of our consumers – forgetting this is the biggest mistake of all!
Another big mistake is simply making assumptions. It’s often forgotten to simply ask your customers; to talk and to listen to what they want. We have all the tools we need to do this today – not doing so is a huge mistake. Of course, another mistake here is not using this feedback. It’s crucial to tweak and test new things, and to change what’s not working, to learn from your mistakes and to keep improving.
What are some brands that are working on cool shit?
Glossier, Reformation and Outdoor Voices. These brands are amongst my favourites because they are doing cool shit on three different levels. First, because they are bringing something unique to the table, starting with the consumer’s needs and desires. Second, because they all have a strong point of view on life that starts with their products. Third, because they’ve crafted a cool tone, look and feel that makes you want to be a part of their world, it makes you want to be their friend.
What’s your favourite thing about the office?
It’s the great team we’ve built, and all the talented people I get to work with on an everyday basis. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to have one of the coolest office spaces in the world. Our office is full of greenery, has amazing views, dogs walking around, a ping-pong table and an arcade from the 80s.
You travel a lot, tell us a story from a recent trip?
I just came back from a weekend in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, where I went with a bunch of great friends from Grana. We were stranded in the middle of nowhere at an unwelcoming hotel, a dire food situation and no alternative in sight. Against all odds, it became one of the best weekends ever. To me that’s proof that as long as you have good people and good music, you don’t need much else. I still need to catch up on my sleep though…
What do you never travel without?
I always pack light. Being able to live on a 12kg suitcase for 3 weeks brings me unparalleled joy. For the record: packing with the precision of a pro-Tetris player is one of my most treasured talents.
A sneak peek of what goes into my 12kg box of magic:
- A huge Peruvian Pima scarf keeps me alive no matter where I go. It gets me through Asia’s permanently air conditioned buildings and doubles up as my favourite beach towel when needed.
- Two books (old habit)
- Laptop (unless I’m on a detox trip)
- Small toiletries bag
- 1x pair of sneakers, 1x pair of flats, 1x pair of heels
- An assorted mix of Grana essentials that I can outfit in 10 different ways.
What makes a place “home”?
Having lived abroad for so many years, the concept of “home” is a fluid one for me. My home is being surrounded by the people I love. Even though sometimes I find it hard not to belong to a place, in reality it’s something I really value because it keeps me free and open to explore the world around me. Also, anywhere I’m with Jesus* is home.
*Jesus is my partner’s name, pronounced [Xe’sus]. I know, too funny.
What’s the funniest/weirdest group chat that you’re a part of?
BitchesAllDayLong. You really don’t want to know.
Before you go, what about the future has got you excited?
So many things at a personal and professional level. But what excites me the most is knowing life will surprise me with things that I never see coming; the kind of things that arrive into your life on a random Tuesday morning and turns everything upside down. So, bring it all on. Let’s enjoy this weird show called Life.life / by Grana / 05.19.17