Shinola: A Branded Storytelling Renaissance

Anyone who was around to witness the thriving American economy of the 1950s can attest to the blood and sweat of every hard-working citizen that hand stitched the very fabric of city expansion—with Detroit at the epicenter. It was the fortress in which America was built around; it was the American Dream, manifested.

Fast-forward 60 years: the factories at the hub of American manufacturing, empty; the streets that once were filled with the hustle and bustle of life, barren; and the population that peaked at 1.85 million residents, shrunken.

But, the spirit of Detroit—that has never faulted.

Manufacturing might have left Detroit and the shores of the United States, but the great thing is that the people, the ideas, the human element never left. And now, that dedication is becoming the foundation of the revival of American manufacturing and the resurrection of Detroit as America’s city.

However, the source of this reawakening is not a government bailout or a passionate politician, but a brand. No ordinary brand by any means, Shinola is a microcosm of the community that’s here to remind the world of one simple fact: “The story of Detroit is not about the past, it’s about the future.”

For Shinola, it’s not just about watches; Detroit is the bigger picture, which is why the brand decided to place the community and its history at the center of its marketing strategy. Shinola brilliantly employs online video to tell its story—effectively catapulting the brand, the city of Detroit, and the movement into the forefront.

Hello Detroit

Welcome to Detroit

I Belong Here

For more of an inside look into the innovation and inspiration behind Shinola, check out its “creative library” on YouTube: ShinolaOfficial.


The brand was also featured in the inaugural episode of AOL’s series, “This Built America,” a true sign that Shinola is living up to its tagline: “Where American is Made.”

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