Sometimes it’s a first date that begs for a second. Between a love for hockey and a penchant for 90s R&B, this person “just gets you.” Or, it’s finding a store that makes you want to pack your closet with their fashionable yet sustainably sourced and responsibly constructed clothes. Whatever “it” is, as humans we just want to feel like someone gets us. When a brand successfully identifies, listens and concocts a story or experience around what we their audience wants, much like a partner who pays attention to our hopes and dreams, we feel loved.

When a brand does it right, you become an advocate before you realize what’s happening. Sea Creatures has a clear vision of who their audience is—people who love food and appreciate the art of dining. From lighting set at just the right luminescence to each perfectly seasoned (and timed) dish placed down, the amount of thought put into delivering YOU a curated journey reflects Chef Renee Erickson and team’s consideration of every sensory element.

I found Sea Creatures by accident. Little did I know that after only a few days of back and forth, I would meet the love of my life via Tinder. No! Not the man I agreed to meet for dinner and drinks at the promise of finally sampling the menu at The Walrus and the Carpenter. It was finally experiencing the best of what Pacific Northwest cuisine has to offer. It was a perfectly decorated restaurant that filled the Lake Michigan-sized void in my heart where my favorite places like Girl and the Goat and Sepia used to reside. It was discovering that there were more exquisitely orchestrated venues in this delightful, nautical family of establishments. 

Walrus Carpentar Collage

Post Tinder date I took myself home. Instead of Googling the guy (I didn’t even know his last name) I dove into the delicious rabbit hole of the Sea Creatures empire. Feeling the telltale signs of ensuing infatuation—racing heart, imagined domestic bliss (aka a perfectly prepared meal every night) and overwhelming optimism—I craved more.

Wanting to insure this feeling wasn’t a fluke I deactivated Tinder for the time being and took myself on a few dates. First to The Whale Wins and second to Barnacle where I could sit alone at the bar and swoon over my octopus terrine, the husky bartender and his flawless old fashioned.

Whale Wins Collage

Sea Creatures is an exemplary example of a brand that knows exactly who they are with a strategy that easily transcends industries. They clearly defined their target audience (a well-traveled food enthusiast who values locally sourced ingredients and community support). It is evident that the team has spent considerable time with research, positioning and messaging to establish a cohesive brand experience. Sea Creatures features restaurants that are both cleverly named and strategically connected, not to mention the concept easily lends to growth should they expand their nautically-themed empire.

I’ve long forgotten all details about my actual Tinder date(s). I am, however, still enamored with Sea Creatures. What started as a random meal has turned into a continual food journey-relationship that feels designed for me. Every new dish I try brings me joy. Each newsletter is avidly read. Bartenders are hit on. Tinder is long deleted (really!). Swipe right all you want, but if you are targeting the wrong audience you’ll never make a connection.

Swipe right all you want, but if you are targeting the wrong audience you’ll never make a connection.

I can’t lay claim to my forever partner, but I can gaze adoringly at my first brand crush, Sea Creatures. From a seat at the bar over my oyster selection of the day, on social media or in one of their beautifully simple newsletters, I’ll take a cohesive, tactile brand experience for one over a mediocre Tinder date any day.