It’s another gorgeous July afternoon in Colorado with a slight breeze, undetectable humidity and sunshine with occasional big white fluffy clouds floating by. I get that Friday afternoon call from some friends around 3:30, “Wanna get together for burgers and beers?” they ask. “Sounds like a plan,” I respond and add, “What shall we bring?” They say “how about a salad and some chips?” "Sure, be there around six, see you then,” I said.
At about 5pm we were off to the store to pick up our food commitments. I headed for the beverage cooler to select something refreshing…(our friends always have a keg of some sort but I wasn’t feeling like beer, but rather, some sort of wine cooler or other malt beverage.) As I pondered through the selection, I spotted a brand I hadn’t tried before, TWISTED TEA®, a variety of ‘hard tea’ flavors that sounded perfect for my palette at the time! So, I took a chance on a new brand and put them in my cart.
Once at our friends, and settled into a patio chair with appetizers, a lit grill, and great conversation, I popped open my first ever Twisted Tea ‘half & half’ – the flavor I chose that was half tea and half lemonade, sort of like an ‘Arnold Palmer’ style drink – but with 5% alcohol. To my surprise, it was smooth and refreshing, and best of all not too sweet like some of the other wine coolers I’ve had – and it really tasted like brewed tea! I started to study the label, as I was curious about the brand, now that I determined that my taste buds liked it, and realized they were a tea brewer, in Cincinnati, OH, near where I grew up in the mid-west. Then, I noticed that the back of the bottle label featured a photo from one of their customers decorated in Twisted Tea labels. And it hit me how clever and yet highly strategic this program was in creating and building brand/customer loyalty. Each bottle thereafter, had a different back label, featuring a different customer enjoying the Twisted Tea brand beverage, along with their name and location identified under the photo.
The next day, I look up their web site to find out about this brand that opened its doors in 2001 and see how they’ve designed the strategy to get the photo submissions. And yep, right on their site is their “Be a little Twisted” GALLERY of photos that you can view, and then submit your own. Of course they include a full page of submission guidelines that must be followed to be chosen to appear on one of their actual labels. But, think about it, what a powerful way to engage and showcase your appreciation for your loyal fans and create long-term customer loyalty. They also have a small online store where you can purchase a TWISTED TEA TRUCKER CAP, t-shirts, and golf umbrella with the Twisted Tea logo on it.
If you have been reading our newsletter for a while, you’ve certainly heard us talk about the study Martin Lindstrom did and revealed in his book Brand Sense. The study revealed that “the more sensory memories activated, the greater the bond the customer has with the brand.” This is a strategy that too many brands are not leveraging the way they could with a bit of ingenuity and creativity.
Take Harley Davidson®, who’s recent focus, has been toward their growing women buyer/rider market. Recently, the CBS Sunday Morning Show had a news segment on the brand and reported that 23% of U.S. motorcyclists are actually women. Yes, women. Women are the fastest growing area of the motorcycle buying population. Harley’s efforts to engage this market have been strategic, committed and consistent. Check out their web site, click on the Women Riders link and get ready to be ‘wow’d’ by the detail of information that is highly relevant to the female rider – starting with a quote from Karen Davidson, great grand-daughter of co-founder, William Davidson, and Creative Director of General Merchandise:
“Every ride is an escape with a sense of freedom found nowhere else, each road trip is and adventure that gives us lifelong memories.”
Then dig into educational topics from ‘Learning to Ride’ to ’Riding Courses’, to ‘Mentoring’ other women riders, to ‘Women Riders Month.’ You’ll see an amazing array of ‘Women Rider Stories’ where a powerful community of women has been established and growing by inviting you to submit your story, and so much more.
Now to hone in on the message of this article. Twisted Tea® is not just a company manufacturing and distributing a variety of malt beverages, and Harley is not just a motorcycle maker. These brands have depth and passion around the ‘essence’ of what their brand delivers and work to be conscious of how their customers experience their products and services to build emotional bonds with them.
With the evolution of the internet, its capabilities and the power of social media – entrepreneurs of small and mid-sized businesses all over the world can leverage the essence of what their brand delivers like never before. That’s where your brand’s unique DNA comes into play—your core essence. You have the ability to quickly and fairly inexpensively (sometimes FREE) reach the global market on-the-fly and engage and educate your best, most targeted audience with your intended unique brand experience. Now is the time to think bigger, more creatively, and be more humanistic – tapping into the human element of emotion by creating multi-sensory experiences at every customer touch point, but relevantly to your unique Brand DNA.
To get started, here are some quick actions to begin brainstorming:
- Perform a customer touch-point audit and identify all the areas your brand ‘touches’ your customer (media, product, billing, phone, email, service, proposals, events, promotions, etc.)
- Identify and define the essence of your unique Brand DNA – your brand’s key attributes or what we refer to as your Dimensional Nucleic Assets™. These consist of your brand’s distinctive style and personality, core values that guide your employee behaviors, authentic differentiators that set you apart from your competitors, and standards of performance for your employees and customers. (Kick-start your progress through our online program—a simple step-by-step online course with workbook).
- Brainstorm with your employee team how you can leverage your brand’s key attributes (Dimensional Nucleic Assets™) to enhance your customers’ experience through each of the touch-points (like inviting them to submit something about your product online).
- Get creative with enhancing these touch points through each of the senses sight, sound, taste, touch, smell and intuition). Ensure the experience is highly relevant to your Brand DNA and desired perception. Download a complimentary copy of our sensory exercise.
- Decide on the top three experience-enhancing actions and begin putting a plan together to make them happen!
Becoming more ‘on-brand’, first at the internal level of your company, then externally, through how your brand shows up to your customers and stakeholders is truly an exhilarating experience. It is highly clarifying, provides affirmation, and loads of direction towards building a consistent, relevant, and distinctively memorable brand. Its re-engages the entrepreneur and small business owner into top of mind consciousness as to why they got into business in the first place! And, it enables you to build a following of avid fans that support your brand and refer you to others.
Now, go out and invent a multi-sensory experience that ENGAGES your customers and creates long-term loyalty while emotionally bonding them to your brand….and have some fun!
Suzanne Tulien is Principal and Co-Founder of the Brand Ascension Group, LLC. She is a brand perception expert consultant, award-winning graphic designer, a certified trainer and certified in Accelerated Learning Methodologies. She is co-pioneer of the Brand DNA methodology, the first ever step-by-step brand defining online process designed specifically for small to medium sized businesses. She is author of The 6 Myths of Small Business Branding, and co-author of Brand DNA. She is an Expert Panel Member for YoungEntrepreneur.com, and regularly writes blogs and articles on the process of brand definition and implementation, published in eHotelier, BrandChannel.com, Innova, among others. www.BrandAscension.com, 719.265.1707.