I wasn’t always an entrepreneur. Although, I believe I had the entrepreneurial thought process early on. To me, the entrepreneur is always thinking. Thinking about new ideas. Thinking about new ways to do things. Allowing your creativity to come through in everything you participate in. I have travelled extensively in my life, visiting almost every State, Europe, multiple times and Asia, dozens of times. I believe these travels have sparked many of my ideas throughout my business career. The following is one story.
I had as a child done a little bit of traveling around the Country. Born in Chicago, IL until my early teens when we moved to Southern California. We would take a driving trip during most summers. Typically, we drove South, to Florida, from Chicago, with multiple stops along the way. We would normally spend the night in a motel. Motels are the ones with the door facing out, towards the parking lot, and you are able to park in front of your room. This made it easy for stopping for one night and unpacking, and then repacking your supplies the next morning. My older brother and I would sleep in one bed, my mother and father the other.
I specifically remember the breaks we made at rest stops along the trip. We would pull off the Highway and park. My brother and I would grab our baseball gloves and play catch, while my dad would pull out the Coleman stove to heat up our meal. He would most often cook eggs and bacon or some type of hot sandwich, like hotdogs. As I got a little older, I would spend time in the woods, and started to collect the beer cans I would discover. My mother wasn’t particularly excited about this hobby, as the cans were usually dirty, and the connection with alcohol at such a young age. However, she accepted the ordeal as long as I would clean them up and store them in our garage, instead of my room at home.
I enjoyed the different looks of the cans. The creativity used to design the label with colors, pictures and words. One of my favorites was Olde Frothingslosh, brewed by the Pittsburgh Brewing company, in the mid-70s. It had a picture of a slightly overweight fictional beauty queen named Fatima Yechbergh, and came in a variety of colors. This was my first exposure to marketing at a young age. Everything was unusual about the can, and it really grabbed your attention. The name was unique, the picture and the multiple colors. I would use that knowledge I gained as a youth, traveling around the Midwest and east coast, picking up dirty beer cans, when I opened my own brewery later in life.
Branding, specifically for the consumer, needs to stand out. If possible, it also needs to happen in a multiple of ways. We all have many senses, and as a marketer, if we can grab attention to as many senses as possible, we will be able to stand out from the crowd.
Sight. Pick a logo for your brand that provides a visual cue for your business. My logo for the brewery was a beer stein with a wave of foam. I used it regularly for social media. It naturally conveyed the joint efforts of surf and beer. The brewery was called Surf Brewery, located in the surf town of Ventura. Ventura has some of the most attractive beaches on the West coast and is particularly known for some world class surf spots.
For my current consulting business, I had my son, an artist and design major, create an image of a modern guru that looked like he could be described as a marketer. He created the typical swami looking guy, sitting cross legged with his hands in the om configuration. However, he is wearing a suit with a flashy colorful tie and glasses. The consulting business is called S and M Guru, a shortened form of Sales and Marketing Guru. As with the brewery logo, the guru logo, makes instant sense in relation to the name. That is exactly the goal of the logo, instant recognition and a visual representation of the name.
Another aspect of the name of the business is how your business card would look. At the brewery, I added Head Dude as my title, instead of Founder, President or CEO. It always caused people to smile or laugh and it told them that we were a fun business. We didn’t take ourselves too seriously. I believe that this is important in a business, that your customers feel that you are approachable.
Sound. The name of the brand should use words that describe your business and be recognizable. Please don’t use your last name for the name of your business. It doesn’t describe your business when people first hear it, and often it is an unrecognizable word, like mine, Riegler. No one has ever heard this word except in connection with someone from my extended family. The exception would be if your sir name is well known or perhaps your a celebrity. Most startup founders are not celebrities, therefore I would suggest to refrain from using your name.
The word ‘surf’ is probably one of the most beloved words in the English language. If they chose a top ten beloved words of each year like they do songs, movies, etc, ‘surf’ would be a regular list maker. It connotes the beach, that everyone loves. It is a highly respected and well known activity throughout the world. Surfing is cool, strong, and free. Using the word ‘surf’ in connection with brewery, instantly gave people an enjoyable picture in their mind. It could also be used throughout the Country and wasn’t limited to a local geography. Beer drinkers in Chicago or Texas, could relate to drinking a Surf Brewery beer.
Smell. Most businesses don’t have the benefit of attaching a smell to their business. Unless, of course you sell a food or beverage item, or some type of perfume. However, it would be something to consider if you could. How about movie theaters that have the popcorn smell or the real estate agents that bake cookies in a home’s oven prior to an open house. My tasting room had a great new beer smell the day we brewed. We promoted that on social media and many people enjoyed coming in and experiencing it. Consider all options of exposing your brand to your audience.
Taste. If your product is a food or beverage item, this sense, becomes pinnacle. Not only will it need to taste good, it will need to stand out from the crowd. Surprisingly, new food items are introduced everyday. How is this possible that all versions of a particular food have not already been achieved. This certainly holds true in the beer business. People have been brewing beer for hundreds of years, how could something new have been invented. However, this was exactly what happened when brewers, many started as homebrewers like myself, after the legalization of home brewing in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter, started brewing unique flavorful beer.
Touch. Do you have a product that can be touched. What does it feel like to your customers. Can you make it stand out. Our beer bottles were screen printed, something fairly unusual at the time in the area. People would tell me how they liked how smooth the bottle felt, without having a sticker type label on the bottle. No one was tempted to peel that label off and destroy our brand like many of the mainstream beers would be.
All these marketing examples I used; sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, initially came from my travel exposure. Seeing new sights and being exposed to unique environments can open your mind to imagination and creativity in any endeavor you become involved with. Search out new experiences so that you can use them to stretch your mind in your day-to-day activities.
Bill Riegler is a Sales and Marketing Consultant with over thirty years of experience.