While at a tradeshow recently, I had a coversation with someone about umbrellas. She said, “Being in a desert, we really don’t have a need for umbrellas seeing as though we don’t get much rain.” Immediately, I replied that umbrellas are not only great for rainy day, but on sunny days too! She shrugged and said, “Yeah. I suppose.” That response wasn’t what I was hopeing for! So, I took it one step further:
Me: “Do you have kids?”
Me: “Do your kids play sports?”
Me: “I have a son. He plays football. Practice starts in July when it’s still 115 degrees outside. It’s borderline miserable! I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, right? How many times have you sat there in your chair or on the grass, wishing you had some shade?”
Client: “Oh yes! Those days are the worst! There are only three or four people that have umbrellas or pop-up tents though. We’re always really glad we have them, but even though the other people would probably be happy to have one, they come back game after game without having bought anything for themselves. I am thinking that it must not bother them that much or they’d do something about it.”
Me: “Or maybe they just forget after they leave the field? As one of the three that does have something, you are happy that you thought to bring shade right? Does it stand to reason that the people that don’t have an umbrella, even though they don’t think to bring something on their own beforehand, would probably be grateful to have one while they are there?”
Client: “Well. When you put it that way, yes.”
Me: “OK. So, riddle me this. If you are a parent sitting in the sun at your child’s game or practice shielding your eyes from the sun, are hot, and most likely sweating, and company X showed up to the field and starting handing out bottles of water and umbrellas to people that didn’t have them, how would you feel about that company and that brand? That brand has now solved a problem you didn’t realize you really had, and created a positive experience for you, right? If you were part of this brand’s target market, and their product or service was something you would be inclined to use, what type of influence would this experience have on your decision on whether or not to use this companies products or services?”
Client: “Oh that would be really neat! And yes, I’d definitely consider using their services, and I’d probably leave the umbrella in the car so I’d have it for next time!”
Me: “EXACTLY! When you take a minute to think a little differently about the situation, you’ve can come up with a solution to help your client stand out from their competition in a HUGE way. Plus, people will be seeing your client’s branding for weeks, months, and maybe years to come. And, if you’re lucky, people will tell their friends about this “really cool thing that happened at the ball field! They might even take a photo and post it to Facebook and Instagram!””
The moral of this story is sometimes the simple fact that not everyone is doing something a certain way is the very reason you should branch out and do it yourself. Unmarketing says, “Your logo isn’t your brand. What someone thinks and feels when they see your logo, that’s your brand.” Don’t just sell a product with a logo on it. Create an experience and then use the power of branded products, and the messages on those products, as a means by which people will remember the experience you created for them when they see them today, tomorrow, and beyond.
Happy branding everyone!
Peace, love, and umbrellas. . .