WOODS: On becoming Yeti-fied

Yeti-coolers_rgbThe secret for making big money in Corporate America is to infuse your brand name into everyday life. That brand has to be part of the discussion at the kitchen dinner table, in the break room at work, church parking lots after service, and the logo has to be visible everywhere you turn. Consumers are literally being brainwashed with brand marketing strategies.

Think of the brands for which this approach has been highly successful. Among some of the best campaigns includes Under Armour, 5 Hour Energy, Ram Dodge, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Honda ATVs, Subway foot-longs and on and on. We are inundated with their advertising blitz’s every day we turn on the radio, TV, open a newspaper, or magazine or the Internet.

If there is one sound principle to successful marketing, the foundational factor is exposure. Creating a catchy name is good, but only if people think it and speak it almost without notice on a regular basis. When we’re hungry, we think “Big Mac.” If we need tires the thought of the “Michelin Man” pops into our mind. The toilet backs up at home and we dial “Roto-Rooter.” So, what exactly is this phenomenon?

Being Yeti-fied

Just before last Christmas a co-worker, and perennial outdoorsman came into my office with a question. His oldest son had submitted his Santa List and on it was a term the father did not recognize… yet. “What the heck is a Yeti,” said Jim Harper. I just laughed and replied something like had he been living in a cave the past few years?

Despite a popular misconception a yeti is not an abominable snowman said to be found in Tibet. It is in fact the name of one of the most highly marketed ice coolers in the world. Just ask Jim Shockey, the Canadian bear guide, or Phil Robertson, head of Duck Dynasty crew. They promote Yeti coolers. They are well paid to promote Yeti coolers.

They are the best insulated coolers for keeping ice longer, because they are stronger, or so says the Duck Commander. How do we as consumers know this? It’s simple, because their marketing ads say so. I personally don’t know of any particular research tests that have been done to verify this, but hunters and fishermen alike swear by them. They must be good.

Every outdoors person worth his/her weight in deer sausage has to have one. It is a right of passage. The Yeti stickers are on half of the pickup trucks in Mississippi. Like CB radio antennas you used to see them on every truck whether or not the owner actually had a radio.

For outdoors folks it is akin to owning a Benelli shotgun, Mossy Oak clothes, or a pair of Muck boots. You just gotta have it.

All about the Branding

This branding identity and loyalty is what makes marketing gurus smile. So what works for Yeti is in theory what can work for any product. We have witnessed this over and over again in Mississippi among the outdoors industries in the state.

Toxey Haas started out with one clothing outfit to show retailers and now Mossy Oak is the most prolifically recognized outdoor brand in the industry. Their camo patterns are on everything from drink cups, to shower curtains, clothing, footwear, custom truck accessories and everything outdoors in between.

Primos has made the same impact on the outdoors marketplace. It is the No. 1 market share game call company in the country, but it’s branded products from hunting blinds, game cameras, scent control products, trigger stick shooting poles, hunting clothing and gear to their famous hunting videos. The Primos brand is universal in the hunting world.

Many other Mississippi companies are following suit from Millennium tree stands, Avery Outdoors, B&M Fishing Poles, Muddy Water Camo, Slater’s Jigs, Longleaf Camouflage and others.

In each and every case these companies have targeting branding their unique product names to help sell them. They are strongly promoted in traditional media sources especially outdoors television, hunting and fishing magazines, and all across the social media waterfront. They saturate the market with their brands until buyers feel the absolute need to have to own the product just to be “in the know” as much as anything else. That is great for business.

 What works… works

So, as a Mississippi businessman, every time you drive behind a pickup truck with the rear window plastered with logo stickers take a second to study those little stick on marketing signs. Each one tells a story, recognizes a trend, and sells a branded product.

People display those product stickers for a reason. Probably they have already bought the item and want the world to know it. Maybe it’s the Browning Buckmark logo or a Bone Collector deer head, a destination site like Gaston’s Resort, or just a product name like for example, Yeti. It says “Ice lasts longer; built stronger, and I own one.”

John J. Woods, Ph.D., is vice president in charge of economic development and training, Eagle Ridge Conference and Training Center, the Workforce Development Center and contract training services at Hinds Community College in Raymond.

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