friendonfield.png

While at a tradeshow recently, I had a conversation with someone about umbrellas.   She said, “Where we are, 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 hoping for! So, I took it one step further:

Me:  “Do you have kids?”

Client: “Yes.”

Me: “Do your kids play sports?”

Client: “Yes.”

Me: “I have a son. He plays football. Practice starts in July when it’s really hot outside. It’s borderline miserable! I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, right? How many times have you sat at practices, scrimages, or games,  in a chair or on the bleachers, wishing you had some shade?”

Client: “Oh yes! Those days are the worst!”

Me:  “Think about those days. How many people have umbrellas or pop-up tents? Not very many. Maybe one or two? Even though we look at those people wishing we had the same shade, we come back game after game without anything to keep us shaded or a little bit cooler.”

I continued,

“Maybe, if they are anything like me, they think about it but after loading the car and collecting kids, they just forget after they leave the field?  As one of the people that does not have a tent or umbrella does it stand to reason that even though you didn’t think to bring something on your own, that you would probably be grateful to have one if it was provided for you?”

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 reusable water bottles 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. If you’re lucky, people will tell their friends about this “really cool thing that happened at the ball field!’ and they might even take a photo and post it to social media.”

The moral of this story is this: sometimes people doing things one 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.