I think just about everyone in marketing has a good trick or twelve about building AWARENESS for your brand. Honestly, that’s not all that difficult. Press releases, publicity stunts, e-blasts…pick something from Column A, something from Column B and…voila…you have an integrated awareness strategy! Mazel Tov!
However, to make a potential customer DESIRE your brand or product, without ever trying it, is a major challenge.
And there are few brands that do this better than Buc-ee’s, a Texas-based chain of truck stops and gas stations.
Their strategic approach starts before you ever get into Texas from Louisiana on I-10, when you see this:
They obviously know you most likely can’t “hold it” for over 250 miles. I mean, the human bladder has it’s limitations. However, it’s a hilarious advertisement that you remember for far longer than 262 miles.
As you get closer to their flagship location near San Antonio, you see more and more billboards…all a bit naughty and with a mileage counter until you are there.
It all adds up to one thing – driving down the road, you keep seeing these funny billboards and, dagnabit, you want to see these “award winning” bathrooms! And you think you can “hold it” until you get there.
On my first trip there, I was blown away. Literally hundreds and hundreds of people packed into this truck stop for gas, laughs and a potty break. Across the street was another, perfectly-fine truck stop…but with absolutely zero customers.
And, man, was it awesome. HUGE, clean bathrooms. Homemade jerky. Every snack and drink option on the planet. Branded merchandise. Toys and games. Audio books and CDs. And their signature Beaver Nuggets, sugar-coated deliciousness. I must add that all of the employees seemed to genuinely love their jobs, interacting with people from all over the world, lured in to this oasis of happiness just off the interstate.
Buc-ee’s had built the desire for their brand over the course of a dozen or so spaced-out billboards on a major thoroughfare, to the point that everyone stopped at their place, totally ignoring all competition!
Here is how Buc-ee’s built their desire – and how you can do the same for any brand or product!
1. Know Your Audience (And remember, you are not your audience!) – Who comes to truck stops? Truckers and travelers. Their marketing blitz focused on those people. You don’t know their demographics, but you do know they need to pee and fill up their tank.
2. Know How To Reach Them – There is no better way to reach those people than billboards on the highway. The Buc-ee’s campaign is a perfect matching of medium and audience.
3. Tease Them With Your Brand - Each billboard along the way displayed a developed sense of humor, but also featured more attributes about the brand. Every interaction you have with potential customers should give them more and more reasons to try you out.
4. Deliver – As good as the Buc-ee’s ads are, if the stops were dirty, had no product selection or poor customer service, the campaign would fall flat. But the fact that the stores were everything they promised, and more, had everyone leaving with a smile and vowing to stop on their next time through town. Make sure that your marketing efforts match what you can deliver upon. Don’t over-promise, because, like a sharp-toothed Buc-ee’s beaver, it will bite you in the rear.