How clever marketing made Yeti Coolers a must-have brand experience

Your Culture Is Your Brand sign in a conceptual imageWho would have thought that coolers and ice chests would become a cultural phenomenon? Yet that is exactly what Yeti has become, thanks to experiential marketing tactics with enough scope to appeal to both outdoorsy types as well as urban professionals.

The company’s revenue reached nearly $450 million last year – a fact that is indicative of the brand’s popularity amongst a wide target market that includes everyone from outdoorsmen and women to folk who love the rugged look – but not necessarily the complete ‘roughing it’ lifestyle. Yeti has a huge and diverse brand following: the result of a carefully constructed brand image that revolves around storytelling.

Earlier this year, brothers Roy and Ryan Seiders – the founders of Yeti Coolers LLC – were profiled in a 6 page spread of Inc. Magazine’s February 2016 edition… which goes to show just how much the brand has moved beyond the traditional confines of ‘camping gear’ and morphed into something greater.

In fact, Yeti’s success is more the result of exceptional experiential marketing than the indestructibility of their products. Consumers who are loyal advocates of the brand are aware of attributes such as product quality and are likely to tout the benefits of owning Yeti products, however, for many Yeti fans what the brand represents is more important.

“People in Texas will brag that their cooler is grizzly-proof, even though there’s not a grizzly within 1,000 miles,” Roy told Inc.

The brothers, who founded Yeti in 2006 when they began manufacturing coolers using the same technique used to create kayaks, have focused on marketing the lifestyle and philosophy that their products represent, rather than the products in isolation. Through experiential marketing that tells a story, they have built a brand that not only reflects their passion for the great outdoors but that is also imbued with a sense of community.

Yeti sells a brand experience. Having expanded their product range from coolers and ice chests to include other outdoor gear and accessories and even clothing, it is highly evident that the company’s focus is a lifestyle as opposed to individual products. The experiential aspect is further reinforced on the Yeti website, where the stories are equally as important as the products. Real-life interviews and stories written by real human beings strengthen the idea that Yeti products reflect a way of life that exceeds basic functionality offered by competitor brands.

Storytelling is vital to experiential marketing, resulting in levels of engagement that ordinary brand promotions cannot achieve alone. It’s what has given Yeti the authenticity to connect deeply with its market, create brand loyalty based on inspiration and aspiration and transformed what is essentially camping gear into a must-have brand experience.

For more information on experiential marketing services, including brand activations, contact Tradeway today.