It all started last year on our family vacation to Marco Island Florida when the introduction to this pink whale began. All four of us were hanging out on the beach collecting shells, fishing or just soaking up the sun when my then thirteen year old son started paying more attention to the people around him. I don’t know what sparked this intrigue but he started watching the families, friends and older couples who just enjoyed being together and were smiling a lot. It then carried over to dinner time when he said to me “Mom, why does everyone have whales on their shirts? In which I replied, I’m not sure but I have a feeling we will find out while we are here.” Being a mother of two boys fashion is not their forte nor mine however, the curiosity about this whale was going to be an interesting pursuit.
And so it began the quest to find the whale apparel. We checked in at the gift shop and they had some pink whale stickers that they gave to my son which made him so happy to be a part of the “whale club”. That seemed to quench his thirst for a while. Fast forward almost an entire year later and he starts pondering our memories at the beach and the many smiling faces he encountered. He hunted for his pink whale sticker and when he found it put it not the back of his phone so every time he looked at it it made him smile.
Being in the branding industry and witnessing the love of a brand right before my very eyes was such an awesome inspiring feeling. Not everyone realizes that in todays world our youth need to feel that emotional connection to the brand and the marketing behind pays for itself tenfold if they are successful at doing it. Well let me just tell you Vineyard Vines has now become a part of our family and here is how they did it.
First, as my son describes the feeling he got when he saw people wearing this whale apparel “people were chill mom, they seemed relaxed and happy”. Ok initial emotional connection was met. Check.
Secondly, a year later is when he found his sticker and then went further to see if they had an Instagram account and boom they did and he was now hooked. He then went as far as coordinating outfits and since we didn’t have a store close enough to us we couldn’t go right away. So we went over spring break to Oak Brook, IL which built the bond even further. He wasn’t sure of his size and the fit so we wanted to go there in person to try them on. Right before my very eyes it all began. Brad a brand ambassador employee took my son and walked him through outfit options (hat, shorts, shirts, long sleeve t’s etc). If there was something he had coordinated on his phone that wasn’t in the store Brad was searching for him on the website while he tried on the clothes they did have in store. Instantly my son felt special. As a fourteen year old its not always easy for asking what you want, knowing what your budget is and making sure you stuck within it. Brad made him feel at ease and got him exactly what he wanted. So we go to check out and Brad notices his sticker on his phone and asks my son if he would like a few different stickers that had a different design to them. He jumped at the chance and then my husband even came on board asking for some for himself. Brad was more than happy to oblige my son and my husband. All of his goods are then put in an awesome Vines bag that is fully decorated and my son carried that bag with pride all around the shopping plaza.
He couldn’t wait until we got back to the hotel room only to discover that while he was at the store he didn’t notice the awesome wrapping they did for his items before they put them in the bag. He loved unwrapping them to try them on he was trying to save the tissue because he thought it was cool The tissue really???
Well since not all of the items were in the store we had to have two of them shipped. Sure enough two days later they arrived. Not just in any packaging either but yet again feel good packaging that made him smile when he got it and even a bigger smile when he opened it up. He even read the box. This is not usual behavior for my son he is now a part of this brand. He’s watched the videos, follows the Instagram and has the stickers everywhere he needs a reminder to smile.
Moral of the story…know your brand, set your emotional connection to your audience, cost of marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, invest in your brand and it will go far. Creating brand ambassadors whether they are a part of your company or your clients will go farther than you think. Don’t make marketing an after sight take the time necessary and track your success. Do you know what his new motto is everyday all of the time #EDSFTG – Every day should feel this good ! Well done Vineyard Vines.