“We need to market our business/product—where should we advertise?” It’s a question I hear often from brands and businesses I work with. Why do so many believe that the primary way to market is through advertising? They’re still living in the Mad Men era of advertising when a company developed a product and then figured out how to advertise it. In an insightful interview with Mark Ramsey Media, Seth Godin asserts that marketing must come first. Smart, effective brands build marketing into the product’s DNA and follow a few basic steps:
Spread a story that resonates
- Earn permission to communicate
- Build a fan base
- Create connections
A successful story of brand/marketing integration is Reno ENVy, created by Scott Dunseath and a couple of partners in 2005. I first learned about the store from Reno Tahoe USA when I was checking out the tourism website for a trip to Nevada.
I had never been to Reno before, much less Nevada, when I walked into the store for the first time. I immediately wanted to start “rockin’ the eNVy”–buy an Airstream trailer and follow the Jason King Band on the road around Nevada wearing Justin Boots Bent Rail J125-Toe Cowboy Boots in Full-Quill Ostrich, and a “I’m a 10, in Reno” t-shirt.
In 2005, Scott and a couple of his friends came up with the idea from a twist on the abbreviation of Nevada. “NV” morphed into “eNVy” and became a running joke. After testing the name on T-shirts and hats at local outdoor events, they realized that they were on to something. They started a screen printing company called Fuel to create a line of shirts, hoodies, hats, glassware and stickers. Their logo, a trailer, also started with a joke, a parody of the John Deere logo. Many of their customers identify with the trailer lifestyle and fell in love with the new logo.
How can you not love a brand that describes itself: “Reno eNVy is about pride and pioneering spirit. It’s about reverence for the past and an irreverent celebration of individuality. It’s about personal expression with an edge. It’s a misfit culture with its own set of values. It’s about good times in God’s country. Go ahead and do it. Nobody’s looking, and even if they are, who cares?”
Now Scott is spreading the eNVy beyond the Nevada border with his latest project. After he moved his store to Sierra Street in downtown Reno, he saw an opportunity to get more tourists excited about Reno and Tahoe. He collaborated with the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority and the City of Reno and just opened a new visitor center in the back of his store in May.
That’s where I met Scott a few days after the grand opening–sharing his infectious enthusiasm and promotional brochures provided by other Reno/Tahoe attractions and the Visitors Authority with some New Yorkers visiting Reno for a bowling convention. Scott brought in an Airstream trailer to use as a photo booth for visitors and he posts the photos to the Reno eNVy Facebook and Twitter pages.
That’s pioneering spirit, Reno eNVy style. Do you have examples of brand/marketing integration for products or companies you love? Share them in the comments.