It’s amazing how many times we get asked by corporate types, “What is ‘fun’?” They want fun defined so they can bring it in to their own marketing the way we did with Barefoot Wines. Of course the thought that crosses our minds is that if you have to ask, you’re probably not having any.
Most people know what fun is when they are having it, or when they see others having it, but other than laughing, playing and being carefree, they are hard pressed to deliver an actual list of the ingredients.
Incorporating elements of fun into your product, packaging, and marketing helps your buyers see your offerings as friendlier. As we say, “If you can get them to laugh, they’re more likely to say yes.” But even a smile may do the job.
Fun is achieved in a variety of ways. Here’s our short list of how to incorporate fun into your brand image:
- Truth. Yes, telling the truth can be fun, especially when the establishment is implying a false hood. Truth can be revealing, refreshing and attractive. It can distinguish your brand from the pack. It can give you credibility. When we were competing against snobby vintage wines that were berating us because we were inexpensive non-vintage blends, we said, “We’re Tuesday night wine – and there are 5 Tuesdays in the week!”
- Color. When we spend more time out of nature than we do in it, we long for all the colors absent in most grey and bland, man-made environments. Colors are fun! We used color to distinguish our different types of products from each other. This reduced confusion throughout our distribution channel, and our customers loved them, too! They could easily find our products on the shelf, and quickly found the ones they were looking for. One customer said, “I just love your colors! I got started with your blue, then went on to your green, and now I’m on to your purple!”
- Sharing. It’s fun to sharing something wonderful you just discovered. You know that the person you shared it with will appreciate the turn on. This is why you want to allow some room for your customers to be the ones to tell their friends about your brand, and not deny them that fun with too much advertising. Sharing is also discovering something new with a friend and later sharing that memory.
- Adventure. Taking a chance, discovering something new, trying it without knowing if it may be everything you’d hoped for is adventure. When it does live up to or exceed your expectations you are delighted! You didn’t play it safe and it paid off! That’s fun. When brands go against the norm with their catch phrases, labels, logos, and packaging, they catch our attention and we think, “This is kind of exciting! It certainly is not boring or more of the same. I want to learn more!”
- Play. When you engage in something that is strictly for recreation, artistic expression, or entertainment, it’s fun. When you don’t take your brand image so seriously, you are more likely to build a following faster. People feel more comfortable with a self-effacing or humorous image. Somebody smart once said, “Don’t be the last to laugh at yourself!” We called ourselves ‘The Chateau la Feet of California Wine’ for years until Chateau Lafite in France took umbrage. But even that challenge made for a funny story which helped our sales!
These are just a few examples of how fun can be used in your message to attract customers, stand out, and give everybody a good time! Cheers!
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders