No one needs Jones Soda Co. But people love it.
People need your health brand. But do they love it?
In August 2000, Urban Juice and Soda Company Ltd. officially changed its name to Jones Soda Co (“JONES”). What stands out about the company is that they’ve always truly been led by, and interacting with, their consumer. While many are in the midst of evolving their “rules of engagement,” Jones has been at it for years.
They provide a great example of marketing that builds a brand around customers, on their terms – where, when and how they want. Here’s what I mean:
Where. They initially pursued an alternate distribution strategy in line with the lifestyle of their audiences. They placed their own coolers in unique venues such as skate, surf and snowboarding shops, tattoo and piercing parlors, as well as in individual fashion stores and national retail clothing and music stores. They then began a street “attack” by placing product in convenience and food stores, before achieving larger chain store listings.
When. Jones Pro Riders and Jones Emerging Riders, including extreme pro athletes promote Jones and wear the Jones logo at extreme sporting events across the country. The Jones RVs travel through cities in North America handing out soda and interacting with the people on the street.
How. From the many points of interaction and co-creation on the company’s website, to the recent MyJones Independent Music site, www.myjonesmusic.com, Jones Soda has created a cult-like following.
From their website, you can sign into the guestbook, upload a new label to the photo gallery, visit the webStore, suggest soda flavors, create fortunes found under the caps of Jones sodas, view the U.S. label map and order personalized labels.
Here are some things to learn from Jones about building brand love:
1. It’s clearly Jones. You can’t mistake their products or their marketing. Everything they do is distinctively Jones. Seldom the case with most brands.
2. Coherence vs. consistency. It’s easy to be consistent. But coherence allows Jones to deliver an overarching brand idea in all sorts of ways to the delight of their audience. And as we take in brand content at different times and on different platforms, executional consistency becomes less possible.
3. Creating a cult. Beyond loyal customers, Jones’ customers are active participants in an ongoing process of co-creating new value for themselves and the company – beyond that of other competitors.
4. Packvertising. Jones makes outstanding use of this in-store communications channel, creating real impact, distinctiveness (and advertising) at the over-crowded store shelf. Going back to 2001, they’ve featured 100’s of different fun and original customer contributed labels. FYI, here’s a portion of the label press sheet from November 2010.
5. Loving yourself first. An important driver of pride and connection, according to quantitative research from Interbrand, is “making products and services people are proud of.” By all indications, employees love their Jones brand.