YETI: A Legendary Brand Experience

Something we think a lot about in the work we do at Pudik is Brand Experience. Whether we are working with a client to define brand strategy, create brand names, design packaging or an entire branded environment - we always start with the questions ‘How do we create brand meaning and memorability beyond just products?’  and ‘What thoughts and emotions must our brand evoke for each distinct member of our target audience?’ I came across this great example from FastCompany of a brand that answers both of these questions in a truly inspiring way: YETI.

Now, if you’ve ever shopped for coolers or cooling drinkware at REI (or even Walmart) you might have heard of the YETI brand. If you are (or have friends who are) outdoor enthusiasts under 40, then I’m certain you have. Users love YETI products and love to talk about them! And for good reason: YETI has developed a strong reputation for premium products that outdesign, outlast, and outperform competitor’s products. But these attributes - design, durability, and performance - only matter in those moments when consumers are using a YETI product. That, is unless the brand stands for more.

Enter: Brand Experience


When YETI set out to build their flagship store in Austin, TX, they didn’t focus on it as a sales channel. Instead, they built what FastCompany refers to as “The Yeti Smithsonian.” From a life-size diorama that takes visitors to a day of fishing in the hot, humid Everglades; to a BBQ exhibit dedicated to a legendary Texas pitmaster - the space tells the story of adventure and adventurers, innovation and innovators, fish tales and campfire stories; it plants the seeds of legend and strengthens the roots to grow a legendary brand. These fun and informative displays celebrate users first and products (sort of) second. YETI provides an engaging environment that expands the brand beyond functional product to emotional consumer connection. The fun to informative range of displays likewise offers something to invite and intrigue everyone - from the outdoor enthusiast already loyal to the brand, to the curious passerby. No matter where a visitor to the YETI store falls along that spectrum, they will find something within the experience that entertains, amuses, informs, or otherwise connects with them on a level beyond design and performance. And if they decide to purchase a cooler, drinkware, apparel or gear… then that’s great too.

I’ve added YETI to my list of inspirational brands that do Brand Experience right. What brands are on your list? 


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