“Only 5% of your audience remembers stats; 63% remember stories.”
— Chip and Dan Heath, authors of “Made to Stick” and Switch”
Can we pause a moment and gush about our current brand crush? Over the years, we’ve admired a number of brands for a number of reasons. Patagonia for longevity, authenticity, consistency. Apple for innovation, style, taste. Zappos for customer service and all that that entails — product choice, convenience, respect, trust.
But in today’s marketing environment where storytelling reigns supreme, there is one brand whose consumer-facing work is so far beyond any other, we find ourselves swooning with everything they release.
YETI has, of course, remade the landscape for coolers. Who could have imagined 10 years ago that a $500 cooler would launch a juggernaut in the outdoor industry? Venture capital called the concept crazy. YETI trusted their insights on the target market — serious outdoorsmen and women — that the rest of the world had totally missed.
That same deft insight shows itself in YETI’s storytelling. With each new short documentary film the brand releases, they raise the bar another click. The production values of their films alone are praiseworthy and singular in the category — as cinematic as anything coming out of Hollywood. But for us, it’s how YETI resists the urge to fixate on product and product attributes — you often never see their product shown at all! — and instead lets their subjects have the spotlight. Their lives are compelling and in many ways embody the very qualities that the YETI brand stands for — toughness, dependability, smarts, coolness, fearlessness.
And so with these stories the brand transports us and transforms us. “Yes! That is who I want to be. Yes! That is the approach to life that I believe in. Yes! You are doing what I want to do. Someday. Or probably never, but that doesn’t matter because seeing your life helps inspire mine.”
For practitioners in our business, YETI reminds us over and over again the point of view that has the most power in the story. And it ain’t the product. Here’s a sample that left us in something approaching awe.