Personally, nothing sounds better than the crashing of waves and a light breeze off the water. The embodiment of vacation, the pinnacle of summer – the beach has been a haven to many people. Residents and tourists alike continually come back to the shore for more. Having grown up in New Jersey, I can accurately attest to the seasonal return of the tourists to our sand-filled paradise.
So what do beaches and brands have in common exactly?
Well, beaches are what brands strive for: to be a perfect, self-sustaining, self-marketing, economic mechanism. Brands seek to sell themselves with a catchy slogan, unique logo, and a slew of advertising campaigns – with the hope of building a strong enough name that they might alleviate their marketing budget just a tad bit, while still accumulating more and more consumers.
Beaches do this perfectly, and rather innately too. Beaches are warm, comfortable, and provide a sense of relaxation as you lounge back on your Tommy Bahama beach chair. If you find yourself on an island getaway, the “beach butlers” will refill your beverage of choice within seconds, and if you’re lucky enough, they will also fan you with palm tree branches. What a life!
Granted you are a fan of going to the beach, doesn’t that sound absolutely wonderful?
But wait. We forgot the most important details! How do you get to this sand-filled paradise? Ah, right, the long drive, the plane ride, the bus trek – the hours upon hours of traffic, both there and back, just for a few hours of precious seawater and sticky-sand.
If it’s such a pain getting to this so-called paradise, why do we make the trip over and over again, multiple times a summer, each and every year? The answer is simple: the beach is a perfect brand.
Think of the top brands in the world… Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Apple, Microsoft… We will sometimes go out of our way to get what we want from these brands. Whether it be discount Coca-Cola, the newest iPhone, or a midnight release of the Surface Pro Ultimate 5000 – I guarantee you that people will setup camp and sleep outside the store, just to have first dibs on this brand.
The beach is no different. In fact, we’re crazier for making those long trips to the beach more so than waiting outside all night for the next iPhone. At least we get to go home with something tangible, right?
Let’s breakdown the elements of attraction for beach-goers, and identify ways for you to implement these elements within your startup or pre-existing business.
Supply & Demand
Face it, when anyone heads down to the beach or the shore, what’s the one thing you can count on? Price gouging. Now while the prices offered at most beach towns are higher than prices inland, it’s certainly not illegal. But it sure is infuriating.
The way beach businesses sell their products and services exhibit the natural principle of supply & demand. As a convenience, you can get food, purchase beach equipment and attire, and rent rooms, all at a higher cost! Considerably, it’s a fantastic business model that more people should be making use of.
For your business: Analyze your prices, and identify your supply & demand curves.
Comfort & Control
Piggy-backing off the first point, comfort comes from the lack of inconvenience, which is solved by the close proximity of almost everything that you will need while relaxing at the shore. The beach allows you to take comfort and soak in some sun, forgetting about all your worries (unless of course you have kids). Still, even with family, the sand-filled wonderland becomes quite the enjoyable adventure.
But what is so innately attractive about the beach? It’s the fact that you have complete control over your time there. Want to set up a tent? Go for it. Want to just lay out in the sand until the high tide crashes over you? Fine by me! The beach gives you the option to do whatever you want (within the confines of the law, of course). That’s absolutely incredible. When was the last time Burger King really let you have it your way?
For your business: give your consumers options, because everyone loves options. Burger King even built their whole marketing campaign around the idea of options – so that’s something of merit!
Finally, the inherent simplicity behind a day at the beach is something to marvel at. It’s just sand, water, and good weather! You could do that in your own backyard – so why make the trip down? It’s the fact that this simple yet invigorating experience lets you comfortably relax on your own terms, while enjoying the convenient treasures which surround you in the local beach town of your choice. It really doesn’t get any better than that
For your business: Don’t over-complicate your startup. Unless you’re in the finance, insurance, or medical field, it only penalizes your business if you over-complicate your product.
That’s all I have for now. Hopefully my insight on why beaches and brands are similar will help provide your business with a tactful advantage over your competition! Remember, supply, demand, comfort, control, and simplicity. Don’t sweat it.
By: Zachary Braden
We would love to know which branding methods have worked for you, so please comment with any relevant info.
Zachary Barden is a serial entrepreneur & startup consultant who specializes in professional branding. He lives in NYC and is obsessed with networking.