What is in a Name? Ask Banana Joe

We are in Hawaii — Kauai, to be specific. We have been here several times before. As the vice chair of U.S. branch of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO), and consequently a diehard fan of the biennial U.S. ISPO Pacific Rim meeting, I have an easy time thinking up reasons to come to Hawaii. We are here celebrating my son’s 25th birthday. It is his girlfriend Emily’s first time in Hawaii. We have been taking her to all our favorite places and sharing all our favorite things to do on Kauai. One of those things is eating. In particular, we like to eat the local produce.

An eye-catching name

Elizabeth Mansfield
Elizabeth Mansfield

Kauai is known as The Garden Isle. It has hundreds of farms and numerous farmers’ markets and farm stands. Yesterday, buying local produce was on the list of “Stuff Emily Needs to Do on Kauai.” Driving from the South Shore to the North Shore we passed any number of signs for stands that listed fruits or vegetables, like “mangos” or “papayas” or “organic avocados” and then there was … “‘Banana Joe’s.’ Quick! Pull over!”

What does “Banana Joe’s” have that the others do not? Lots of things. For one, it has a name. A cute name. A color. Yellow, believe it or not. Sure, there are other stands that are in “farm stand”-style buildings but “Banana Joe’s” is in a banana yellow building. It also has a website. Not a very fancy website, but it has a website. Maybe some of the others have websites but if you do not know the name of their farm stand, it makes it a whole lot harder to find it on the Internet. And of course, it has a Facebook page.

The name, the color, the Facebook page and the website are all marketing tactics of Banana Joe’s. The reviews and mentions on sites, like Tripadvisor and Kauai tourist info sites, are all a result of the marketing efforts. To tourists like us, this company’s branding efforts are key. It “packages” the Banana Joe’s experience so that: 1) We can talk about it easily; and 2) We can remember it and repeat it in the future.

One of the most effective, least costly, and most valuable forms of marketing is word of mouth marketing. The Nielsen Global Survey of Trust in Advertising in 2013 found that 84% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising, up from 78% in 2007.

Mastering word of mouth

The key to successful word of mouth marketing is making it easy for people to use their mouths, aka talk, about your products or services.

Emily Lallier and Jennings Mansfield pose in front of Banana Joe’s in Kauai.
Emily Lallier and Jennings Mansfield pose in front of Banana Joe’s in Kauai.

Image: Mansfield E, O&P News.

Effective brand management can make all the difference. You have a bright, banana yellow building with a memorable name, website and Facebook page and a roadside table with or without an umbrella and a sign that says “mangos.” Which one will be easier for you to tell your friends, relatives and virtual acquaintances about? How do you give four stars or two thumbs up to roadside table?

I do not know of a single O&P-related business that does not have a name. But, I do know an extraordinary number of them that have exceptionally long website addresses; do not have a logo; or have a logo that is outdated or difficult to reproduce clearly on marketing materials. Take a step back, look at your marketing efforts from a “tourist’s perspective” and decide if you are the “Banana Joe” of your market or if you are the roadside table selling “Mangos.”

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