When Pigs Fly

Brand-driven marketing is imperative, but the commitment doesn’t rest solely with your marketing operations.

By Lois Brayfield

Allow me to share a growth story. New Pig, a company that provides industrial cleaning supplies, was interested in refining its brand message. The leadership understood that in order to compete in the marketplace, they had to be truly different, memorable and had to stand for something relevant. 

Through research, they were able to better understand their blue-collar customers, what was important to them and how to best communicate their brand differentiation. A common theme began to emerge. Here’s an abbreviated cut from their brand manifesto.

“At New Pig, we celebrate hard work. We are advocates for the working man (and woman). We work hard as they do. When will that stop? When pigs fly.”

The company’s tag-line became, “Here’s to a job well done.” For the company’s president, this became his rally cry, and everyone in the com-pany had a role in weaving this message into the culture. Using humor—because their customers gave them permission to talk to them that way—the message was infused everywhere. It not only changed their marketing materials, packaging, Web site and social media efforts, it also changed the way employees talked to both customers and prospects alike. They even created a song that recognized how hard their customers worked, and it became their message heard when callers were placed on hold. 

By recognizing and talking about how hard their customers worked, it was a natural transition to talk about how hard New Pig’s products worked. 

The result? An immediate 17 percent lift in sales. They sold out of their best-selling product in record time. The Web site conversion increased, along with overall brand awareness. 

What can we learn from New Pig?

  • Do your homework. Take the time to understand your customers and what matters to them. Understand your competition and how your product or service is truly unique. Develop your “higher-order benefit,” also referred by Simon Sinek to as your “why.” And then, develop a way to create messaging that is bold, memorable and relevant. Oh, and most important? Stick to it!  
  • Leadership MUST be on board. In our experience, roughly 75 per-cent of brand position exercises fail because leadership wasn’t involved or didn’t believe it mattered. This is critical to growth. In the case of New Pig, the president believed that the internal customer (i.e., everyone in the company) played a critical role and needed to understand and embrace this new rally cry. Everyone had a voice in making it a reality and new ideas or examples of “living the brand” were celebrated. Just as important, is the need to appoint a brand ambassador, someone in charge of training, protecting and evolving the message. 
  • Boldly in-fuse your message everywhere. And I mean with bold-ness, and I mean everywhere. This is not a one-time exercise but an all-the-time culture. To see real growth, your brand position must be evident in ALL market-ing materials, said in different and bold ways, it should change the way you talk to customers, how you answer the phone and, even what you say to prospects. You must prove your differentiation at every touch point, even when saying “Thank you” to loyal customers. Yes, this is hard work, it involves training and it won’t magically happen over-night. Think progress over perfection. 

Can you achieve real, true sus-tainable growth by following New Pigs lead? Absolutely. To effectively compete in the future, you must seize control of your brand—live it, own it, distinguish it and protect it.  

About the author

Lois Brayfield, a member of the 40 Under Forty Class of 1998, is CEO of Bonfire5.

P | 913.229.3500

E | loisb@bonfire5.com