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Creamery Your Competition

cold_stone_cone.gifYou can learn a lot by going out and getting some ice cream on the weekend. Well, at least I did recently when I took my wife (baby cravings) to the Cold Stone Creamery. You may or may not have been in one of these sweet havens but the concept is cool (literally). It goes like this. Cold Stone has a very cold stone that they mix the ice cream you choose with mixin’ s you choose – like candy bars, apple pie, M&M’s, Coconut, fresh fruits, cookie dough and so many others I can’t list them. Their main competition is The Marble Slab. This is the same concept except they use a frozen marble slab instead of a very cold stone. See the difference… uuuhhh… not really, right? On the surface these places seem very similar but one, in my humble opinion, is miles ahead of the other (and I’m NOT talking about the quality of the ice cream). So here’s what we can learn from this little excursion. I’ll tell you 2 major marketing taste-a-tions that Cold Stone has down COLD. They use these two powerful concepts to lay their competition out on a slab (this post makes for great puns :0) NAMING: What’s in a name – everything. Travis and I are constantly teaching that one quick and simple way to differentiate yourself from everyone else in your market even if you have the same exact product or service  is to come up with a really great name for your product, service or system.  This works even if you are fighting in a commodity market Why do names work so well to differentiate and make you sensational? Once you have a name you have a relationship starting to form. You have more of a commitment to it. It becomes more real, more alive, more tangible and more credible. You can’t get involved with “generic kid” but you can get involved with “Bad Billy.” You know a "Bad Billy" or you know someone Billy reminds you of. Generic Kid is invisible - forgotten. Then kick it up a notch by making the names fun, catchy, benefit oriented and reflect the desires of your customers. Once you do this they stick and they are involved. That’s when you can win big. Here are some of the Cold Stone Flavor Names: At The Cocoa Banana Cabana™ Banana Split Decision™ Breathless Boston Cream Pie­® Candy Land™ Coffee Lovers Only® Cookie Mintster™ Monkey Bites™ But the Cold Stone folks even took it further with the name thing. They also named the sizes. You don’t walk into a Cold Stone and get a medium cone… NO WAY! The 3 sizes are “Like It,” “Love It,” and “Gotta Have It.” I found my self at the counter ordering a “Love It Monkey Bites.” Naming things makes the interaction more fun and more memorable. It works…Try it! UPSELLING: Cold Stone also has upselling without selling down pat too. You see, every mixin' you add ups the price. So they want you to add in lots of stuff. It just so happens that all the cool named flavors that I just mentioned along with tons I didn’t mention are deliciously pictured on the wall with name and full blown descriptions. Each of these “Cold Stone Original Creations” (another name) has several mixins involved in creating it. Left up to you to decide on your own you’d add one or two. But they make it easy for you to add several more and make the experience ten times better by creating a sensational menu that makes their gross significantly higher. As a little marketing lesson I urge you check this place out – take your friends and pick me up a gift card… I’m addicted!