Making Your Brand Appeal to the Aficionado

I recently wrote about a brainstorming exercise where you envision your brand as a big tourist attraction, using all their attributes to come up with a clever campaign that appeals to multiple audiences.

Brands can speak to the aficionado, too.

Ralph Gardner, Jr. wrote a story in The Wall Street Journal about going to the chocolate show in Manhattan, where he tasted lots of samples of fancy dark chocolate from  around the globe. He likes Hershey bars, and after tasting a piece of 91% cacao-content chocolate Gardner wrote: “If I wanted to test the limits of human endurance, I’d climb Mount Everest or jump out of an airplane. I wouldn’t do it by suffering through a chocolate bar.”

The chocolatier who shared the tasting with him didn’t really like the stuff, either, noting that the taste of that almost pure cacao was “palatable.” And therein lies the secret of the aficionado. The experience doesn’t have to be spectacular it just has to be extreme.

For a marketer, reaching the aficionado is all about telling an unusual story about something that is rare, hard-to-understand, or so complicated that it takes an expert (or someone with a really tolerant palate) to appreciate it. Its distance from the mainstream makes it appealing, its cultish quality drives desire and, as we all know, if enough people catch on to the trend, it becomes factored into the mainstream. Hershey’s Dark Chocolate, anyone?

When telling a story about your brand, ask yourself – what is the one thing about my brand that would appeal to the aficionado? How can I tell a story to capture his or her attention?

What’s your story?  Let me know what you come up with.