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从制冷机到马克杯都大卖,消费者为这个品牌而疯狂

Clay Dillow 2019年08月18日

这家公司将可靠性、设计感和惊人的性能结合起来,然后包装成一个有品牌支持的产品,对消费者非常有说服力。

今年3月,美国奥斯汀的一家高性能冷却机和杯具制造商Yeti在其官网上发布了一款24盎司的马克杯。乍一看去,这个杯子平平无奇,又高又圆,有一个方形把手,盖子是塑料的,外观跟市面上的其他马克杯没有什么不一样——除了下方那几个大写字母的商标铭文。这个杯子被命名为“漫步者”(Rambler)。本来一个杯子上架,并非什么大不了的事情,无非是一个简单的产品线里添加了一个简单的产品——而且30美元的价格还算是有点小贵的。

谁能想到,Yeti的死忠粉们居然对这款杯子趋之若鹜。社交网站Instagram上的一篇宣布Rambler马克杯开售的帖子,居然很快就获得了2万多人点赞——请注意,它只不过是一个简单的马克杯而已。由于网上抢购热烈,不到一个月,“漫步者”马克杯就卖断了货(该公司拒绝透露到底卖出了多少个马克杯),Yeti公司不得不抓紧补充库存。与此同时,还有大量热心网友在各大社交网站上询问该马克杯以后还能不能买到。(至本文发稿时,该商品已经再度上架。)

在Yeti公司之前,很难想象消费者会为一个价格高达30美元的马克杯而疯狂,更不用说价格达到300美元的制冷机了——两个来自于得克萨斯州的兄弟正是靠着这台制冷机创办了Yeti公司,而Yeti在英文中本来就有“雪人”的意思。自从Yeti公司成立后,很多消费者再也不去其他地方买杯子和冰柜了。当然,消费者能够对一个品牌产生这种近乎被洗脑式的疯狂,首先离不开这家公司过硬的质量。Yeti的泡沫隔热制冷机一次可以让冰块保持数天而不化。Yeti从制冷机上积累的好名声,也慢慢扩展到了它的箱包、杯具乃至宠物餐具等其他产品上。

There’s nothing overtly sexy about the 24-ounce mug that Yeti, the Austin-based maker of high-performance coolers and drinkware, released on its website in March. Tall, cylindrical, with a squarish handle and plastic lid, it looks outwardly like any number of thermos-style drinking containers on the market—save the distinctive, all-caps emblazoning of the brand name at the mug’s base. When the mug—a “Rambler” in Yeti brand nomenclature—went live on Yeti’s site, it should’ve been a non-event; a straightforward addition to a straightforward product lineup, if a somewhat expensive one at $30 per mug.

Instead, Yeti’s hyper-loyal fan base swarmed. An Instagram post announcing the launch of the 24-ounce Rambler—and it’s worth reiterating that we’re talking about a simple beverage container here—swiftly garnered more than 20,000 likes. Online orders poured in and mugs shipped out so quickly that within the month Yeti sold out of the mugs completely (the company declined to share exactly how many unites it moved), sending the company scrambling to replenish its inventory. Its social media accounts remain awash in user comments inquiring about its future availability. (As of this writing, it’s back in stock online.)

Before Yeti, it was difficult to imagine consumers getting excited about a $30 beverage mug, much less the $300 coolers upon which two Texan brothers launched the company in 2006. Now that Yeti exists, many of its customers can’t imagine buying a hot beverage container or ice chest from anyone else. The fundamental driver of this cult-like obsession is, of course, quality; Yeti’s foam-insulated coolers famously keep ice frozen for days at a time, and it has successfully translated its reputation for durability and high-performance insulation to product lines including everything from drinkware to bags and backpacks to dog bowls.

Yeti公司出品的24盎司“漫步者”马克杯。图片来源:Yeti

Yeti的早期用户群主要是狩猎和钓鱼爱好者等“硬核”玩家。随着产品打出口碑,它的声誉也形成了一种无形的文化资产。就像很多搞金融的宅男衣柜里都有一件Patagonia的马甲来彰显自己的户外情节一样,很多消费者都将Yeti的产品与户外划了等号,哪怕他们眼中的“户外”只是在自家后院搞一次露天烧烤。现在的Yeti已经不仅仅是一家小众的户外设备生产商了,它已经进化成了一个生活方式品牌,它酷到骨子里的范儿也得到了万千顾客的追捧。

Yeti公司的CEO马特·莱因杰斯表示:“Yeti的产品最初并不是专门为狩猎或钓鱼爱好者设计的,他们只是最先认识到这些产品的性能和价值的两个群体。不过在这个过程中,我们也达到了一些效果——人们已经习惯了一些商品用完了就丢弃的性质。所以当我们将可靠性、设计感和惊人的性能结合起来,然后把它包装成一个有品牌支持的产品,对消费者就很有说服力了。”

2015年,莱因杰斯成为了Yeti公司的CEO,负责领导公司向全国知名品牌转型。同年10月,该公司正式挂牌上市,增长势头令人艳羡。受直销业务和零售业务的增长推动,从年初到现在,该公司的股价已经上涨了60%以上。该公司计划今年在奥斯汀旗舰店以外开设第一批分店(地点选在了查尔斯顿、芝加哥和丹佛),同时该公司也在着眼海外市场,虽然目前它只有4%的销售额来自于海外。

Yeti的核心产品是一种滚塑的硬塑料冷却机,用三层泡沫隔热材料隔热。它直到现在仍然是Yeti的拳头产品。最新一代的冷却机被命名为“Tundra 350”,容量为350加仑,空重89磅,零售价为1300美元。除此之外,该公司还推出了软质的冷却袋以及滚动式冷却机等产品,以更好地适应海滩和后院等使用环境。这些产品都保持着Yeti一如既往的高品质,而且能够保证冰块几天不化。

But that same reputation has also spawned an intangible cultural cache that reaches beyond the hardcore hunters and fishermen that proved Yeti’s early adopters. Just as indoor-dwelling finance bros have appropriated the Patagonia vest as a wardrobe staple, consumers who don’t know the first thing about tying a fly nonetheless find their own outdoors authenticity in Yeti products, even if “outdoors” extends only as far as a backyard barbecue. No longer a niche maker of specialty outdoors equipment, Yeti has evolved into a lifestyle brand, its intrinsic coolness backed by real wilderness bona fides.

“There’s nothing about the original Yeti product that was specifically designed for hunting or fishing, those were just the first two communities to really recognize the value of the performance of the product,” Yeti CEO Matt Reintjes says. “But I think we tapped into something—people’s exhaustion with the use it and lose it nature of products. And so when we combined durability and design with shocking performance, and then packaged it into a product supported with a brand, that spoke to people.”

Reintjes took over as CEO in 2015, overseeing Yeti’s transition into a nationally recognized brand and, as of October, a publicly-traded corporation with an enviable growth trajectory. The company’s stock has risen more than 60% year-to-date, fueled by growing direct-to-consumer sales and an increasing retail footprint. The company will open its first stores outside of its flagship Austin location this year (in Charleston, Chicago, and Denver) and is eyeing overseas markets, from which it currently derives only 4% of its sales.

Its core product, a roto-molded hard plastic cooler with up to three layers of foam insulation, remains the center of the company’s offerings. The largest iteration, the 82-gallon Tundra 350, weighs 89 pounds empty and retails for $1,300. But that lineup of super-durable, hard-case coolers has expanded to include soft-sided cooler bags and rolling coolers better suited to the beach or backyard than the commercial fishing trawler or hunting camp, all of which retain Yeti’s signature quality and ice-for-days insulation.

圣克鲁斯岛J2牧场。图片来源:Jeff Johnson/Yeti

随着关于Yeti产品的高性能和可靠性的名声越来越响,Yeti的手提袋、服装、宠物用品、干燥袋以及杯具等产品的销量也在不断上涨。今年第一季度,Yeti售出了价值9100万美元的杯子、水瓶、水壶、酒杯、马克杯等,较上年同期增长了20%。这也是该公司直销收入飙升的主要因素之一。

Yeti非常擅于与消费者建立直接联系,方法很简单,就是用产品质量为自己代言。当然和其他知名零售品牌一样,Yeti也有自己的品牌大使。不过不同的是,Yeti的品牌大使是竞技牛仔、户外烧烤达人、专业(或者业余的)飞钓大师,以及各路户外运动爱好者。它最知名的品牌大使当属约翰·弗洛伦斯,它是职业冲浪界里的一个响当当的人物,但在冲浪界之外,知道他的人并不多。

摩根士丹利的零售研究常务董事金伯利·格林伯格认为:“这是一种非常草根化的营销手段,而不是那种自上而下、辐射全国的广告方式。这样就与消费者建立了真实的联系,而且这种很‘酷’的感觉,也是你在传统媒体上买不来的。”

这种品牌的酷感在很多方面都有体现,比如社交媒体上最近兴起了一个“SHITI COOLERS”恶搞现象——SHITI COOLERS是美国的一个服装品牌,它在Instagram上开了一个账号。账号的创建者制作了一种贴纸,上面写着“SHITI COOLERS”的字样,跟Yeti的标识颇有几分相似。用户可以将它贴在自家的非Yeti品牌的冷却机上。这当然是所谓“Yeti文化”的一种恶搞,但同时也可以看出人们对Yeti的产品质量和流行程度的尊敬。

莱因杰斯表示:“有几次我看到他们的贴纸出现在了各种各样的东西上,连我也忍不住笑了。不过我认为,归根结底,这些东西也算是对我们品牌发展的一种认可。我们希望有朝一日,能将这些‘SHITI COOLERS’的粉丝变成真正的Yeti粉。”

不过前提是,Yeti的冷却机还得有足够的库存才行。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

As its reputation for durability and high performance has grown, so have Yeti’s sales of tote bags, apparel, pet accessories, dry bags, and, of course, drinkware. In the first quarter of this year, Yeti sold $91 million worth of cups, water bottles, jugs, wine tumblers, and—of course—mugs, a 20% increase over the prior-year quarter and a major driver of the company’s soaring direct-to-consumer sales.

Yeti has proved particularly adept at connecting directly with consumers by simply letting the quality of its products speak for themselves and—critically—not trying too hard. Like any other modern retail brand, Yeti has brand ambassadors. Unlike most retail brands, its ambassadors are rodeo cowboys, barbecue pit masters, professional (and amateur) fly fishers, and outdoors enthusiasts of all stripes. Its best-known ambassador might be John John Florence, a name that carries serious weight in the world of professional surfing but doesn’t extend terribly far beyond it.

“It’s a very grassroots approach to marketing instead of a top down, generic national message that gets broadcast,” says Kimberly Greenberger, a managing director in retail research for Morgan Stanley. “And that builds authentic connections and a cool factor that you frankly, can’t buy in traditional media.”

That innate cool factor manifests itself in myriad ways, including through ancillary social media phenomena like “SHITI COOLERS,” an Instagram account and apparel line that’s something of a comedic send-up of Yeti’s ascent to “aspirational” status. The account’s creators produce stickers that read “SHITI” in a block-letter style mimicking Yeti’s own logo, allowing users to cover the logos on their non-Yeti coolers. It’s a swipe at “Yeti culture,” sure, but also an homage to Yeti’s product quality and popularity.

“I’ve had a chuckle a few times seeing some of their stickers pop up on a variety of things,” Reintjes says. “But I think at the end of the day, those kinds of things are a recognition of how we’ve evolved as a brand. And, you know, we hope someday to convert some of the SHITI cooler fans to Yeti fans.”

That is, if there are any Yeti coolers left in stock.

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