“Got a Rizla?” You might not have heard of it. I had not until I came across the company in a recent edition of the Economist. What really grabbed my attention was how the article compared Rizla to enduring brands like Coca-Cola, Google, Jacuzzi, or Tupperware, whose name defines the product.
History, design, values, consistent quality – characteristics marketers look at that make brands truly unique. Let’s explore how a cigarette rolling paper company exploits these characteristics to dominate their industry and maintain a tribe-like loyalty in a business that comes with certain baggage.
Don’t have an illustrious origin story? Make one up! “The original…since 1796”. You can find that on the underside of their packaging still. Folklore and generational history have tied the Napoleon era forever to the Rizla history. They remind you of it every time you see the product and the brand. These origin stories: real, imagined—or a bit of both—are powerful plays to help establish and make your brand stand out.
Give people a sneak peek of your secret sauce. Another example is the heavily guarded and super-secret formula of Coca-Cola for over 125 years. They have taken this origin story to another level letting you get as close as you can to the formula in the vault at the World of Coca-Cola experience.
Create unique connections with your brand. The Rizla design is iconic and mysterious. With nods back to original material used to make the rolling papers – rice, and the ode to the founder Peter LaCroix. The logo has been used in a variety of creative formats at the various music festivals and racing events they sponsor. If you want an iconic brand, have a great story and make sure your brand emotes a certain set of values that your customers and fans connect with on a deeper level.
Get to know your customer’s likes and obsessions. Rizla’s customer base is obsessed over attention to detail and a certain sense of irreverence. Their base also shares similar language, looks, and taste that make it a great way to reach them. Really understanding your customer base, why they choose you, and what makes them tick are distinct and personal sets of information that are critical to building the brand and ultimately turning your customer base into ambassadors of your brand. Maybe that software company with the fruit logo or the coffee company near them come to mind. Yes they are juggernauts but they have applied these principles almost religiously to get where they are.
Ultimately what you sell or provide has to be good. “Keep rolling with the World’s #1” has to have some merit or your brand will be a “paper tiger.” (Pun intended)
A crafty story. An authentic design. Customer intimacy. A good product. Nice little checklist to make your brand standout. Give us a shout! We would love to Rock-n-ROLL with your brand!