Where is the Blue Apron?
What’s inside a Blue Apron box? The biggest question I have is where is the Blue Apron?
I’m going to share a brief story with you. Years ago, I took cooking classes from the premium appliance brand called Viking. I signed up for a six-week course, it was once a week. The very first thing that happened when we went back into the commercial kitchen, where we each got a Viking white apron that had the viking brand on it.
Now, it was not a high end apron, it was just a utilitarian apron, but what it actually was, was an incredibly powerful, emotional connection tool. By donning the apron, Viking had us put on a personal identity. “I am learning to be A Chef” and all the excitement that goes with that.
It was brilliant for Viking to give out an inexpensive apron to all of the students there, because we all felt immediately connected to what the brand stood for.
It’s an easy, inexpensive surprise touchpoint for your customer, and the same can be done – and should be done – with your brand. Especially in an eCommerce relationship with your customer.
Not all brands have an obvious customer indoctrination opportunity. The fact that Blue Apron does not include a blue apron upon a buyer’s first order, is a missed opportunity that should be leveraged. With the volume of subscribers that the brand enjoys, and the amount of first-time “trial-buyers”, it’s an inexpensive way to create connection.
Let me tell you more about my apron. I took a second Viking Cooking class, where I got another apron, at the beginning of that class. Both of those aprons, still, to this day, hang in my pantry. I also purchased a high end premium consumer retail apron, years ago, it’s red, it says Viking right in the front. I love that apron. Now I have all three aprons in my pantry.
People hang onto things like that, because they’re useful, they’re functional.
The benefit of having the brand aprons hanging in my pantry is they trigger the memory of the experience, as well as my connection to that brand, in this case, Viking, is still hanging in my pantry, it’s been eight years.
The value of giving a blue apron, for Blue Apron, to their trial-buyer especially, is that the subscriber of the meal-kit is in a trial phase. They’re not a customer yet, and they’re certainly not a loyal customer, they’re giving it a go.
They might stray and try others because there’s no emotional connection or sense of loyalty. However, if they got a Blue Apron, and if that blue apron was hanging in their pantry, now that’s a different scenario.
Human behavior is hard-wired. We have guidelines, or “rules of engagement of human relationship” in our brains. If I had a Blue Apron hanging in my pantry, and then I went to try a few others, maybe Plated, or Purple Carrot, the “rules of engagement” would actually be triggered and… It would actually feel as though maybe I was cheating on my brand, on my Blue Apron, I would kind of feel bad. It’s not conscious, it’s subconscious.
If enough relationship equity, and connection to the brand has been established, a customer will not defect to a competitive brand so easily.
Deliver Defining Moments
There’s an opportunity with every brand to create a moment of connection, from the start, in the beginning. Create and deliver a moment of surprise, delight, and a memorable touchpoint. This is what we call a defining moment in the Resonance Roadmap™ charting the customer engagement with your brand.
Optimize Retention Though Connection
With Blue Apron, in my opinion, it’s obvious, there should be a Blue Apron (just sayin’).
What could you give to a new customer as a defining moment, as part of the entering into the relationship, and the community? Community changes everything. When you can develop a sense of belonging, being part of a community right out of the gate, you have a much better shot at holding onto that customer, and avoiding what almost every established eCommerce digital brand is experiencing, which is the inability to successfully nail down retention.
Kerri Konik is a seasoned brand strategist and leading expert in igniting emotional connection and optimizing customer experience to drive business growth. She is a consultant, advisor and speaker on catalyzing the emotional bonds between customers, brands, and leaders to increase value, progress, and accelerate the speed of change, growth and desired impact. An entrepreneur at heart, Kerri has launched five businesses, and is the CEO of InspireFire, a women-owned brand strategy and marketing consultancy based in Philadelphia.