STORES Magazine - May/June 2017 - 38
Premium outdoor lifestyle brand YETI's first store sets the scene for sales
by PAUL VACHON
he typical layperson may not notice,
but in the bricks-and-mortar world of
retail, the total sensory experience defines
everything. Sights, sounds and scents all
combine to impress on the psyche the total
message a retailer wants to deliver.
Over recent decades, experts have
mastered the art and science of
harmonizing these elements to achieve
maximum effect, while penetrating
the sensory overload inherent in our
Mood Media has emerged as a leader
in this specialty. The company is the
result of several mergers, including firms
specializing in background music, digital
signage, audio/visual and scent systems.
Danny Turner, Mood's global senior vice
president for programing and production,
frames the challenge when he rhetorically
asks, "How do you cut through all the
sensorial clutter that's out there to create a
branding experience that has 'stickiness' to
create a brand affinity?"
Harnessing the decades of research and
experience of its legacy companies, Mood
understands the nuances that go into
providing a total immersive experience
for its clients - resulting in a highly
customized package of visual, auditory
and olfactory stimuli to convey precisely
the message the retailer wants to impart.
It all starts by working with the client to
delineate the precise message behind the
brand. "It all depends on the experience
the retailer is looking to create," says
Jaime Bettencourt, senior vice president at
Mood. "What makes sense for that brand
is where we start."
Mood's expertise was put to the
test when the company went to work
STORES May/June 2017
for YETI, an Austin, Texas-based
manufacturer and purveyor of premium
outdoor gear - drinkware and portable
coolers of various shapes and sizes.
The company was started in 2006
by brothers Roy and Ryan Seiders,
enthusiastic outdoorsmen who became
frustrated by how easily inexpensive
coolers would break or perform poorly in
The YETI Tundra model is the perfect
example. The all-purpose chest cooler
is available in 13 different sizes and has
over-engineered features such as "Fatwall
Design" - extra-thick double walls
surrounding up to two inches of patented
YETI has offered its products online
and through third-party retailers for some
time, but recently made the decision to
open a freestanding, branded store in its
hometown of Austin.
"We've long had a well-established
brand recognition due to our exposure
through our wholesale channels, but
this store is a unique 'brand experience'
showcase. We like to call it a Disneyland
for outdoor enthusiasts. Our store is a
way of taking our brand and making it
three-dimensional," says Tony Kaplan,
YETI's director of consumer experience
for the 8,000-square-foot store.
"We wanted a strong partner that
could support the pillar of our brand in
our effort to make it three dimensional."
To execute this challenge, YETI turned
"The YETI store is a great example
of all the services that Mood can
bring to the table to enhance the retail
experience," says David Van Epps,
Mood's executive vice president and chief
global product officer.
Because the products are so high-end -
and deliver such premium performance -
Van Epps says that YETI has essentially
redefined the entire item category, which
in turn demands a rethought in-store
strategy. Mood's research revealed that
to successfully communicate the brand's
value, presenting the related lifestyle
would be the key.
"How can that value proposition best
be expressed?" Van Epps says.
"When the customer sees the lifestyle
associated with the product's use
expressed in the store, it's easy to
understand precisely why it's such a
That lifestyle is rustic and rural, one
that embraces all the outdoors can offer
- hiking, fishing, camping, etc. A visit to
the store makes it easy to see the wellhoned connection: Housed in a restored
turn-of-the-century building that survived
the 1935 Austin flood, the exterior is
emblazed with a sign reading "YETI
- All Weather Goods and Supplies"
reminiscent of an old-fashioned
The store also pays homage to its home
of Austin. The music, the displays, the
content on the screens, right down to the