How Tervis tapped into existing advocates to build a brand
Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 1:20PM

Daytona Beach Advertising Federation Lunch Break attendees came prepared October 22, with Tervis’ tumblers in hand, to hear Nick Riegal talk about the language of ‘Tervomaniacs.’ The senior director of brand and marketing communications for the 70-year old North Venice, Florida company, first addressed the company’s internal dialogue prior to launching its first-ever television campaign.

From three words flatly stated without emotion, “It’s a cup…” to the realization of the entire company – from HR and new product development to the CEO –  that Tervis’ consumers have emotional connections to their tableware was a two-year process.

Riegal, with Tervis for almost three years at the time of this talk to 65 advertising industry professionals in Daytona Beach, said now “everyone’s speaking the same language because three years ago we weren’t...”

To illustrate what Tervis did “for our little humble brand in North Venice, Florida,” Riegal described what Tervomaniacs are (“Someone who has 13 Tervis products in their cupboards.”) and what his company’s research approach was during the two-year period prior to hiring an ad agency:


1. ‘Consumer centric’ is not a Tervis buzz word.

“ If you’re not talking to your consumers,” said Riegal, “if you don’t think you have enough money, you think you’re too small of a brand there are ways that don’t cost any money at all.

Combining focus groups with social media strategies, Riegal said trends emerged.

“The great thing is once you talk to the consumer, you start seeing the same thing over and over. Then you go back to the home base and report how these learnings are continuing to build on each other. And you see those trends coming out. This has led to everything that we do and it continues to be the basis of what we do.”



2. Be aware to grow awareness.

Tervis conducted a tracking study to determine where to put emphasis. Realizing the need to grow nationally, Tervis asked itself, where can it afford to play? A brand awareness map confirmed the southeast as the strong suit, so the company started there.

“With all the research we’ve been doing and all the consumer work,” said Riegal, “it really went back to our heritage, to the roots of how the brand came to be what it is today. Out on the golf course. On the boat. At the football stadium.”




3. Be true.

While the company ‘needs to see what’ s going on in the future,’ Riegal said there is a need “to be true to ourselves and lost that heritage that people know and love us for.”  


4. Brand DNA.

“Out of all that work, what’s known throughout our company is our Brand DNA, also known as brand essence,” said Riegal.  




5. “What is your typical day like?” “What’s your ideal day?”

Tervis asked these questions of their consumers and their ideal day was exactly like their typical day. “The dog wasn’t barking. The kids weren’t fighting. They live this perfectly casual lifestyle that we like to refer to as blue jeans,” said Riegal. “You can put on put on a pair of blue jeans and a t-shirt and you’re good. You can dress that up with a sport jacket. That’s really the kind of the lifestyle that our consumers live.


6. “Experience Goals” and “the sunshine life.”

“When we’re creating communications,” said Riegal, “when we’re looking at new products, when we’re doing anything as a brand we ask does it reflect the sunshine life? If I’m up in Maine and it’s freezing cold and I grab a Tervis tumbler, I feel the sand in my toes and the sun on my head.” Everything goes back to heritage. “Knowing what we are and that we want to be true to ourselves.”


7. Time to Grow Up.

In evaluating the overall brand, the logo and creative assets were also analyzed. Tervis retained the same shape and form of its logo, but changed the colors from “primary and juvenile”’ to something “more evocative of that ‘sunshine life.’”


8. From product to a brand.

Tervis’ two-year process before the campaign launch was as much about new look and feel as was about moving the company from a manufacturing company to a brand. “We did a really good job in the last 10 years growing up as a manufacturer,” said Riegal. “And we got really good at selling to retailers, but found we needed another impetus to grow. There was no longer this field of dreams that you just put it in retail and it starts to flourish.”


9. The Toy Story analogy.

“… think of your cupboard like Toy Story. So if all of your dishes and drinkware came to life, they all had personalities, they would all be jealous of Tervis.” Back to the notion it’s not just a cup. “…It’s the weirdest thing, to have this connection with a cup. But people have it. They come downstairs and they open the cupboard and decide which Tervis they’re going to use based on what they’re wearing, what mood they’re in, what game they might be going to.” The emotional connection is further understood by the knowledge that 50% of people have been introduced to the brand through a gift, which highly personalizable given the 45,000 skus for 5,000 different designs.


10. “Forging uncommon bonds through ‘Tervis Encounters.’

This means, in short, the creative energy of Tervis and consumers in the marketplace. The idea centered around the notion that “there are a lot of people in this world who have Tervis. So what if we brought them together to see what else they have in common?” So Tervis brought together (in three short months before launch) 15 Lindas from around the country, four golfers who owned the iconic 19th hole tumbler, and 125 fans from one of the most heated rivalries, Auburn – Alabama, and this is what it looked like:


tervis tumbler
tervis tumbler

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