Now here's a marketing strategy that customers can really get attached to: a campaign that sticks results in the spotlight.
For the last year or so, every container of Weldbond adhesive has come with a hang tag featuring stuff customers have actually made with the glue. There was the 1,452-pound wooden bowl (which required 1,213 gallons of Weldbond), Weldbond-sealed giant sand sculptures, and the largest model of the Titanic ever constructed.
They were all winners of Weldbond's "You Glued What?" contest. What's so special about glue? Absolutely nothing — and that's the point. Bernie Ross Jr., CEO of Weldbond's Toronto-based parent, Frank T. Ross & Sons Ltd., says, "What is unique about [the adhesive] is what people do with it."
The photos and stories on Weldbond's tags show appealing applications for the product — and help build the brands of customers. (Monthly winners also get — woo hoo! — a T-shirt, apron, hat, and a gallon of glue.)
That cobranding has the potential to create an army of excited influencers. These are the sort of people who belong to stained-glass-window clubs or attend taxidermy conferences. They talk with peers about their crafts — and about the supplies they like (or don't).
Roslyn Zinner, for one, landed on a Weldbond tag for her 5-foot-by-6-foot mosaic table depicting a St. Lucia landscape. She endorsed Weldbond before winning hang-tag fame, but "I think it's nice that they care what people do with their products," she says.
Frank T. Ross & Sons says it's too early to know whether, in fact, its campaign is delivering sales gains. But it likes the early buzz. "There are umpteen associations and groups that people form around their business or their hobbies," Ross says. "A brand can be an extension of that if you are willing to get creative."
A version of this article appeared in the May 2005 issue of Fast Company magazine.