4 Reasons Why Build-A-Bear’s Communications Are So Effective

Build-A-Bear Credo

Yesterday, I wrote a post about how effective I think Build-A-Bear’s customer communications are. Today, I want to explore why I think they’re so effective.

Businesses and brands have 1 goal – sell more product. There are many elements to their particular business that helps or distracts them from accomplishing that goal. Branding, reputation, customer service, leadership, staffing, and communications are all critical. Perhaps the most critical, however, is the consumer. Something (and someone) that the brand has absolutely no control over. All they can do is establish principles and beliefs that are core to the brand and work as hard as they can to effectively communicate to consumers across all elements of their business.

The foundation of brands and their story is the emotional pull that attracts consumers. And the emotion is really the thing that not only drives sales, but sustains relationships over the long-term. And sustaining relationships over the long-term results in loyalty and advocacy. Loyalty and advocacy drive personal sales and also result in word-of-mouth referrals, which can lead to more sales. So, I believe a strong secret to success is creating and tapping into this emotion.

This is what I believe Build-A-Bear is incredibly effective at. I think the things that enable them to be so effective at creating and tapping into this emotion are:

1. They understand their identity, principles and beliefs. They know who they are, what they stand for, and what they believe. This is the foundation to their business. It’s why people come to work for them and ultimately, why people continue to buy stuff from them.

2. Everyone and every channel work in concert with one another. Without seeing behind the curtain and the inner-workings of their organization, you get a strong sense that marketing, communications and retail are all on the same page. Direct mail to the website to the online community to the store. It’s like it’s one big communication – or story – regardless of where you’re interacting with the brand.

3. They actually have a communications plan, most specifically a CRM (customer relationship management – which is a bad term) plan. Having buy-in, within the organization, on the importance of a fully integrated, cross-channel communications plan is the first step. Many organizations cripple themselves with the seemingly overwhelming complexity of such buy-in and as a result, never get to actually creating the plan. And this –creating the plan – is the second step. Then, with a plan, each department within the organization can work to add and optimize. Having a plan is easy in theory, but difficult in anything beyond. Build-A-Bear has made a commitment to communicate in a measured, relevant way with their customers.

4. The bear is the connection. The beautiful thing about the bear is that it is the emotional tie. It is the best friend. It is the lifelong companion. It automatically comes with emotional connections.

In this hyper-connected, multi-screened world that we live in, integrated and consistent communications are more and more critical to brands. One big story.

But even then, I don’t think it’s enough. Just as Build-A-Bear does, I think creating and tapping into emotions – through every touchpoint – are the thing that’s builds and sustains relationships over the long-term.

Who else do you feel is effective at creating and tapping into emotions with their communications?



2 thoughts on “4 Reasons Why Build-A-Bear’s Communications Are So Effective

  1. Michael Molinar

    Great post. Totally agree with you about Build-a-Bear’s ability to tap into that emotional tie.

    Have you seen that Build-a-Bear is now building workshops in other non-mall locations as well? There are three currently in Major League Baseball parks in San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, DC (where coincidentally, you can create your own stuffed official team mascot), and one inside a hospital at Cook Children’s in Fort Worth. Talk about understanding exactly where the emotional connection occurs and how it can create a long-term relationship with the company and its products…

  2. Mike Cearley Post author

    Thanks Michael. Good to hear from you. That’s interesting about their presence outside of their own brick-and-mortar stores. It makes a lot of sense, being that all of those places you mention are family-friendly and ripe for creating customized best buds (I’m sure the mascot-versions of those particular teams are through the roof.) From Build-A-Bear’s standpoint, it’s opportunistic and certainly at the hospital, meaningful.

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