Take a minute and close your eyes. Picture the beach you used to go to as a kid.
What are the first things that pop into your mind?
When I think of my childhood beach vacations, I think of a few local businesses that my parents took my siblings and I to visit during every trip. I still visit them today whenever I am in town and will hopefully take my children there in the future. They are Fractured Prune, Thrasher’s Fries, and Seacrets Jamaica USA and can be found in the beach town of Ocean City, Maryland.
Why do these businesses stand out in my mind?
It’s not just because they are staples in the Ocean City community and have been since way before my parents were little. It is because of their brand consistency. They provide products, services, and an experience that families remember, trust, and know that they can depend on.
Fractured Prune Doughnuts opened its first location in Ocean City, Maryland in 1976. They provide visitors with the ability to “create and have a HOT doughnut any time of the day.” When you arrive, the doughnuts are not displayed in a case like regular donut shops. Their slogan “you create em, we make them” is exactly right. As you order, there is an employee that grabs freshly fried doughnuts and adds the toppings you choose to them.
If you have visited a location, you’ve probably seen the iconic prune logo. It has a peg leg, broken arm, and band-aid on its hip and can be found on their t-shirts, doughnut boxes, and outdoor signage. Visitors can pick the logo out and immediately know what business it represents. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice that the colors that represent this business are purple and green. They have been the colors that have served this business since it began and are used continuously throughout the website, business cards, merchandise, and logo.
Thrasher’s French Fries
Thrasher’s has been serving up the “original” French fry to OCMD since 1929! Your boardwalk experience isn’t complete unless you’ve visited the original location at the end of the boardwalk for a bucket of fries made with the original top-secret recipe. This recipe hasn’t been altered since they opened 90 years ago. The second and only other owner aside from the man who started the business refused to change the recipe because he wanted to maintain the quality of the product and not alter the taste. According to my grandparents and parents, they taste just the same as the first time they had them.
Don’t let the long line along the boardwalk keep you away from grabbing a giant, overflowing bucket of freshly fried crispy deliciousness. When I was young, I used to ask my parents to take me to the place where they give you too many fries. The bucket you buy, no matter the size, is ALWAYS filled with more fries than it can handle. The only thing that has changed about the company’s packaging is the photograph that wraps the fry bucket. The original blue and white logo can still be found printed across the front of the bucket and is remembered by everyone and anyone who has ever eaten this delicious beach treat.
Seacrets Jamaica USA
I remember getting into an Uber, and the driver and I got to talking. She asked where I was from and when I told her Ocean City, Maryland she replied with “Oh! The beach that has Seacrets?” It didn’t matter that she had never once set foot in OCMD. She knew what Seacrets was and said she had wanted to go and visit the popular beach/night club for years because of her friends and family who had visited and raved about the great day they had had there.
The slogan of the infamous club is “Find Us and Get Lost,” and it can be heard and seen everywhere. From the airplanes that fly over the beach to the advertisements on the radio. I knew the slogan and name of the bar before I knew what a bar was.
Seacrets is always packed during the summer months and charges a cover fee of $10 to get in. Despite there being many other bars to choose from in the area that have a lower or nonexistent cover fee, people pay it to get in. On Memorial Day weekend, this $10 cover fee jumps to $40. People wake up early to stand in line and wait for the bar to open at 10 AM. Why? Because Seacrets does and always has branded itself as a place to go and have a good time. If you take a look at their website, it is filled with photographs of people dancing to live bands, having fun with friends, and having a great time.
Seacrets’ displays brand consistency through its unforgettable slogan and its well-known reputation of being a place to escape your worries, have fun, and “get lost” in the music.
The brand consistency, not only at these three OCMD businesses but for all great companies, is what keeps people coming back. These businesses have advertised themselves as companies that continually provide quality products, services, and experiences. People trust these brands, and when they visit, they know that they are going to receive exactly what they pay for, whether it be a hot unique doughnut, crispy fries, or a relaxing day listening to music on the bay. Take a look at how you are branding your business. Is your branding consistent throughout all forms of your marketing?