How Lifestyle Brands Life Is Good and Yee Yee Reveal the Hidden Value of Reading and Reacting A name or catchphrase could be a brand unto itself for your business -- and become a game-changer for you too.

By John Brubaker

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Life is Good | Facebook

They say everything is in a name. It's hard to argue with that when you look at how Kleenex and Xerox have forever changed what we used to call tissues and photo copies.

Sure, you can build a brand around a product name, but can you do the same around a simple word or phrase? Absolutely, just ask the Jacobs brothers, who in 1994 started with three simple words -- Life is Good -- and turned it into a $100 million-dollar lifestyle brand. Today, another set of brothers, the Smiths, have created what you could call the blue-collar version of the Jacobs' venture: Yee Yee Brands.

Related: 7 Ways to Attract Millions of People to Your Brand

Following their wisdom, a name or catchphrase could be a brand unto itself for your business and become a game-changer for you too.

Yee Yee: A country term to express pure excitement or happiness.

Tyler Smith launched a lifestyle brand based on a simple expression the brothers coined, "Yee Yee". The term has become synonymous with the country lifestyle (hunting, fishing, outdoors). It originated almost accidentally in a 2010 music video his brother Granger Smith produced, and the expression just resonated with their audience.

Prior to 2010 Tyler Smith was in the music business managing his brothers career, but the market told him the scope of what the brand could encompass was much more than just music. One creative phrase shouted out at the end of a viral video took on a life of its own, with some fans bringing homemade Yee Yee signs to concerts and requesting Smith produce Yee Yee branded merchandise.

What does this have to do with you and your business?

Your best ideas don't scream at you. They are usually a whisper you need to listen closely to hear and respond to. You must read the situation and respond swiftly like Smith.

How did Tyler train himself to become decisive and anticipate opportunities as an entrepreneur? His background as a highly accomplished college football player at Rice University prepared him for this opportunity. It's drilled into athletes to prepare intensely -- and then read and react swiftly. Tyler was a defensive back, and, as a former college coach, I can tell you that if you take the first step in the right direction before anyone else does, all the angles are in your favor. That isn't just a football skill, it's a lucrative business skill too.

The NFL combine just concluded last wee,k and the ability to anticipate and take that first step in the right direction before anyone else will be the difference between a player earning millions in the upcoming draft versus earning the league minimum -- or worse yet not being picked at all. Sound a lot like entrepreneurship?

Related: 5 Tips From Experts for Creating a Distinctive Brand

How do you execute your version this?

  • Read the competition and your customers
  • Based on your read, anticipate and react swiftly to opportunities you see in the market.

If you can anticipate and act swiftly, you'll capitalize on opportunities that others won't see -- or certainly won't see fast enough to respond to. Yee Yee Brands took the first step in the right direction, built a brand and trademarked the name before anyone else could. You can not underestimate the value of listening carefully. Some of the biggest game-changing breakthroughs happen naturally when you read and react to your audience.

Country folks understand and embrace the brand message of Yee Yee. Coincidentally, professional football players do too. For the Smiths, it's not about selling apparel or their new energy drink. These are simply the most appropriate vehicles for the message and vibe that Yee Yee represents. It's about a can-do spirit and valuing experiences over things -- something the entrepreneur in all of us can embrace.

How does your product or service fit your customer's lifestyle?

Life is Good and Yee Yee have created product offerings based on the wants and needs of their audiences' lifestyles. Lifestyle is essentially a collection of experiences.

Do you understand the intersection between your audience, their spirit and your brand? A casual apparel line about country living that resonates with men and women alike, and an energy drink that speaks to hunters and fishermen make perfect sense. If they were to create a line of fedora hats, business suits and sell Frappuccino, it would be foolish, because none of those products fit their customer's lifestyle.

Sell the experience, not the product

Many car dealers make the mistake of trying to sell the actual car instead of selling the experience of driving. How you feel with the windows down, wind in your hair, the freedom of cruising on a back road and sense of power when you hit the accelerator to pass someone. Sell your experience -- not merely your product. People buy on emotion not logic. Yee Yee and Life is Good are the ultimate experiences, because they become engrained in every fiber of their audiences' being as a lifestyle. How are you doing that?

Yee Yee's products align perfectly with their lifestyle message. For them, it's about the community they call Yee Yee Nation -- and it should be for you too.

Why do they have a name for their audience (customers)?

It's precisely the same reason the Boston Red Sox fans are known as Red Sox Nation, Jimmy Buffet's fans are called Parrot Heads and Taylor Swift's fans are called Swifties. It's to build brand awareness and a stronger sense of community among their audiences. You also need to create that sense of camaraderie for like-minded individuals who will share and promote your message.

Related: Here is How to Position Your Product as a Premium Brand

Smart brands like Life is Good and Yee Yee recognize the value in being customer-driven. It's reading the market and taking the first step in the right direction. Your audience expects a customer-driven experience too, so you need to read and react -- or you'll be left behind.

For more game-changing strategies to turn your potential into performance, join my free weekly newsletter.

John Brubaker

Performance Consultant, Speaker & Award-Winning Author

John Brubaker is a nationally renowned performance consultant, speaker and award-winning author. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, Coach Bru helps organizations and individuals turn their potential into performance.

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