A BETTER WAY – Holly Foster Media

The Creation Story

“Many years ago, while at a Jimmy Buffett concert, my good friend Joe and I watched a Parrothead begin to construct his tiki bar. It was breakfast time; the traditional beginning of tailgating for Buffet.

By the time we fired up our grill the third time, for dinner, the guy was finishing up. We were really taken with the idea of serving drinks from our own bar and flabbergasted by the fact someone would spend that much time working at a party.

Joe wouldn’t let it go. His position was clear. He was convinced there was a better way. We both had backgrounds in design, so it made sense to collaborate.

The guidelines were straight forward:

• It had to be portable.
• No wasting time when we could be entertaining.
• It had to look really good and be strong.

The prototype was developed in a few weeks. Enhancements began almost immediately.

• Wood trim replaced plastic.
• Two shelves spaced for large bottle storage.
• A strong roof design.

Improvements have continued, directed by user feedback. Some customers found that wheels were desirable and that became an election. The bar had a reed skirt from the beginning, but we found that sewing a vinyl liner behind the reed eliminated shadowing and allowed it to last for years. With the design help of a local firm, bags were developed to allow for easy transport. We still look for ways to enhance our tiki bars.

When Joe first became seriously ill, he made it clear that he wanted his Tiki legacy to continue regardless of whether or not he was able to continue. Sadly, Joe passed away in 2014, but consistent with his wishes we remain dedicated to producing the best bar possible.”

(Derrico, 2016)

This is the creation story of TikiBarToGo.com, the original portable tiki bar company. They are a small New Jersey-based manufacturing company whose sales are funneled through their website, which was redesigned in 2016.

My goal is to provide them with the advice they need to bolster their social media presence. In preparation, I analyzed their brand using Patrick Hanlon’s advice in his important book, The Social Code.

“Building your strategic brand narrative is foundational to your success, almost a parallel path with your technology, product or service build. This narrative is ‘strategic’ because by carefully designing the seven pieces of social code (creation story, creed, icons, rituals, lexicon, nonbelievers, leader), you can distribute each piece via content in digital and social media to design a holistic communications surround for users and fans that keeps them in touch with your community” (Hanlon, 2016).

You’ve read the creation story; now I’ll walk you through the other six pieces of their social code.

Creed (what they’re about)

A TikiBarToGo bar is simply the best portable bar.

“The old adage of ‘getting what you pay for’ certainly applies here. So does ‘Made in the USA’” (Portable Tiki Bars, 2016).

Icon (how they are identified)

Rituals (how they do things)

10 minute setup.

You do not need any special skills to assemble the bar. Other than perhaps the first time or two, it takes about 10 minutes to fully set up the unit.

Sacred words (specific words understood by their community)

Durability and portability.

“A combination of design and materials makes our bars last for many years of commercial use” (Portable Tiki Bars, 2016).

Non-beliefs (what they’re not and never want to become)

They are the original portable tiki bar.

They never imitate.

Leaders (the persons who created the community)

John Derrico and Joe Roose.

My recommendations are included in the video below.

Content Calendar

If you like, you can view my sample social media calendar, or the slide deck of the video.

Poised for success

“The more your brand is in touch with a larger story, the greater your ability for success” (Hanlon, 2016).

Joe was “convinced there was a better way,” and worked together with John to make that vision become a reality. Like Joe, I believe social media provides a better way to share their brand voice, build their community, and market their unique product.

until nxt time …


Derrico, J. (2016). About Us. from: http://tikibartogo.com/about-tikibartogo/

Hanlon, P. (2016, April 26). What is strategic brand narrative? Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickhanlon/2016/04/26/what-is-strategic-brand-narrative/

Portable Tiki Bars. (2016). Retrieved from: http://tikibartogo.com/

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