COLUMN: Yummmm... The Power of Regional Brands

Updated 6 years ago by David "Alligator" Williams
As Twinkie laid on his deathbed, the power of branding became quite evident. Fans who had not eaten a sponge cream-filled cake in years scrambled to their grocery store for one last taste. Customers fondly recalled days from their childhood when their mothers would pack a Twinkie in with their lunch. Nostalgia, hunger, and even tears were conjured up with the mention of the brand name Twinkie. It is the power and strength of that brand that may eventually save it even though it's creator may be gone.
The power of branding.

Regional brands also have power just as much as the national brands. In fact, the mention of a brand can make a consumer remember an area and the good times they had in that area. Or the mention of an area, can create a hunger for an item of that area.

I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Even though White Castle hamburgers are available in other areas than just Cincinnati, I always identified the greasy little sliders with Cincy. The same can be said for Skyline Chili or Gold Star Chili. Also, I cannot forget about LaRosa's Pizza. Every time I have visited Cincinnati I always make it a point to visit those restaurants. In fact, the trip to taste my favorite brands of my childhood is almost as enjoyable as visiting friends or going to a Reds or Bengals game while I am there. I'm not sure if it is the actual taste or just the great childhood memories that come with the brands.

Here, in West Virginia, we are fortunate to have several great homegrown brands. Mister Bee Potato Chips is one of those great west Virginia made products. Fans from all over the country special order the chips by the case from the Parkersburg, WV company. Many fans will not leave the area without taking their favorite chips with them. Maybe it feels safer to take a little slice of home with you when you travel, but there is not any doubt that when transplanted West Virginians think of their home state they think of Mister Bee's and vice-versa.

Many Huntington residents cherish the memories of Stewart's Hot Dogs. Like Mister Bee's, it is not unusual to see cases of Stewart's Hot Dog's leaving Huntington. When the ex-residents return to their hometown often their first stop off of the highway is at a Stewart's hotdog stand. Hmmmm... I'm sure Tudor's Biscuit World fans feel the same way about the Mr. T or Mickey biscuits.

Many states have their brands and fans. Kentucky has Ale 8. Virginia has Cheerwine. Even if you are not from the area, you can still identify the area with a brand. Every time I go to California, I simply must have An in and Out burger. If I'm passing through Cumberland, Maryland on the way to Baltimore or Washington, I stop off in LaVale at D'Atri's for their unbeatable steak and cheese sandwiches.

Brands are like old friends. If you haven't seen them in a while, it's good to run into them every now and them. And some brands are even worth going out of your way for every now and then. They are often a slice of home or slice of the good ol' days. A good brand has lots of power. Don't write ol' Twinkie off just yet. He's got alot of fans that aren't ready to accept his obituary just yet.
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