You may be thinking, why would I want to “build my brand”, I’m not selling stuff on tv at 3 am.
There are a few reasons. The first of which is just plain old pride in your team. Team in this sense means your family, you and your spouse, or just you if you are a single cacher. Oops I almost forgot your dog counts as part of your team as well. If you take him out there with you he’s part of the team. Depending on what part of the country you live in, there may be tons of dog friendly caching excursions or event events. If you’ve ever played or watched sports you know the importance of a team name.
Just in case it still sounds silly let me give you a better explanation. Imagine this. You are standing in a room. Across from you is a man with a squeaky voice telling you he is angry at you. That may or may not cause you concern. Now if I tell you that that man is Mike Tyson, does that make a difference? Of course it does. The same thing will apply to your geocaching team name. People will recognize your name and already know that you only put out quality geocaches. If they know your name they are more likely to help you out when you need it.
We have blogged before about branding but we will expand a little further. Now is the time to decide if you want to keep your name or come up with something new, something fun that identifies you and your team. In the beginning we just used my first and last name. It was silly but we wanted to make sure we stuck it out before we spent the mental energy to come up with something clever. We got together, family meeting style and brainstormed until we settled on Memfis Mafia. The story behind our name has to do with where we all moved from – Memphis TN. It is also a reference to the group that hung out with Elvis Presely back in the day. Their name was the Memphis Mafia. We changed the spelling of the name and tada – our team name was born. We have used the Memfis Mafia name every since then. The big advice I would give here is to chose something unique. If you are not sure, google it. If nothing shows up you are golden. What you don’t want is to pick a name only later you find out that its also a name of a terrorist group. You will find later on that you are quicker to call someone by their geocaching handle than their real name.
Once you decide on your name, you can move on. To create buy-in with the kids or spouse, decide on a name you all like. From this point on, we will use the name Memfis Mafia when referring to our team name just for brevity’s sake. The next step is to come up with a logo. If you are a graphic designer you may be able to come up with a wicked logo. Good for you, that’s awesome. For the rest of us we have to string something together. We went through a few iterations of our logo before settling on the jeep. For us it made sense because at the time we had a Jeep that we loved to pile into as a family and go geocaching. I also had my brother make our little sketch into a presentable logo. That made it easier to reproduce. Your logo can be anything that you identify with— a caterpillar, a bunny rabbit or a symbol you create. It doesn’t matter what you choose only that you like it.
Sweet, now you have a team name and a logo. That has to be it right? Not even close.
The next thing we did around this time was to secure our own personal email. I know you have an email already or you wouldn’t have ben able to sign up in the first place. The reason for the new email is two fold. The first being that it extends your brand even further. We were easily able to secure the free email address MemfisMafia@gmail.com.
If you have a unique name you will probably be able to do the same. If someone already has your team name just add something to the end. You can always add geocacher to the end or team to the front. The second reason this becomes important is to not clog up your personal/work email with geocaching stuff. As you go on you will opt for certain things to be sent to your email. Plus its just cool that you have your team name as your email and its completely free.
The next thing in the arsenal is social media. You may already be a social media guru or you may have never heard of a tweet or a snapchat. My recommendation would be to at least open a Facebook account with your team name. This account is to be used for your geocaching tales and lifelines. Additionally, all across the country and the world, Facebook is turning out to be how geocachers connect. You may already know but in case you don’t there is likely a non-profit group in your area that exists to further the good news about geocaching. That Facebook group will be a good way to get quick information on events, geocaches that are inaccessible or for coordinating group hikes and outings. You will find that if you have a geocaching related question and you post it on the Facebook group, people will bend over backward to help you. Like any hobby, geocachers love to talk to other geocachers about geocaching.
If you are comfortable with your Facebook and email – you can take it further. When we got to this point we went ahead and signed up for an account on the other services to reserve our name. You will be surprised how you might use these different accounts. In a game where puzzles and confusing riddles are the norm, you never know what you will need.
One more free tool that you can get is a google voice phone number. You already have one available to you free with your TEAMNAME@gmail.com email address. This is another of those things where you say “Why would I want a phone number?” Since its a google number you can usually pick what you want. We were able to get 1 (818) 8ME-MFIS. That was cool for us and it went on those free business cards. We put ours on our geocache pages in case someone needs a hint or just to tell us that the cache is now surrounded by a dozen rattlesnakes. We will give you more examples later as to how this number comes in handy. For now, its free and you can pick whatever number you like (unless someone else gets it first).
Try some of these steps and see if it helps to build team unity and pride. None of these things cost money so you really don’t have anything to lose and only fun to gain.