REC TEC Grills changes its name to become a “lifestyle brand.”
Local pellet grill company REC TEC Grills has changed its name to recteq.
One word. No more “Grills.” No capital letters.
At the risk of sounding like a therapist: “How does that make you feel?”
Invigorated? Intrigued? Confused?
I ask about “feelings” because this re-brand is designed to evoke a very specific one – affinity. Specifically, a greater affinity for the growing line of products the company has built around the bull-styled barbecue grills that took the outdoor-cooking industry by storm more than a decade ago.
Recteq (sorry, all sentences must start with a capital letter) wants consumers to understand their grills are just a doorway to the recteq universe: there’s also grill covers, cooking accessories, spice rubs, sauces, coolers, apparel and even flags.
In short, the grill company is becoming a “lifestyle brand.”
Even if you’ve never heard the term, you’re probably already familiar with the concept.
Lifestyle brands market products and services in a way that embodies the interests and attitudes of a particular subculture. The idea is to make a product that promotes an image that attracts people who want to be part of the clique.
Emotion drives most of our purchases, anyway, so why not enhance the emotional tug?
The recteq concept as I see it: Any weekend warrior can keep a grill on the back deck, but only recteq pellet grill owners possess a no-holds-barred passion for outdoor cooking and the potential to become master of his or her domain (i.e., backyard).
A recteq customer will appreciate the unique bullhorn handles, rust-resistant 304 stainless steel internals and powder-coated enamel finish. But what the company really wants is the customer to become a member of the recteq collective, which can be displayed to everyone else through recteq-branded hats, hoodies, license plates, camo beanies and beer koozies.
For those who really want to make a statement, there’s even a recteq COVID-19 face mask. Honest!
Lifestyle branding isn’t a new concept. For decades people have been buying Rolex watches not just because they want an excellent timepieces, but because wearing one exudes success – or at least acknowledges the wearer is in the pursuit of success.
Michael Jordan hasn’t played professional basketball for 17 years, but teenagers decades from now will be pestering their parents for a pair of his signature Nike shoes.
For those who simply “don’t get it,” that’s OK. Marketing that confuses you just means it probably wasn’t intended for you in the first place. Happens to me all the time.
When I was middle school, a lot of the cool kids wore Ocean Pacific and Billabong surfing t-shirts, even though we all lived in a tiny desert town seven hours from the nearest beach. Nobody was a surfer, but the shirts let us know who was at least hip to the Jeff Spicoli lifestyle.
As an adult, it took three years of me seeing young dudes wearing “Costa” baseball caps and t-shirts before realizing Costa Del Mar was a brand of fairly expensive sunglasses. The product behind the lifestyle never crossed my radar screen (mainly because I buy only cheap sunglasses – the kind I don’t mind losing or accidentally sitting on).
It took me nearly a half-decade to figure out that all those “Life is Good”-branded t-shirts, hats, windshield decals and spare-tire covers were promoting nothing but an iconography – that the whimsical stick-figure character was the product in and of itself. I suppose I don’t understand the desire to purchase merchandise specifically to tell others, or even myself, that I’m in the “Good Vibe Tribe.” I’d rather try to live a genuinely good life and keep the cash in my pocket.
Oh, one other thing about lifestyle brands: I think I saw YETI bumper stickers for about two years before I ever saw an actual YETI cooler.
Which brings us back to the pellet-grill company formerly known as REC TEC Grills. The “recteq” re-brand is not some statement on its core products (which are still largely manufactured in China) but part of a strategy to incorporate all its products into your lifestyle.
“We are excited to be able to offer our customers, from all over this great nation, more than just grills and grill accessories,” Jody Flanagan, the company’s public relations director, said in a statement this past week.
The “q” at the end of recteq, by the way, emphasizes the quality of the company’s products and customer service. Without that quality, the company couldn’t become a lifestyle brand. Who wants to be an ambassador for a product that stinks?
“The ‘q’ is nothing new to us,” Flanagan said. “BBQ and quality will always be at the core of our values.”
But if you’re a proud member of the recteq tribe, you probably already knew that.
END OF AN ERA: The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Breakfast on Friday was notable for several reasons.
One, it was the chamber’s first “in-person” event since February. Two, it was informative. And three, it was the final meeting presided over by Tammy Shepherd.
The president and CEO has retired after 12 years of service at the organization, during which time she helped it achieve the U.S. Chamber’s Five-Star Accreditation – a fairly impressive feat.
The socially-distanced crowd of business leaders in attendance heard moving tributes to her leadership from everyone who took the microphone, including U.S. Representatives Rick Allen and Jody Hice, who read proclamations they entered into the Congressional Record.
The Congressional Record is the official record of Congress’ proceedings and debates, meaning Shepherd’s accolades will be noted in perpetuity. That’s pretty nifty.
The business community also got a chance to meet Shepherd’s replacement, Russell Lahodny, who has relocated (escaped?) from California, where he held the dual titles of vice president of the California Chamber in Sacramento and the Western Association of Chamber Executives.
Russell, welcome to town. Tammy, enjoy retirement.
CLOUDED BY COVID: While at the breakfast, I had a chance to meet Fort Gordon’s new garrison commander, Col. Shaw Pick, who replaced Col. James Clifford about three weeks ago. Clifford is retiring from the Army and will become the city administrator for North Augusta effective Aug. 17.
I’m looking forward to chatting more with Pick (sans facemask) once we’re past all these pandemic problems.
I was thinking how it was a shame COVID-19 forced the official arrival of U.S. Army Cyber Command on July 24 to be a fairly low-key affair. It would have been nice to have a little more bombast to signal the three-star command’s arrival from the metro D.C. area.
It’s also a shame more couldn’t have been done to celebrate the July 31 opening of Fort Gordon’s new Candlewood Suites hotel. At 311 rooms, the hotel is the largest Candlewood anywhere in the world.
The facility, by the way, is open to Department of Defense ID card holders and their guests. It was developed under the Privatization of Army Lodging program, which is a partnership between the U.S. Army, Lendlease and IHG Army Hotels.
OUT OF WORK BY CHOICE?: Like many pandemic-era employees, I had to take some furlough time this year. And like many others, income-tax implications were not on my mind when I was sent those $600-a-week benefits .
I’m not concerned, as the time amounted to only three weeks. But I’m wondering about those folks who remained out of work by choice because the $600-a-week payments exceeded their pre-pandemic paychecks.
A very tax-knowledgeable friend (I’ll call her The Tax Lady) pointed out to me recently that most people don’t understand those hefty payments are fully taxable. That might not turn out well for some who received the payments and didn’t adjust their withholdings.
“It will be a nasty surprise when they go to file and find that these payments will have elevated their income to the point of losing some (low income) credits and caused them to actually owe both state and federal tax,” she said.
SPREADING THE GOSPEL WEST: Church-related news doesn’t often appear in this column, but this past week Abilene Baptist Church bought enough property in western Columbia County to pique my interest.
The church’s members voted to acquire 62.3 acres on Appling-Harlem Road near Interstate 20, an area prime for future commercial and residential development.
“This area is predicted to be one of the fastest-growing corridors of Columbia County, where thousands of people will be migrating in the next ten years,” the church said in a statement.
The land will become the permanent location for Abilene’s West Campus, which has meet Sunday mornings at Harlem Middle School since September to accommodate significant growth at the main church in Martinez. It will “make it possible to continue reaching the growing community for Christ as one church with two locations,” the church said.
The $1.26 million property is just under a mile north of the interstate, across from the new Club Car distribution facility and the future Amazon fulfillment center.
The church said a groundbreaking will be set in late 2022 or early 2023.
BREAKING GROUND…NOW: Keystone Homes is moving forward this month on the second section of North Augusta’s Gregory Landing subdivision off Gregory Lake Road and Interstate 20.
The Augusta-based homebuilder said the community will offer “quick access to the interstate for an easy commute to the Aiken and Augusta areas, sidewalks, beautiful landscaping and features with many modern floorplans to choose from.”
OFFICE OF THE FUTURE: Euchee Creek Development Co.’s business park near the northwest corner of Furys Ferry Road and River Watch Parkway may soon have a new tenant.
Augusta-based IT services provider Premier Networx has filed site plans with Richmond County to develop a 13,300-square-foot office on a 1.3-acre parcel right off the entrance at Cooper Drive.
If completed, “The Augusta IT Guys” would be sharing the development with Elegant Bridals, Simon’s Formal Wear and the multistory Storage Units Augusta facility.
Premier Networx’s current office is leased space off Wheeler Road in Evans, next to the former Adventure Crossing entertainment center. The new digs will certainly have better traffic visibility and much more room for parking.
Speaking of room, this week’s column is about out of space. Au revoir.
Sorry, the new recteq spelling reminds me of French for some reason.