Small business: Tim Alpe - building the JUCY brand from scratch

13 comments
Tim Alpe, founder of the tourism business, JUCY, on building his brand from scratch.

Tim Alpe is set to turn JUCY into a major international brand. Photo / Supplied, NZH
Tim Alpe is set to turn JUCY into a major international brand. Photo / Supplied, NZH

"Attitudes are contagious is yours worth catching"! I saw this quote on a billboard recently and loved it. I loved it because it immediately reminded me what the JUCY brand was all about.

JUCY is a tourism business with one clear goal and that is to be a major international brand. The brand is led by our 1950's pin up girl called LUCY who can be seen on everything from hotel walls to the side of campervans and the front of our cruise boat.

JUCY is first and foremost a marketing company that just happens to run rental cars, campervans, hotels and a cruise company. The JUCY Brand is our greatest asset and something that we feel separates us from the pack.

Why a brand?

There seems to be a lot of confusion around what a brand is and why it is so important to a business. For us it was actually really simple, we need to be different and the only way to be different was to be noticed and to stand for something unique.

When we started our business there were over 200 car rental operators in Auckland alone, all of whom were offering basically the same cars, from the same locations and at the same price. We realized very early on that we had to stand out from the crowd in order to be noticed and that the easiest way to do this was to not become our competitors. To do that was to die a slow death!

The JUCY brand grew from a desire to create incredible experiences for our customers that we felt didn't exist through our competitors. We wanted to "jucyfy" the traditional car and campervan hire and make it something unique and next generation.

Brand is not about how cool your logo is or if you have a catchy name or website. It is not simply about painting everything green and purple and putting a cute 1950's pinup girl on the side of a campervan, cruise ship or hotel room. It is about creating an experience that represented exactly who we are as a business and what we offer.

A brand's values

At JUCY we have four values that everyone across our businesses live by every single day both at work and in their personal lives. They are FUN, FAMILY, PRIDE and PASSION. These values are what drives our brand and what makes both our customers and staff feel part of the JUCY community.

A good example of that is our campervans. When we decided to operate campers, we initially thought we would do what our competitors did and have white vans with our logo on it. We then thought: "Bugger this - we have these great big billboards that we can have some fun with and that can also grow the JUCY brand." As a result we painted all our campers green and purple and put JUCY Lucy on the side similar to what they did with the B-52 bombers in WW2. This decision was a massive turning point for the business as not only did it launch the brand as a result of having hundreds of big green campers on the road, but it also created this amazing community amongst our customers as each time they passed each other on the road they would wave and scream. It also meant that at campgrounds all the JUCY vans would end up parking up together.

Our brand gives our customers the opportunity to connect and the permission to be playful.

Adopting a street fighter mentality

Unlike a lot of brand orientated businesses we could not sustain years of financial losses in order to build a brand. We had to be profitable to enable us to continue to invest in growing our fleet. As a result we had to adopt a street fighter mentality and use gorilla marketing to get noticed and grow the brand. I recall the early days of parking our campers outside tourist hotspots just to get noticed.

Social media

The birth of social media has also been amazing for the JUCY brand. The ability for our JUCY community to interact with each other through social media platforms has been a game changer for the business and has significantly grown the JUCY brand. Your customers become your brand ambassadors and through user generated content and customer forum sites like Trip Advisor, push your brand to the world. An example of that is a customer who did a three minute video of their road trip in a JUCY camper. The video went viral and over the last year has had 300,000 views on YouTube.

While social media is an amazing tool for growing a company's brand, it can also be a brand killer as it gives the customer a much louder voice which can have a major negative impact on your brand if you stuff up.

Turning into an international brand

The JUCY brand has universal appeal. The JUCY brand can move across into different sectors and different countries. We have proven that with our launch in Australia four years ago and the US last year. That gives us great confidence that we can "jucyfiy" the world.


Is your business prepared for a natural disaster - do you have personal/ company insurance, business interruption, health insurance? Reflections from Christchurch companies. Email me, Gill South, with your story at the link below:

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 21 Oct 2014 12:48:14 Processing Time: 787ms