I recently went on a last minute trip to Anglesey. Our long weekend plans had fallen through and we wanted to make the most of a day off, so we packed up the camping gear, hopped in the car and off we went. With it being so last minute, we hadn’t really planned what we would be doing whilst we were there, so on the way up, I decided to Google ‘things to do in Anglesey’ to sort out a little plan. I found a blog titled ‘2 days in Anglesey’…perfect! Amongst the typical things I had heard of, up popped ‘the only working windmill in Wales’. Now I am all for a cultural experience, but visiting windmill really didn’t seem all that exciting, and I almost skimmed over it, but the blog post mentioned a chocolate factory nearby and I was sold!
Upon arrival, we realised this was not your average working windmill. The place was the perfect example of a business adapting to keep up with the times and the modern consumer and there were a number of ways they achieved this:
- First was the main attraction- the windmill and the surrounding roundhouses where the workers used to live. They were informative, yet not overbearing and the entry was very reasonably priced. You are able to go up into the windmill which is a nice little touch.
- Dotted around the grounds, they had a model safari, meaning that whilst parents were learning about the windmill and roundhouses, children (or adults!) could be looking out for life-sized safari animals lurking in the trees.
- On the grounds, they had a chocolate factory where they make their own chocolate, with its very own version of a Willy Wonka’s golden ticket! They also produce gin made from botanicals found onsite. Both were available to try and purchase in the mill shop. The owner used to be Marcus Wareing's Head Pastry Chef in London and trained his staff up over COVID closures. They also teamed up with a local burger van selling homemade, fresh, local burgers and sandwiches for visitors to enjoy.
- Finally, was my personal favourite, the Monuts! Alongside chocolate, they also make fresh donuts 4 days a week and sell them as singles or in boxes. These were not your average glazed ring though, they were pure indulgence!
Looking at the way the business has developed and adapted to consumers’ needs, there are some key principles that could be applied to any business:
1. Create an experience, not just a single visit
By combining different F&B, the model safari and the main attraction- the windmill, they have made a destination where dwell time could be longer and you can leave feeling as though you have had a proper day out, not just a fleeting visit. We hear more and more in research that consumers like to ‘make a day of it’. A compelling F&B offering helps with this and acts as the perfect opportunity to come together to chat and reflect on the experience.
2. Offer something for everyone
The model safari, Monuts, chocolate and gin turned what could typically be considered a niche attraction into somewhere that had something for everyone to enjoy. There was such a broad range of people there, all driven by different elements of the experience.
In this day and age, people are looking for any opportunity to share on social media… this place had plenty of them! A great backdrop, or something unique that you don’t get just anywhere is always considered worth sharing.
4. Find your point of distinction
The obvious point of distinction for this business was the fact that it is the only working windmill in Wales, but it was their combination of experiences that makes them different from other activities to do in the area. A successful brand is one which has a clear, compelling and credible brand vision, which can all stem from its point of distinction.
5. Find your amplifier
Despite the fact that this is the only working windmill in Wales, I can guarantee that many of their visitors were not there for this reason alone. The Monuts and the chocolate are examples of brand amplifiers- moments that wow guests and act as a talking point and have sharability. A brand that offers these kind of wow moments stands out from the competition and makes the experience far more memorable.
Granted, this was ultimately a visit to a windmill, and they didn’t do anything shocking or completely innovative, but the combination of their offering, and the way they have adapted to keep up with the times and the modern consumer lead to principles which apply to many brands.
At Brand Vista, we can work with your business to develop a credible, compelling brand vision, based on consumer and market insights that pinpoints your area of distinction. We then use this brand vision to work with you and build the customer journey, including ideas that bring the brand to life throughout the customer and colleague journey and those all important wow moments.