Nearly every weekend, my wife and I treat ourselves to a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs (thank you Edward Bernays). Our consumer ritual really starts on Fridays. On my way home from work, I often stop at the grocery store to pick up the bacon along with a few other things. While I’m excited about the purchase, I’m also conflicted about which bacon to buy. You see, while I love to buy it and love to eat it, I hate getting bacon out of the package. What’s frustrating, is that nearly all packages are the same.
In Canada, most of the bacon is packaged in one pound plastic wrapped packages. These packages have no resealable zip and since my wife and I only eat a few pieces each, we often have to slide the remaining bacon back into the package once we’re done. While I’m getting ready to cook, I frequently forget about the package of bacon on the counter while I’m toasting bread, avoiding collisions with my wobbly-walking daughter, making coffee, pouring juice and scrambling eggs. It’s precisely at these moments when disaster strikes.
Removing bacon without incident from a package such as these is nearly impossible. While I get everything else ready, the bacon gets warm, the fat softens and the blood starts juicing. More often than not, the moment I cut open the package, the juices start dripping onto the counter. With all the commotion, getting my hand in the tight package to remove a few strips is more like pulling a ripcord of saucy spaghetti off a plate than an act of skilled surgery. Putting the remainder back is a tragedy. Bacon never goes back in looking like it did on the way it came out. In my house, getting the bacon in and out of the package is a kitchen disaster.
But I digress. As I said, this is a love story and I’ve got some bacon to tell you about. Olymel Fresh Portion, Centre Cut, Made With Sea Salt, Applewood Smoke Flavor Bacon is the muse of my story.
It’s the greatest bacon I’ve ever had. Everything about it is spectacular. It’s delicious. It’s made with sea salt so you know it’s healthy. It’s got that “je ne cest quois” smokey flavor to it. I tell all my friends, colleagues and clients about it. As you can attest, I’m writing an entire blog post dedicated to it. It’s not available in Calgary, Alberta but it is available parents live 4000 kms away so I occasionally bring it back with me after visits. To say I’m a fan is an understatement. When it comes to this particular bacon, I’m a raging lunatic.
Which brings me to the last part of this article – how to build a brand.
Choose to take a stand. There are as many people who believe “we provide innovative solutions” or “#1 in customer service” as there are people who will step on a burning bag of shit. Being good at design won’t cut it, you’ve got to be fanatical about it and prove it every chance you get. If product design sets you apart, can you invent the Fresh Portion package? If it’s customer service, can you be the Zappos of your industry? If you’d like to find a good place to learn how to take a stand, Start With Why.
Listen, great brands encourage emotional stories. In his groundbreaking book Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about the importance of clearing space to make sure the right people get a seat on the bus. Do your customers have a seat on your brand building bus? If you’re listening to them, your customers should have lots of stories to tell. Tap into your customers for insights about how they feel about your brand (see anthropology market research), and create a space for them to share their own stories (see Fiskateers). If customers aren’t telling stories about you then you don’t have a brand, you’ve just got a product.
Stories are vessels of emotional context. Current research suggests that the unconscious or emotional mind influences 95% of all purchases. The remaining 5% of influence comes from the conscious mind which uses logic to justify the decision. By building a brand with stories you’ll be able to influence behavior more effectively than by spewing facts, sales and promotions.
Develop content around the customer’s moment of truth. Bacon is kind of like sex, even when it’s bad it’s still good. I don’t need to be convinced of the amazing flavor of Olymel bacon. Just like all the other bacon that I’ve had, I expect Olymel bacon to be delicious. The moment of truth in my bacon love story is that A-HA! moment when I discovered the portion packaging.
Create content that recreates this moment for others and it will spread. If the content is entertaining, digital and easy to share, I’ll pass it along to my friends through social networks. You can encourage customers to help out too by asking them to talk about what about how the bacon juice didn’t splatter on their walls, about how the leftover bacon stays fresh longer since it was never opened. Seth Godin makes a great case that winning ideas are the ones that spread.
If you don’t sell bacon, think about your own defining moment. In the flower industry, it’s the instant joy on a customers face when the delivery guy hands over their flowers. In the automotive business, when someone drives the car off the lot for the first time. In the housing market, it’s when new owners walk through their house for the first time and say, “it’s ours!”. To you know your moment of truth, is to know your customer.
Choosing to take a stand, listening for emotional stories and the creating content around the moment of truth are three things that people can do to build up their own brands. One last thing, while you’re busy implementing some of these strategies, don’t forget to stop and smell the bacon.
(Image by Cookbookman)
A Guest Blog By Marc Binkley, Multimedia Sales and Brand Consultant. Read Marc’s blog
Link up with Marc: http://ca.linkedin.com/in/marcbinkley
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Marc Binkley’s fanaticism for bacon is matched by his love of the sales process and brand strategy. He has a voracious appetite for learning about the disruption created by social, mobile and digital media on consumer buying behavior and brand preference.
Marc is currently finishing his personal two year case study that tracked the ROI of cold calling versus digital prospecting and continues to work as a Social Media for Business Instructor at Mount Royal University and as a Multi-Media Sales and Brand Consultant.