What Can We Learn from Ketchup?
Anticipation… At the risk of dating myself, when I think of the word anticipation, my thoughts drift toward the classic Heinz Ketchup commercial. This commercial with a Carly Simon song as a musical backdrop, speaks to the anticipation of thick, rich, Heinz Ketchup as it slowly drips from the bottle.
You might be wondering what ketchup has to do with my business rant, but bear with me. There are many brands of ketchup, just as there are many different distributors and suppliers. Some are better than others, and there are varying qualities of ketchup. Low-end brands of ketchup are thin and runny.
Heinz Ketchup stands apart which is clearly evident in their commercial…Anticipation of the thick and rich kind of ketchup.
Most “normal” people don’t think about this stuff, but as a branding madman, I tend to pay more attention to marketing messages. The reality is that Heinz Ketchup is better than others. They also do a good job explaining the Heinz difference and the value of their product. Are we effective doing that as distributors and suppliers?
For years I did education sessions around the country. One of my favorite sessions was “What Can We Learn from Ketchup?” To support the business-building theme of some sessions, I would throw out stress foam hammers and hard hats. In the “What Can We Learn from Ketchup” seminar, I would hand out small packages of Heinz Ketchup. (The kind you get in restaurants.) The simple message is worth remembering.
Perhaps some of you have experienced thin, runny, cheap ketchup that was put inside Heinz bottles by some unscrupulous restaurants. You don’t even need to be a ketchup connoisseur to know that it’s not Heinz. Because of this, Heinz changed it’s restaurant packaging. Heinz now uses a plastic bottle that is colored “Heinz Ketchup Red” and it can’t be refilled.
This may be more information than you ever wanted to know about ketchup, but here is the kicker. On one of these new restaurant package bottles, I was surprised to see this quote from Henry John Heinz: “To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success.”
Ketchup is a very common thing. And Heinz has done ketchup uncommonly well. Their slogan is a good launching point for a business discussion about doing things well.
Space does not allow me to go too deep into the common things that when done uncommonly well bring success. The basics, however, are building your brand through effective marketing materials and incorporating ways to stand apart from your competitors. This includes the value proposition you bring to your clients, having a strong social media presence and going back to the basics of building personal relationships.
This article speaks to anticipation. The "anticipation" of what lies ahead, not just the pouring of thick, rich ketchup.
Are you excited about the business opportunities that lie ahead? Do you have plans to incorporate new and innovative marketing approaches to build your business?
What do you anticipate will happen in the coming year? Will your business grow, shrink or remain the same. A key to success is anticipating these changes and reacting to them. Today our industry faces legislative challenges, changing business models, product safety compliance issues and more. How will you react to an always changing business environment?
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© Jeff Solomon, MAS