It isn’t enough to make a great widget unless it is the one and only product that’s going to save the world.  It’s unlikely your brand falls into this category, so defining your brand in the mind of the consumer must be a priority if you want to survive.  The food industry’s growth is built on innovation; new brands, new products, better solutions to our problems.  The reality is most of these brands and products don’t last.  A statistic I heard many years ago was that over 93% of all new products fail.  As a consultant and sales manager, one of my toughest challenges is figuring out which products and brands have the right stuff to succeed.  It usually comes down to the people, but more than that, it comes down the right people combined with a commitment to brand building.

Telling your story is critical to your success.  If you don’t define your brand in the mind of the consumer your competition certainly will.  Or worse yet, you will just be one of the many invisible brands littering store shelves.  When I first started as a retail buyer, it was obvious products didn’t become winners based on their physical qualities alone.  Just because something was good didn’t mean it was going to succeed.  A brand’s resources played a part, but mostly what separated winners from losers was visibility.  It was romance, storytelling, and personal connection that built loyalty and brand sales.  The difference between then and now is technology more easily allows us to communicate directly to consumers and build emotional connections. 

This doesn’t happen by osmosis.  It happens because brands put actual effort into their packaging, sales materials, websites, social media and messaging.  They make telling a compelling story and building connections with their customers a priority.  Unfortunately, many companies are just going through the motions; and though they may have a communication presence, they haven’t figured out how to put the pieces together for success.  Their websites are digital dust collectors with little traffic and their lack of effort is a self-fulfilling prophesy of communication failure.  When brands focus their efforts, the results can be significant. 

I am an avid listener of podcasts.  Several that I listen to, started running advertising for a brand of socks called Bombas.  ( )  After hearing the pitch several times, I checked out their website and placed an order.  The site was certainly cheerful and fun, and their products were well explained and compelling; but what got me to order was their commitment to helping the homeless.  This is an issue I care about, and because they care too, they were able to make an emotional connection.  The socks arrived in a few days and they were wonderful.  I love them. I have told my partner, my friends, and pretty much anyone that will listen how great they are.  Bombas created an emotional connection with me and then fulfilled their promises by delivering an excellent product; compelling me to share their story with both friends and strangers. 

It is easy to think Bombas could make great socks and have a cool website, but if they didn’t find a way to tell their story directing me to their digital home, I would have never known about them.  They would have been just one more brand available for sale.  My impetus to order didn’t have anything to do with the quality of their product.  I couldn’t have known if they were telling the truth about how good the product was, but they built an emotional bridge which prompted me to order.  And the reorder was assured by delivering quality goods that exceeded my expectations.  Today’s consumers are overwhelmed by choice and are thrilled to find brands which resonate in deeper places than their wallet.  They yearn for connection, and when they find it, they are likely to tell the world.