What Can We Learn from Ketchup?
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 music 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 suppliers and distributors. 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.
Most people don’t think about this stuff, but as a branding madman of sorts, I tend to pay more attention to marketing messages. The reality is that Heinz Ketchup is better than others. Heinz also does a good job explaining the Heinz difference and the value of its product. Are we effective doing that?
For years I did education sessions around the country. One of my favorite sessions was “What Can We Learn from Ketchup?” In some seminars, to support the business-building theme of my sessions, I would throw out stress foam hammers and hard hats, in the “What Can We Learn from Ketchup” seminar, to reinforce the message I would hand out small packages of Heinz Ketchup. (The kind you get in restaurants.) The simple message I will share here 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. Perhaps you have noticed that Heinz now uses a plastic bottle that is colored “Heinz Ketchup Red” and it can’t be refilled.