Anyone who sells anything for a living has heard the old adage, “The customer is always right.” This little nugget is more relevant than ever in today’s customer-centric economy. Now that consumers have only to click a button to get products from kayaks to kazoos delivered to their door within hours, businesses that don’t focus on the buyer’s needs can’t survive or thrive.
Keeping your attention on the target consumer is critical, but it’s only part of the equation when it comes to another key factor in business success: branding. We all consume hundreds of brands every day: Did you grab a coffee at Starbucks this morning? Are you reading this blog on an Apple iSomething? Will you drive home in a VW or a BMW? In today’s uber-branded world, the challenge to brand effectively is daunting. How do you tell your product’s story so that it stands out from others?
Even the meat industry is moving from commodity products to branded products. And it brings very special challenges, because we aren’t selling coffee or computers. We are dealing with a highly perishable, temperature-sensitive product for which we don’t control supply, input costs and, more often than not, the way it’s sold.
By its very nature, our product dictates that the meat industry has to tackle branding differently.
While widget companies might be able to adapt nimbly to new branding specs, meat packers and processors have production capabilities already in place, with heavy investments in capital, facilities, equipment and people. The opportunity to upend your plant to produce a new branded meat product is slim (but if you are thinking about it…let’s talk!).
But those darn consumers…their needs are constantly changing, so you have to consider what they want and assess what you can produce profitably. Where the overlap lies is your area of opportunity – your “sweet spot.” It doesn’t matter if you develop an awesome brand that syncs with every desire of your target consumer if you can’t produce it in the black.
While overlaying consumer needs with a company’s core competencies might sound fairly simple, in reality it’s pretty messy. You also have to determine your overall business strategy, evaluate the competition, develop brand positioning and create the visual language for the brand. It’s not a linear process; you are constantly re-evaluating, revisiting and tweaking.
But the time and energy spent assessing where your customer needs intersect with what you can consistently produce will help you identify your “sweet spot.” When you do, set your sights on it with a laser focus, because it’s the foundation of a profitable brand.
If you would like to talk about building your meat brand and finding your “sweet spot,” give me a call at 704.664.MEAT or email me at d.amstein @midanmarketing.com.