Good products stand for something. It could be something as simple as it “tastes great.” It could be an association with a health claim (Gluten Free, Low Carb), a social stance (Free Range, Fair Trade), or even an environmental concern; something, anything to form a connection with consumers.
In recent years, I have watched the growth of what I call “hooks” on packaging. These are terms, phrases that seek to call-out – in no uncertain terms – the claims and identity of the particular product. With Pretzel Pete, however, I intentionally avoided the use of hooks preferring to lean on the taste qualities of our seasoned and spicy pretzels. Was this a mistake? I think it was.
Late last year I attended a trade show and was exhibiting next to a so-called healthy snack brand. The product had a number of healthy attributes that were called out and the images and design on the packaging screamed “HEALTHY.” The product (IMHO) tasted like a Styrofoam coffee cup with a little bit of flavor sprinkled on. But, I couldn’t help but be impressed (and envious!) of the stream of people fawning over this product. The real jolt was when I took a minute to peruse the nutritional panel of the product and was shocked to see that by almost every measure, our humble Pretzel Pete was actually a healthier choice than the Styrofoam cup! Given the success of this other brand, it became glaringly obvious that they were doing a lot more right than I was!
But who is, what is Pretzel Pete? More importantly, what do we want the brand to become?