Way back in (about) 1995.
I was busy advising business owners how to start and grow businesses.
I didn’t really understand brand back then.
But I was quite good at marketing.
These days, I’m pretty good at both.
By the way, I am defining Brand as:
Building a perception about an offering in the mind of the consumer.
And I am defining Marketing as:
The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements – profitably.
Anyhow, a big part of both is really knowing your customer.
And in particular, buyer behaviour.
Why they choose you.
Or why they don’t.
I was chatting to someone about buyer behaviour just the other day.
And I was reminded about quite a large fishmonger business that I worked with in the 90’s.
This business was over 100 years old.
And I worked with the owner.
A nice chap.
He understood lots about cod and herring.
But – at the beginning – he wasn’t big on buyer behaviour.
His customers used to annoy him.
He was quite grumpy most of the time anyway.
Up at 3am to meet the fishermen.
Overseeing the laying out and running of his shops from 4am to 4pm.
Then it was pub.
Anyhow, there was one thing more than any other that used to drive him mad.
It used to really piss him off.
It was to do with kippers.
Best Product v Best Brand
Basically, the best way to get a great tasting kipper is to simply catch it.
And shrink wrap it.
But this chap and I discovered that he would only sell out of kippers each day if he did something quite specific.
Something he hated doing.
Because it actually made the kippers taste slightly worse.
It was, quite simply, adding a little butter floret (flower shaped pat of butter) inside the clear pack.
It enhanced his brand offering.
It influenced buyer behaviour positively.
But it annoyed him that, in order to achieve this.
He had to consciously create a better brand offering that – at the same time – resulted in a slightly less good product.
Customers can be strange.
But it is our job as business owners to understand this strangeness.
And the nuances of why they buy.
Because to ignore buyer behaviours will never maximise sales.
Your product must be great.
And the kipper, even with the butter, was pretty good.
So we were OK.
But even this grumpy old fisherman knew an important and absolute truth about brand.
He knew that, ultimately, the best product won’t win.
But the best brand – will.