uncle carl

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I’m not much of a cook but I’m certainly a student. What’s The Idea? uses a number of cooking metaphors in its daily operation. Many of the tenets of good cooking are also valuable in brand strategy. One such tenet is “Don’t use too many ingredients.”  The more ingredients used, the more likely the main component of the dish becomes obscured.

My uncle Carl taught me the best baked clams are the ones with the least amount of flavor enhancers. See the clam. The same for chicken parmesan. No sauce, just a brilliant tomato slice or two atop the golden brown cutlet.

Brand strategy development is about evaluating customer care-abouts and brand good-ats and selecting only the top three — the three with the most flavor (or most complementary flavors).  Most importantly, these three brand planks must support the brand claim, or, following the metaphor, the main protein.

Brand strategy is best served with one claim and three proof planks. It’s not over-complicated. It’s easy on the senses. And the consumer palate is very understanding.

Leave Michelin stars for the true chefs. Complexity in brand strategy rarely works.

Peace.

 

 

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I grew up in an area that produced 80% of the world’s hard shell clams.  The clams had great names like cherry stone, little necksand top neck.  To the uninformed or visitor to the Great South Bay, an opened clam was and is quite a sight. Unlike anything you’ve ever seen, a little neck has some purple and crimson on the shell, pink on the muscle, rich caramels and tans on the meat and a little pocket of black (don’t ask) –a bit like a nursery school drawing.  The clam is nestled in a cool saline broth that to some appears like what my father might have called “the doggie’s dinner.”  

uncle carlEnter Uncle Carl. A transplant to Los Angeles, Uncle Carl had two reasons to come back East. One, to visit family.  Two, to eat clams. And eat he did. Voraciously.  To watch his face, to hear the smile-affected slurp, to listen to his appraisal of each morsel (at my young age I wasn’t always sure of all the metaphors) was to know consumer love.  Without telling me I needed to try them, Uncle Carl was the hard shell clams’ best salesman. He didn’t entertain, he didn’t story tell, he didn’t need a spokesperson – he just shared the experience. Experiential marketing, modeling marketing are two of the best sales tools in the kit.  

Though hard shell clams are not that common here today on the Great South Bay, they are still among for most wonderful treasures on the planet. Treasures I may never have tried had it not been for Uncle Carl Alf. What a salesman, what a teacher. Peace.

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