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The Two Words That Turned And Saved A Dying Business

April 8th, 2011 |

I don’t know about you… but I’m not one for watching a lot of TV. At all really…

But occasionally the old box will be on in the morning as I’m “rounding up” my cattle… sorry… I mean “kids” for school.

Anyway, my ears pricked up when I heard this story on “Sunrise” – it definitely makes for a read-worthy blog post.

Let me pre-frame this.

Hang around me longer than 5-minutes and you’ll probably hear me say these words. “To be a great copywriter, you must first become a great marketer.” I first heard that from Mal Emery, and I totally agree.

When I heard about this story I just had to share it with you. The simplicity of it is beautiful and it has a powerful lesson. I won’t keep you hanging any longer…

In a small town in North Queensland (where they bend bananas), there was a serious epidemic unfolding… A real tragedy in the making. Here’s where it started…

At the local supermarket and fruit stores, locals had the choice of two types of bananas to buy. The big, long banana in one bay… and the small puny bananas in the other bay.

(If you’ve ever been the small or less athletic kid at school who always gets picked last, then this story will give you hope)

In short, (no punt intended), the smaller bananas were not selling. To the point where they were going to totally wipe them out all together. Shut down the harvest pants, lay off the workers – the whole deal – Never to be seen or sold again.

Until… One smart cookie splashed a creative marketing spin on the problem.

It only took two words. Get this…

They placed a sign in front of the small banana bay that read this:

“Lunchbox Bananas”

And guess what happened?… whooooosh…

They became so popular that they practically ran out the door. Shopping mothers INSTANTLY made the distinction and changed their buying habit to fill a need. And that need was fitting a banana into a school lunch box.

Beautiful.

Lessons for you:

1. You could be just one great idea away from a marketing (and financial) breakthrough. It could be the media you choose, the new market you tap into, the message, hook, twist or USP (unique selling proposition), your strategy, and the list goes on

2. Can you “name a process” in your business that you and your industry peers take for granted? Name it. Own it. Think outside the box

3. Never assume that your clients will “join-the-dots” – spell it out for them as if you had to explain it to a 7 year old. NEVER ASSUME THE OBVIOUS

4. Always communicate your biggest benefits (or point of difference) in the best most obvious possible way.

5. Can you use a recognizable word or phrase and marry it into your message? I saw this the other day when someone was refereed to as “The Richard Branson of the Internet”. Here are a few more examples:

– The “Entrepreneurial Bible”
– The “Ghost Whisperer”
– The “Cash Flow Queen”

You get the idea…

So can you find your “Lunchbox Banana” story?

Keep your eyes “peeled”
It could be just around the “bend”

Think big. Be different.

Bret Thomson
P.S. If you have any cool little stories like this, don’t keep it to yourself – post it in the comment box below. Who knows… I might contact you and flush it out into a post under your name.