Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Yogurt Story?! Who Cares!

In a recent Business Week story about her new frozen yogurt brand, owner Chloe Epstein offered the following advice:

“There should be a story attached to everything you serve. It makes the entire package more personal, honest, and irresistible. You need to love, trust, and feel good about every item. Every morsel counts.”

Sorry, Chloe, I don't. Tell me about the flavors and toppings, the number of calories in a serving, and how much the whole package costs. That's all I need to know. And I feel similarly about comparable efforts of marketers to "tell me their story" with self-centered narrative for a product that at best is a commodity, or at worst is a minor purchase.

Yes, I know, story telling is a way to differentiate a product and "build brand loyalty." But let's consider the product, the context within which the purchase takes place, and the relationship (for lack of a better term) between buyer and seller. In many instances those variables don't, in my opinion, merit a story.

So please just give me the yogurt, and save your story for someone else.


Robert Meyers said...

Haha... honestly, this is hilarious and I couldn't agree more. Doubt if you and I will run into each other anytime soon on Madison Avenue!

jginese said...

Just a quick off the cuff because I can't seem to find the time to have as well thought out (and wordy) response as I want.

People want the story. Higher Ed advertising is all about the "story", attend here and you'll be exposed to, experienced for, prepared by, yada yada yada.

Cars are the same way - "our cars are built right here, designed by here, driven by them."

No different than why people were up in arms about Walmarts years ago - they were killing the small mom & pop shops that people loved due to the story of the Mom & Pop having a store!

"I'll pay $0.50 more for milk because I like Mom and I know it helps her help pay for Jane's college."

You can't deny that we all want some sort of story and attachment to products. Would you go to a Dairy Queen or this yogurt shop. Dairy Queen is static - no story there just big business pushing product. The yogurt shop, big story - home grown, organic, started out small.

I'd go to the yogurt shop.

No different than why people buy a Harley and not a random brand bike. Harley comes with a story (and a large following).

You can't deny this Mitch. Books have been written about it, quite popular ones such as Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki who stressed the importance of enchanting your customers/audience so they come back for more.

Another example, job interviews. "Ok great ya know what, you all have X amount of experiences and X amount of success. You are all the same to me so I'll just pick one out of a hat" versus "Candidate D had a great story to her - really intriguing and showed depth. I think we'll take her over the static Candidate B who has the experience but not much else."

Just my two cents.

Give me the story before the yogurt. I'll listen. (Which leads me to think that the mentality is "I dont need to know WHO WHAT OR WHY just take my money and give me my product." Which probably works for most people who are self absorbed in their own daily obligations and stresses which is understandable and I'll admit to having days like that. But, everyone has a story and from time to time - everyone likes to be listened to. Case in point, why else would you write a blog if not to share your thoughts and story?

Mitchell Friedman, Ed.D., APR said...

Joe, thanks for your well-thought out comment. I can't quarrel with your logic. Yes, I believe the story is important in some cases; more importantly, as a consumer, I get to choose when I want to hear the story or not. I guess what I'm reacting to here is the pervasiveness and tyranny of marketing in its infinite manifestations. Where does the insanity end? I mean, after all, it's just frozen yogurt!