Making Weird Acceptable is One Use of Language

 In my book – Ramping Your Brand – there is a line that gets at the fundamental danger in CPG innovation, the fundamental threat to above-average memorability in a crowded, oversupplied marketplace.

“Rarity in its purest form—rare ingredients, rare flavors, rare sensory textures, rare symbols, and rare consumer benefits—is not the kind of memorability CPG entrepreneurs want to rely on. That kind of rarity is just weird. And weird is a total black hole of money in CPG innovation.” pp. 37, Ramping Your Brand

The biggest threat to ramping your brand is that your offering becomes seen as just plain weird by virtually everyone or only seems normal to category geeks or purity buyers who have a weak ability to persuade others to try your thing.

Bizarre offerings do exist (i.e., weird across all touchpoints, including strange consumer outcomes), but most premium offerings out there is a mix of the odd and the familiar. Yet, they may very well have one weird aspect, usually an attribute. Something tied to your production process. Your formulation. Your nutritional symbolism.

You need to discover how to make that weirdness enticing, even appealing to a broader audience (or series of wider audiences). This is a process of tying it to existing high-value outcomes through superb storytelling.

Dr. Squatch soap, and their rising star agency Raindrop, did a superb job of using modern, edu-tainment techniques to make cold-pressed ‘hippie’ soap enticing to ordinary middle-class dudes across the Red-Blue divide. Suppose you want more insights into how to uncover your brand’s critical attribute-outcome signal, the one that will make you cool and modern, not weird and silly. In that case, I highly recommend you take my course – Scrappy Consumer Research for Founders. It contains some deeper insights not in my book!

Dr. James Richardson

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