Enlightened Conflict

nuts for nutella

August 10th, 2013

 

–          2256 pictures tagged with nutella on weheartitnutella happiness

–          1000’s of Nutella images on tumblr

–          almost 2 million ‘likes’ of Nutella on facebook and almost 60000 currently ‘discussing’.

 

Well.

After a while … even if you are not interested in something you become interested if that ‘something’ is so pervasive it becomes impossible to ignore.

Nutella has become that ‘something’ for me.

 

It seemed like everywhere I went to get an image or read some young person’s thoughts on something I was researching I came across a Nutella image or thought.

Whoa. And when I say they shared a thought … I don’t mean some nondescript vapid thought … but rather an emotional over-the-top attachment to this thing called ‘nutella.’

<note: Nutella appears to have an extremely emotional following with young people <teens & tweens> and especially teen girls>

nutella why i loveBy the way … there appears to be an inextricable link between the band One Direction and Nutella lovers.

 

Anyway.

 

I had to do something.

 

I had to do something because … well … probably dating myself … I had no frickin’ clue what Nutella was <I also am unsure I know a One Direction song so that may be a corollary>.

 

So. What did I do?

<hint: not listen to One Direction music>

 

Easy.

Because it seemed youth oriented I immediately went to my go-to irreverent research thought starter … cracked.com.

The people at Cracked pretty much tells you ‘what is’ in a hysterically irreverent sometimes uncomfortably straightforward style. Once again they didn’t fail me.

 

 

Nutella: Just The Facts <from cracked.com>

 

  1. Nutella is a spread made of sugar, oil, milk, chocolate and hazelnuts. Also, it is awesome. nutella spoon

 

  1. Nutella was made by Pietro Ferrero, an Italian Confectioner responsible for Ferrero Rocher, Tic Tacs, and other sweets, like an Italian Willy Wonka.

 

 3.       There are many uses for Nutella, mostly revolving around eating.

 

4.       It combines the thrill of chocolate with the excitement of hazelnuts, and is over 50% sugar; the culinary equivalent of a getting blowjob while driving your Ferrari to Disneyland.

 

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm …

That peaked my interest even more <as well as made me chuckle>.

 

Apparently Nutella is not an American thing … European <not even distributed from an American location … Canadian I believe>. Manufactured by the Italian company Ferrero Nutella is a form of a chocolate spread <hazelnut and cocoa spread> and very similar to a generic production of chocolate spread.

Nuts & bolts stuff … Nutella is made from sugar, modified palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skimmed milk powder, whey powder, lecithin, and vanillin.

 

By the way … there is a fabulous 2000 slideshare ‘Nutella brand’ presentation:

 

http://www.slideshare.net/BAGASHI/nutella-emotions-the-cult-branding-strategy-presentation

 

Regardless.

I will probably buy some just because I am curious <and it sounds delightfully over-the-top extravagantly unhealthily tasteful>.

 

Ok.

Now that I discovered what exactly Nutella was … I thought about the business aspect <like … how the fuck did this become so pervasive and I had no clue what it was nor have ever seen advertising or marketing for it>.

I imagine it is really the social aspect of Nutella that intrigues me because there is a cult-like following to this product within young people.

 

I know cannot remember seeing a single advertisement for Nutella nor recall a single in-store promotion or anything with regard to in store/point of purchase displays and such.

It just seems to sit there on the grocery shelves most typically near the Jiffy and Peter Pan peanut butter.

 

After a little research … apparently the product does do some advertising but we are talking peanuts <sorry … couldn’t resists> … like not even a million dollars globally.

 

Alrighty then … some business thoughts.

 

First.

 

nutella fingernailsAs a business marketing guy … I find it hysterical that dozens of marketing & branding experts are hacking away online <waxing poetically in some marketing buzzworthy brilliance> at Ferrero for ‘not taking advantage’ of their passionate followers and ‘maximizing’ the brand’s opportunity.

 

This is hysterical <painfully so> because it seems like things are going so well for Nutella that experts are suggesting ‘c’mon … you can do better of you paid attention.’

Well.

This is marketing thinking at its worst … worst because it is not about screwing up tactics <which is fixable> but rather screwed up attitude <which is not fixable>.

The screwed up attitude is that marketers always seem to want to not let good things happen on their own but rather inject themselves into the ‘good things’ with intent to make it ‘gooder’ … yet …  unfortunately making it ‘badder.’

 

Sometimes when things are going well they should just be left alone.

Why?

Well.

Particularly in this grassrootsy <viral, social, whatever buzzword you want to throw in here> success it has an engine pushing it along that is finely balanced and well-tuned. Well-tuned to such an extent it can sense when some speck of dirt or grime starts clogging the engine … and will begin shutting down when that crap enters the engine.

The dirt & grime in this case is outside influence … yeah … marketers screwing around with the engine.

 

They should avoid screwing around with an engine when it is working well <and fine tuned>.

 

But that isn’t how marketers work.

 

They are tinkerers by trade <as they should be> and also tend to be quite bad at leaving things alone <always tinkering even when tinkering is counterproductive>.

That is a screwed up attitude with which marketers are quite good at covering up by highlighting the times their tinkering was successful <albeit tinkering is incredibly difficult to measure> and ignoring when tinkering was unsuccessful <because they can always suggest that without tinkering it would have crashed faster>.

 

Yeah.

 

Those marketers are crafty people.

 

Seriously.

Maybe Nutella is doing well because they aren’t paying attention … to anything but have a solid positioning <youth> and solid consistent product.nutella buddy

Geez.

There is an insight.

 

Oh.

Remember <on the hysterical stage> … hindsight is always easy.

 

Second.

 

This is the wacky unpredictable predictable power of behavior.

 

“Marketers always overestimate the attraction of new things and underestimate the power of traditional consumer behavior.” – Bob Hoffman <Ad Contrarian>

 

Nutellla kind of flies in the face of all those actions of the marketing and branding executives who are spending millions of dollars trying to craft brands and brand messages focused on specific consumers <using demographics & psychographics & behavioral science stuff>. Nutella doesn’t spend shit for marketing dollars.

Instead … traditional consumer behavior is rearing its beautiful head in that users <empowered by the online world … but not exclusively> like the product … and actually have created the infamous desirable ‘brand love experience’  all on their own.  In fact … its users suggest it is the chocolate-flavored nectar of nutella witchthe gods and as addictive as crack.

 

Now.

Despite all the numbers I placed at the beginning of this post … in behemoth brand terms … it still remains an underground fringe product in the good ole USofA.

In my words … it is a cult brand.

Cult?

Because it isn’t really known by everyone <so users kind of feel like they know something the normal everyday world doesn’t know>.

Because it has a distinct taste and texture … well … it isn’t widely enjoyed by everyone <despite the fact there is so much passion among those who do enjoy it>.

 

In my words … Nutella lovers believe in their Nutellaness.

<see ‘cult’>

 

It is a secret club.

 

So when they run into fellow Nutellans and give the secret handshake and secret sign … there is a positive combustion.

This is sometimes called the ‘law of scarcity attractiveness.’ If it is scarce it is more special therefore more attractive.

This goes for the product <it seems difficult to get therefore it must only be for those who ‘get it’ … and it is attractive in its distinctness> and this goes for users <you must be distinct if you are a Nutellan and therefore interesting … which is attractive to me>.

 

Anyway.

Attitudes and behavior is always an interesting thing to think about … and incredibly difficult to purposefully manage.

 

Here is the thing <which I wish all these marketing gurus expounding genius with regard to Nutella would think about>.

 

Rarely is the issue and challenge to create … or generate … it is almost always inevitably about redirection.

 

The ability to generate force, no matter how powerful, is a secondary skill. Redirecting force is the ultimate skill. For creation always yields to control. <don’t know where I found his but it sounds like a martial arts thing>

 

Sure. Marketing can give an initial ‘push’ to get things going but great marketing and brands and company positioning are not all about demanding people drive on one lane roads at a certain speed. They just want to get people on the road driving.

Now.

Once on the road you like to give them some directions … and signs … and maybe some gas on occasion. That is redirection.

 

If I sat down with Ferrero <assuming they didn’t all speak Italian which I don’t> I would shake their hands … tell them they have done a great job <even if they haven’t done anything> … maybe suggest a couple of behind the scenes small nudges to redirect <assuming they have seen some consumers who have lost their way> … and then say “sit back … watch … and have a plan of action set up to go into market for when it seems like the natural ‘cult status’ has stalled.”

Oh.

And be prepared to never use it.

 

Huh?

 

Say what?

 

In other words … don’t get greedy.

Cult brands are cult brands. The moment you try and make them bigger than a cult … well … the current cult gets pissed and the new ‘desired’ cult members all of a sudden aren’t so interested anymore.

Whew. In my pea like brain that is ‘lose-lose.’

Don’t fuck with a good thing <I believe this is an unpublished Law of Marketing>.

 

Third.

 

Does positioning really matter? <I gulped when I wrote that>

 

It’s interesting that it seems like the company has positioned Nutella around ‘youthful & energy’ <and avoid healthy in any way … although there is an odd but interesting subconscious aspect in play in that if you have energy and are outdoors being active … is it contributing to a more social healthy lifestyle? … hmmmmmmmmmm>.

 

The only ad I could find <an older one> … suggests that Nutella will give you the energy of a child.

 

Yet … go to any Nutella loyalist reference online and they affectionately call Nutella ‘love’ or ‘black gold’ or ‘chocolate heroin’ or even ‘crack.’

 

Well.

Even typing ‘does positioning matter’ makes the hair on the back of my professional neck stand up. Positioning is sacrosanct. It is the bible/Koran/Torah of business decision making. If it is the only thing you do as a business … then at least you have done the most important thing.

 

I imagine I really want to point out that great positioning is sometimes not all about tightly defining restraints for your company or product but rather setting up a solid foundation for which it can stand on. But that brand <positioning> foundation can be fairly expansive.

 

Youthful energy?

 

Well.

That is pretty broad.

I can be a 50somethng <I am> and desire youthful energy.

I can be a tween <I am not> and see myself in the product.

 

I guess my point is that someone didn’t over think Nutella positioning <well … having been in a zillion of these meetings let me digress and say that I am absolutely sure someone overthought this … but someone more sane stepped in and said ‘what is most important to us and will be broad enough to allow our product to follow our users throughout their different life stages and ages’>.

 

Great distinct product <which not everyone will enjoy but those who do will enjoy it a lot>.

Great broad but focused positioning <youthful energy>.

 

Yeah.

Positioning does matter.

Just maybe not in the way a lot of the ‘positioning experts’ want you to think about it.nutella huge

 

Note: It really is simpler than they make it out to be <i.e, see great product/great positioning example a couple of lines before.

 

In the end?

Nutella.

Fun to talk about and fun to watch its user cult be … well … delightfully cultish about it.

And as a contrarian … fun to watch all the marketers experts hover around the brand like vultures seeking ways to make it into a carcass with their expertise.

Enlightened Conflict