While reading Google Plus I ran into the image above that Jeremiah Owyang shared on Google +. Its a new package of Heinz Ketchup shape like a small bottle which allows you to either squeeze the Ketchup out or dip into the bottle.
My mind travels into strange thought patterns and once I glanced at the package I realized how something so simple as a simple ketchup container has been customized around the needs of those who enjoy in this case ketchup.
Everything else is Tomato Sauce
Any loyal ketchup consumer will always by the Heinz brand. A while back I read in Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures ( ← Affiliate link)
a full chapter on reasons why Ketchup had the perfect formula and that is why everything else was tomato sauce not ketchup. Heinz biggest competitive advantage is the formula and its ingredients.
How are your services unique in a way where others similar product offering from your?
What elements are your competitors not able to create, imitate, or duplicate?
Is it possible for you to create something that will clearly make your product or services different from anything similar? A good example was the iPod and how other mp3 players where called a general name.
Improving User Experience
So after so many years of already having a competitive advantage (Ketchup’s unique formula) now they add another factor to the mix and updating its products by creating a package where people can enjoy it better.
Going back to the iPad and Apple products many of them although complex in creation look very simple and user friendly to the user. After so many years of people having issues opening packages with their teeth, getting ketchup all over your clothing, and wasting most of the product on a napkin instead of dipping it into a container. These neat containers that can make eating ketchup a cleaner experience make it also a more pleasant one.
How are you helping your customers improve the experience they have with your products?
In my case we build websites and blogs I want to make sure that when we create a website for a client they can update it and understand the basics of a website. If users are new to blogging or maintaining a website I use a framework like Genesis ( ← affiliate link)which helps me not reinvent the wheel and make it practical for the end user by using an established WordPress framework.
The same goes when I teach people on how to use emerging technologies like social platforms. Right now I am working on a project with Rob Hatch and Chris Brogan as part of the Human Business Works team and our biggest challenge is taking our collective knowledge and breaking it down in a way where others can pick it up and run with it. Working with Chris and Rob makes it a lot easier since they do a better job than me on making things practical and keeping them simple. .
Less elegant, Less Hassle
How many times have you been at a restaurant where they have the glass ketchup bottles and you have to conduct experiments on the bottle just to get the product out?
Yes many of us have been there sticking the knife inside the bottle, hitting the bottle at the end, and other strange activities I have conducted with ketchup bottles which I rather keep to myself just to get the product out.I keep wondering why such an impractical container still exists.
Other than making ketchup look a bit more elegant I really don’t think that type of container is practical. When the situation arises that I want ketchup I want to be able to pour in a quick, clean, and simple way.
On many occasions I see how people focus to much on adding bells and whistles to a package adding complexity to the end user or client that will be using the product. You have to make your product look great like for example a MacBook pro but you also want it to be easy to pick up and use.
I remember how I moved over from being a Windows user to a Mac user I was amazed on how easy it was to move over. Looking back different to buying other electronic items even opening the box is a pleasant experience. After so many years of using windows and only a few of a Mac user I see how greatly Microsoft failed at making it easy for me. I don’t see myself going back to using Windows any time soon. Like many say once you go Mac you never go back.
Take a step back and look at what functionality or extra add-ons you can eliminate. It might take you some time and this should be periodic and continuous effort in all the processes that lead you to your product.
The best way to get answers is by asking the end users , your customers , those who interact with you and your products.
- Ask your customers the following:
- What functionality or service can’t they live without?
- If you are into software ask them what areas of the software they have never used?
Audit how they use your product? (topic for future blog post feel free to subscribe to get it directly in your email inbox).
In my case I had to create a price matrix for our web design and development offering. Although I want to play a huge role on how a website is created for my customers and make suggestions based on our experience I might have been offering things that where out of the clients budget and of no use to them.
A critical factor in any business and mainly any other is how your customers perceive your services and products. That is based on how they use your product.
So getting back to the ketchup Image above and the main question I wanted to ask you in the beginning after writing all these words.
Do you Dip or do you Squeeze the Ketchup out?
Any others way you have of eating Ketchup. Keep in mind that your clients might also have different uses for your services and products. Do your best to stay up to date on all possible uses this might lead into selling more services, enhancing a product, improving the existing relationship or all of the prior items bundled into one.