Adding Value To A Commodity Product

How do you add value to a product that has commodity status?

No, it’s not a riddle or opener of a joke.

Walking into the 2015 NRA show.

Walking into the 2015 NRA show, brands galore.

Let’s start by defining what a commodity is. According to our friends at provide us with this explanation.  Friend and colleague Mike Kallenberger touches on beer and commodity in this article.

I’d say that adding value equals making sure your branding is solid and true and your marketing is strategic and wise, suited to the brand to develop it long-term. Marketing – honest and straight forward, fitting of the vision and executed ala the mission – adds a tremendous amount of value to brands, commodity and all the rest.

“Make it interesting again,” stated Tom Ryan of Smashburger at the 2015 NRA convention. He was telling the audience that interest, intrigue, and giving people a reason to engage most certainly adds value. I’d agree.

Value is a moving target. It’s one of only 3 Universal Truths I’ve learned in my research as well. (Read more on that here.)

Adding value should start with having value to begin with. If your goods have value, then market them appropriately. Dedicate and execute worthy marketing and branding. If you’re in business – no matter what kind or tax status – it deserves your best effort.

I doubt people start businesses to want to see them stop.

Success You Had….

Recently I was cleaning out some files from a box that’s moved with me across country through various residences. It was time to fish or cut bait with the heavy box of papers. Time to cut bait.

Inside the box lived an assortment of large mailing envelopes with papers my mom had saved from my years of Grade 1 – 12 school. Talk about a walk down memory lane. And many times a whole new experience, as I certainly don’t remember everything about all of those years.

It was fun to look through it all. My writing style develop starting with the ol’ stick and ball, then cursive, then how my cursive and style started to emerge and change. Remembering people – classmates, teachers, and others – who were part of my growing up. The stories I wrote that she saved were funny, amusing, and curious. There was a plethora of my drawings and clippings and musings on horses too. I had a good imagination then, as I do now.

Ginger's 10th Grade Success Inventory

Ginger’s 10th Grade Success Inventory

One sheet in particular caught my attention. “Success Inventory” from 10th Grade. While I don’t know from which class or teacher it came, I do like the idea of it. Here how it starts:

  • “Write a statement after each explanation explaining one success about yourself:
  • Success you had with people in general:
  • Success you have with a person of the opposite sex:
  • Success you had within yourself:
  • Success you have with a project:”

And on it went with a total of 22 requests for completion of success starters.

Like the Ginsu knives – wait, there’s more! Yep, the final three points to complete include:

  • “Your greatest success? Why?
  • What would you use as a symbol of your successes: (an object, something small enough that you could carry it, a color, a possession, etc.)
  • Why?”

In looking it over, I clearly filled out about 3/4 of the sheet….perhaps it was an open-ended, get-us-thinking exercise.

Clearly it’s got me thinking now. To my successes, especially when I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. Successes when I feel successful. Successes in the future tense.

How about you – what have you been successful at, starting with this week?

Where Is Your Quality On Display?

For some of us, me included, it’s sometimes a challenge to “show” people our quality standards.

We have testimonial pages, offer brochures (virtual & hard copy), reference various re/sources…yet it’s difficult for some to wrap their minds around a service as capable of a quality component.

Having returned from the inaugural CIA Crafting Beer & Food Summit, Napa CA, I can tell you quality can be obvious as soon as someone opens their mouth. Let me expound.

Nicole Erny is well-known in the beer community for various accomplishments. I heard Nicole speak on the closing panel and was impressed with her fortitude, clear opinions, and forthrightness. Confidence of self voice tone is one way to show commitment to quality. I told Nicole as much afterwards, since all speakers enjoy useful feedback.

Another example: some brewers I’ve met in recent years were slightly confrontational and definitely arrogant in their conversation – perhaps more like monologues sometimes. Putting confidence over the edge into arrogance is never helpful, attractive, or good for brand building. Having your middle finger up via what comes out of your mouth is a turn off and bad for business. To me it’s an obvious sign of less than comprehensive commitment to quality.

CIA GreystoneWhy would they brag about something that they feel like they have to defend? If it ain’t quality focused, I ain’t interested. And neither are many consumers.

Sure, you may get a curious hit or two, a few sales around the exploration of seeing what the kerfuffle is all about..and then it dies on the vine. It’s a terrible way for passion to fizz out.

Quality is queen in every regard. Quality takes more time, more energy, more resources, more thoughtfulness, and more money. And it’s always worth it.

Long standing successful companies and entities of all tax status focus on the quality of product, service, and delivery. They work smart & hard to ensure the entire cycle of inception to purchase to maintenance is well maintained. They adjust as needed, flex and bend, and area always looking forward to perpetuate a solid ground on which is exist.

I’d encourage you to adopt a quality mindset if you haven’t already. Make it universal and it’ll change your world for the better. It may mean forgoing certain things at times or delaying yet you’ll be supporting a better directive for all.

Slay The Dragon Of Objection

No! No thanks. No thank you. Nope. Ummm…. I don’t think so. You’ll have to ask someone else. I’m not the one who can sign off on this project.

There are as many ways to say no as there are people who say it.

The dragon's always lurking somewhere...

The dragon’s always lurking somewhere…

Saying no, as I’ve told a friend, is a way to say yes to something else. And I do believe it.

They may seem like empty words when you’re on the receiving end of no though. So how do you slay the dragon of objection?

  • First off, do your homework. Ask yourself: is this the right direction, right person, right area, right pursuit? Qualifying all of these aspects FIRST is important in using your time wisely.
  • Next, do some active qualification. Talk to friends and connections about what they know, who they know, how they can help you figure out the potential landscape you’re considering entering.
  • Then decide. Yea or nay. Go with what will bear fruit, what will bring enjoyment to all concerned, what adds value to the world around us. If it isn’t clear, then it’s a no. If it excites you and you can’t wait, go for it.
  • Finally, dig in since you’ve done your research and qualifying. And if it isn’t going well, smoothly, with minimal adaptation, then it’s time to rethink it.

The Dragon hungrily awaits you. Make sure to do what you need to do in advance to avoid the dragon all together. Let her go elsewhere for her meal. Set yourself up to eat.

3 Things I’ve Learned From My Fine Husband

My Fine Husband

My Fine Husband

3 Things I’ve Learned From My Fine Husband

  1. Asking questions is a great way to start a conversation. Further, open-ended questions are really the key here. Closed ended = short conversations. Open ended = where opportunity happens.
  2. Do your research. He’s excellent at digging around the Internet in particular. While that’s not a joyful activity for me, I understand the value and do it when needed.
  3. There’s always time to play with the dogs. Indeed, he inherited a four-legged household when we connected. A break in the form of play is a reward we all benefit from.

I know there are myriad other lessons My Fine Husband has been kind enough to intentionally or unintentionally taught me. I’m grateful for all of them.

These all relate to marketing as well.

  1. Ask questions. It’s the best and most direct path to progress.
  2. Do your research. So many reasons to be prepared!!
  3. Make time to play. Blow off steam, gather steam, regroup. It’s essential for our well-being.

What can you teach someone else today?