Friday, January 6, 2017

Tip #215: Think New + Be New


As we welcome the New Year at RCI, we welcome the opportunity to celebrate RCI’s 100th anniversary. During our year-long celebration of this association’s rich history, we aim to reflect on the past, while looking to the future of this sweet industry.

In thumbing through historical RCI documents, we discovered an article from one of RCI’s monthly newsletters that is surprisingly fitting for kicking off 2017!

In this excerpt from event speaker and vice president of ad agency Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn, Inc. (BBDO), Whit Hobbs reflects on the 1950s and helps his audience of candy makers look to the “sizzling sixties” to inspire fresh, new ideas.

Notice the date: it’s Thursday, June 11, 1959, which means that you are standing on the threshold of a new decade and a new world, the Sizzling Sixties. Behind you lie nearly all of the fabulous rapidly fading fifties.

The decade of the superhighway and the super market. The family room and the TV dinner. The Sputnik and the Beatnik. The greatest decade of CHANGE that there has ever been in the history of the world. Every day during this decade, this whirling-dervish world of ours has made another complete revolution around the sun. Day after day, revolution after revolution. Revolutions in the way people live. In the way they shop. In what they buy.  And what they eat. And what they drink. And what they think.

Look around you. Notice how completely the world has changed. Markets have changed. Diets have changed. Habits have changed. And money is in new pockets.

Most of all people have changed. Notice that people are taller than they used to be. And healthier. And smarter. And savvier. And more sophisticated. With more varied appetites. And more cultivated tastes. People are growing up faster. And staying young longer. They’re becoming harder to satisfy. Harder to fool. Easier to bore. Hungrier for novelty and news. They’re constantly reaching for something better. Something fresh. Something new. And they’re constantly finding it.

My point is this: your customers have changed more than you and your products have changed. What an opportunity you have in the next few months  and in the next few years to throw away the old rules and the old yardsticksin favor of new appeals and new looks and new products and new ideas. WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY TO STOP PLAYING FOLLOW THE LEADER. To stop “doing it this way because this is the way we’ve always done it.” What an opportunity to reach for something better – something fresh and new – and find it.

You know what I’d do if I were you?

I’d make candy that you LOVE to make. And I’d sell it the same way. With pride. With conviction. With enthusiasm. And, most of all, with imagination. And with every piece of candy I sold, I would also sell the IDEA of eating candy. The REWARDS OF CANDY. The fun, the energy, the nutrition, the convenience.

If I were a candy manufacturer heading into the 1960s, I’d make my products timely and talked about and tantalizing. Candy is strictly for pleasure, and I’d have fun with my products and with my customers. I’d tie in with every fad and fancy I could find.
  • Everybody is on a fortune cookie kick these days. I’d bring out Fortune Candies, with corny, crazy fortunes on them.
  • I’d do what the cosmetic people are doing. They bring out shade promotions: Rue de la Pink and French Spice and Red Tape. I’d bring out taste promotions: exciting one-shots that are here today and eaten up tomorrow.
  • I’d bring out special summer candyto be chilled and served ice cold. Bought in the freezer department in a supermarket.
  • Why isn’t candy on every restaurant menu as a dessert? Why isn’t it packed in TV dinners? Why isn’t there dry candy, like dry wine and dry beer?
  • I’d find candy boxes that turn themselves into toys or lunch boxes or something. Inventive packaging has sold my wife one helluva lot of (ugh) cottage cheese. And she buys vitamins the same way: to end up with a handsome jar. She buys soap in plastic bags just to wind up with the bags. You’d like my wife.
  • Give her Monday bars and Tuesday bars and Wednesday bars to put in lunch boxes and she’ll buy a whole mess of ‘em.
  • Give her a box of candy for a long motor trip: each kid gets one of the small pieces every 50 miles, a larger piece for every 100 miles and a special red piece every time you cross a state line.
  • Give her a big bag of un-birthday candy to serve tonight at an un-birthday partyjust for the fun of it, because it isn’t someone’s birthday.

These are just some of the things I might possibly do, if I were you. Time to think big and be big. Time to think new and be new.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

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