The creator of Flip Video, Jonathan Kaplan, is now starting a chain of shops that sell grilled cheese sandwiches of all kinds. At first I thought it a bit odd, until Jonathan talked about people’s natural reactions to growing up eating grilled cheese sandwiches. In my opinion he has a hit on his hands.
Everyone has a story about grilled cheese from when they were growing up, myself included. When we were bored as kids we’d make a cheese sandwich, wrap it in tin foil and then iron it on both sides until the cheese oozed between the folds of the tin foil. Crazy, I know. But it was really, really good .
During an interview with NPR Jonathan mentioned the words nostalgia and feeling. This has an amazing up side because the owner knows why people buy. We want to feel the way we felt when we ate grilled cheese as a kid. The food itself is secondary to the emotions the food brings up in us.
Stick to Your Knitting
The key is to focus on the things that make your brand unique while still acknowledging what’s happening around you in the market. Here’s a cool quote I pulled from Jonathan’s NPR interview, “Stick to your idea, stay focused, hire great people, and be sure that you’re as passionate about your idea as you’re telling everybody you are because if you are, if you’re willing to eat hot dogs, if you’re willing to take no salary, if you’re willing to hear ‘no’ so many times that it sounds like ‘yes,’ then you’ll probably be successful.”
How can you get a piece of this multi-million dollar emotional action?. I deconstructed his approach and pulled out the key points for you. You’re welcome!
1 – Get emotional. It’s ok to touch on the things that you and your audience are nostalgic about. In fact, that’s a recipe for success. We should never lose sight of the mistakes of brands in the past. Remember New Coke? Horrible! That happened because Coca Cola thought they sold soda. Wrong! They actually sell memories, nostalgia, americana and those times when life was oh-so-simple. If you change Coca Cola, what’s next? Mom? The American flag? Apple pie?
Know which emotion you’re selling and then turn up the heat. In the case of Melt he’s selling our memories of making grilled cheese – or wishing we could eat grilled cheese, etc. Take something iconic from our childhoods and give it some play.
2 – Nichify that idea. What I love is that Melt is focused 100% on just one type of food. This is a brilliant move. They can be the absolute best at making quick, satisfying grilled cheese sandwiches of all kinds. This is just another reason to buy from them. It’s something to share with your friends when they ask, “Why are you eating grilled cheese? What are you, 12?” Then you can share the story of how there’s this cool shop that sells grilled cheese and only grilled cheese and it’s the best thing I ever tasted and don’t you wish you had one? So what if I’m 12? I know you are but what am I?, etc.
3 – Tweak the tech out of that idea. Meaning, be sure to incorporate cool technology when you can in this scenario. This just gives your customers another reason to brag about your brand. Seth Godin calls this a purple cow, something about your brand that’s remarkable. Yes, it can be something techy, like with Melt, they have this new-fangled thing where you can order and a machine produces the sandwich. They’re going for 1 minute – a really ambitious cooking time that puts the concept of fast food on hyper drive.
Plus he’s got this really cool app for iPhone and Droids to go with it. You order and pay from your phone then you go to the location to pick up your sandwich. The nuance is they don’t start your order until you get to the restaurant, thus ensuring you’ll have a piping hot grilled cheese sandwich in one minute. I like it, although I’m hearing some negative buzz around this. Too bad, because I think Jonathan is on to a great idea.
Here are the links I used to form my opinions on this idea. All the best to you. Until next time . . .