The Sunday before Thanksgiving I darted into a local grocery store to grab the dozen-or-so items I still needed for Thursday’s big dinner. On the list were all the ingredients for Green Bean Casserole. I knew where to get to everything I needed – with the exception of the French fried onions.
I buy French fried onions exactly one time per year. Apparently 365 days is more than enough time for me to forget where they are in the store because I go through this every Thanksgiving season. But as I rounded the corner in pursuit of a bag of potatoes, I saw a beautiful solution to my holiday cooking woes. There before me was a display with all of the ingredients for Green Bean Casserole in one place. It was largely picked over and the sign had been knocked askew, but to me, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
I’ve always believed that marketers see the world a bit differently than the average consumer and that Sunday shopping trip was no different. Two things came immediately to mind. First, hats off to the store for putting up the display. They undoubtedly increased customer satisfaction and likely sold a few ingredients to people who had either forgotten about the dish or decided on an impulse to add it to their menu.
My second thought was that a recipe is a brilliant way to sell product.
A Little Bit About the Green Bean Casserole Recipe
Here are some Green Bean Casserole fast facts:
- The original recipe emerged in 1955!
- According to pretty much everyone, despite having a vegetable in the name, it doesn’t count as a healthy vegetable side. (But it’s Thanksgiving, so I’m guessing no one really cares.)
- The world’s largest Green Bean Casserole was created this year by Green Giant. (It’s 637 pounds!)
- The dish is so popular, Pringles created a Green Bean Casserole chip – and apparently it’s pretty good.
- According to Hungry History, Campbell’s now estimates 40% of the Cream of Mushroom soup sold in the US goes into making green bean casserole.
Campbell’s (and French’s and green bean sellers) aren’t the only organizations that benefit from popular holiday recipes. How often do people make a holiday Chex Mix without Chex products? Or s’mores without Hershey bars? Companies who sell a food product long ago figured out the benefit of recipes.
What’s Your Recipe?
What everyone can learn from the popularity of these recipes is the value of showing people how they can benefit from using your product. Campbell’s doesn’t assume you’ll invest time, energy, and money into experimenting with their products! They assume you’re busy and that they know their product better than anyone, so they share ideas with you – making your life better, easier, and maybe even a little more fun!
Whether it’s a blog post, video, traditional recipe or some other communication method, you can help people fall in love with your brand by sharing as many creative or functional uses as possible. Check out these examples:
- 10 different ways to use paper plates
- Creative ways to use LEGOS in everyday life
- 100 ways to use Washi Tape
How hard do your customers have to work to figure how to use your product? Are those that are active users aware of all of the benefits and ways your product can make their life better?
If not, what recipe can you share to help more people understand how your brand can benefit them?
Author: Amy Jauman
Dr. Amy Jauman, SMS, is the Chief Learning Officer at the National Institute for Social Media and author of the Comprehensive Field Guide for Social Media Strategists. Amy is also one of 58 members representing 12 countries in the inaugural class of the Prezi Educator Society. Previously she was the Social Media Director for Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota (WeMN) and she currently serves as the marketing director for the Minnesota Chapter of the National Speakers Association. She is also an adjunct professor in the St. Catherine University Business Department and the St. Mary’s University of Minnesota MBA program.