Brands in the News

Differentiating Vanilla

2 Apr , 2010  

Selling mainstream spices and seasonings has to be an enormous challenge.  There are a number of strong brands in the market and there is always a risk that people will assume all the brands provide similar quality, and buy on price.  In a tough economy I suspect that many people are very willing to let price drive the brand decision in the spice aisle.

This is why I think the latest marketing effort from Spice Islands is so compelling.

Spice Islands is promoting its vanilla by noting that “Some vanillas add corn syrup to sweeten inferior beans.”  The ad then reassures the reader that Spice Islands doesn’t do any such thing, “Flavor so rich and smooth there’s no need to add the sugary stuff.”

This is smart marketing.  Spice Islands is teaching people that all vanillas are not the same, and that it makes sense to pay a bit more to get a high quality vanilla that doesn’t require corn syrup.

It is a compelling pitch and a great use of attribute based differentiation.  This isn’t fancy marketing, but it is clear and effective.

4 Responses

  1. Wai Lin says:

    In today’s world of nonstop new online marketing trends, getting back to basics seems like a smart and elegant way to accomplish the goal.

  2. josh duncan says:

    Thanks Professor!

    What a great reminder that even with a commodity product like vanilla, smart marketing (and product development) can lead to differentiation. Also, a great teaching example of how you need to educate the market and not just hope they will discover these benefits on their own.


  3. Dulce Candy: BoA's Energetic Makeup Tutorial | makeup says:

    […] Differentiating Vanilla « Building Strong Brands […]

  4. Oatmeal Cookies|Best Dessert Stand says:

    […] Differentiating Vanilla « Building Strong Brands […]

Leave a Reply


Conversation Across the Site

  • Todd { Thank you for this insight, Professor. Students rarely have any insight into the mind of a professor or teacher at any level. Come to think... }
  • Mark Sheldon { Very interesting. Thank you and I think your analysis is generally correct. The one thing I would add is that in a small zoom class... }
  • Marty { Ford , built for change ? This is the company Hank almost bankrupted by refusing to replace the model T }
  • toddholscher { If Trump had the charisma of Reagan, instead of Nixon, it would have been different. Trump was easy to vote against for enough people... this... }
  • Emita Hill { Sobering but all accurate. Happy Thanksgiving, Tim. }
  • Mark Goldman { Disagree wholeheartedly. National unity and bringing back civility to our country is most certainly a benefit -- and a strong one. Trump's pitch on law... }
  • Read more Comments »

Collaborate with Tim

Tim helps companies around the world build great brands. To schedule a program or event click here. To learn more about Tim’s books, click here.