White Girl Salsa: Differentiated Brand=Potential Success

What the world doesn’t need is another salsa brand.  If you’ve browsed your local market lately, you’ll see plenty of offerings from small-batch salsa companies to large corporate manufacturers.  A friend of mine told me that recently in a business launch session, a retail buyer told her “whatever you do, don’t bring me another salsa!”

But there are exceptions to every rule. 

Last week I had the opportunity to hold a workshop with a great new start-up: White Girl Salsa.  My cohorts in this session were the great marketing minds behind VOCO Creative, a boutique marketing and brand agency in Boulder/Denver, CO.  We offered our “Buyers to Brand Evangelists through Social Media” workshop to the winner of the Naturally Boulder Pitch Slam contest.   The winner: White Girl Salsa–already this entrepreneur is making an impression.

Every foodie will argue over the merits of natural ingredients, unusual recipes and trendy products.  White Girl Salsa has these and more.  First of all, this start-up has great Branding–with a capital “B.”

Let’s start with the name: White Girl Salsa.  It makes you smile, it’s intriguing, it invites questions.  To play off the name, Juli, the power behind the products, had a friend design a logo for her that is spot on.  The combination of brand elements of name and logo create personality, attitude and a consumer expectation that this is not a cookie-cutter product from New York City (remember the old Pace Picante Sauce commercials?).

Juli continues along the brand personality path by employing “Salsa Slingers:”  young, enthusiastic demonstrators who sample the products at farmers markets and Whole Foods Markets in the local Front Range, CO area.  They wear straw hats, just like the retro 1950’s logo would lead you to expect they would.  Wow–a brand that’s consistent–yippee kai yay!

While brand cohesion helps with memorability, the truly remarkable part of White Girl Salsa’s chance to succeed in a very crowded food niche, is that the salsa recipes are different.  I wrote a blog post on this topic last year called “No One Wants a Better Mousetrap.”  There are lots and lots and lots of start-ups that think they can make an improved salsa or an improved iPhone or an improved widget and capture the hearts and minds of a competitor’s consumer base.  It isn’t so.

Consumers don’t want an incrementally better product.   Incremental soon becomes mediocre.  What consumers want is something different, not just marginally better. Would Apple be as successful today if it had continued to improve the Macintosh computer rather than invent different solutions to our computing and communications problems?  Would Target be as successful today if it had just pursued the “better” positioning over Walmart and Kmart, instead of starting the practice of using designers (e.g. Michael Graves)  for their differentiated, discounted products?  You can probably think of other examples where a different solution to consumers’ problems made the difference for a brand.

White Girl Salsa is different because it is tomatillo-based (rather than tomato-based) and one of its three flavors is Cranberry-Mango Salsa.  Who ever heard of a salsa with mangoes and cranberries?  Different is intriguing for some, off-putting for others, but creates a distinctive value proposition.

My conclusion:  White Girl Salsa has Outstanding Branding + Real Point-of-Difference = High Potential for Success.

Can your brand say the same?

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