Personal Branding Lessons: From the Makers of Velveeta

Guest Blogger: Ryan Broker
ryan.broker@gmail.com

Last September, just below all of the acrimonious pre-election news, the eye-witness accounts of your grandmother’s kidney stone event, and all of the office gossip, there lay unnoticed and unreported – in relative obscurity – a newsworthy event so profound that it had the potential to melt our hardened hearts, bond us again in brotherly/sisterly solidarity, and inspire us all to personal reinvention and greatness:

velvetta

The velvety goodness of Velveeta cheese was repackaged in individually wrapped mini blocks.

What the what?!

Yes, I agree. It’s true genius.

Velveeta had a once-in-a-century moment – and we missed it. This company, that since 1921 has used the same tinfoil wrapping process for its savory rectangle of liquid gold, had this masterful repackaging moment – and we missed it!

Thankfully, now that we’re informed citizens, we can learn so much (ok … maybe just two things) from this pivotal moment in world history.

Following are (in descending order from most important to second-most important) the two, most important, personal branding lessons from the repackaging wizards at Kraft:

 

Lesson 1: Don’t change what you are at your core.

Kraft didn’t change Velveeta’s core. Far from it. Velveeta’s smaller, convenient size offers the “same classic Velveeta taste and texture.” Despite growing consumer movement away from Big Food toward unprocessed, authentic foods, Velveeta proudly held its ground and stayed true to its core.

You, too, should stay true to your core. Like Velveeta.

Velveeta knows who it is and what it’s good at. Velveeta is totally and keenly aware of how it’s used in the kitchen. On top of that, Velveeta openly acknowledges and addresses its tendency to go unused. (By the way, consumers repeatedly rank Velveeta as the most self-aware and self-confident cheese on the market.)

While Velveeta continues to sell its classic core, its ease-of-use and convenience, it is also selling peace of mind.

Velveeta’s product is “five, 4-ounce individually wrapped Mini Blocks, so families can easily incorporate Liquid Gold into everyday meals and side dishes, while unused blocks stay wrapped and sealed until ready to use.” Kraft did all of this so you didn’t lose sleep worrying about your Velveeta.

Kraft knew, if not packaged differently, that their unused or underused product could (eventually) become an unsightly, crusty block of rectangular repulsion in the back shelf of your refrigerator. They knew the consumer would hesitate to purchase another giant, JENGA block of cheese if there was a threat of this tragedy reoccurring.

And there’s the genius: Velveeta honed in on a particular weakness but left its core strength and dignity intact and untouched.

Perhaps you need to repackage yourself to become more usable and/or less wasted. Like Velveeta.

Because, let’s face it, the more you appear (and are) usable, the more you will be used. Similarly, the less you appear usable, the less you will be used, and, therefore, wasted.

It’s true. You can be wasted.

Asking questions about whether you (i.e. you core skill set, your experience, your key functions, your passions, etc.) are convenient, easy-to-use, and attractively packaged is important.

Questions like: Are you easy to get a hold of? Are you easily found online? Do people know how to use you? When was the last time you told someone how best to use you? When was your last packaging redesign? Is your “liquid gold” sitting unused and crusty in the back of the world’s proverbial fridge?

Lastly, do you know your niche…your core? Can you maintain and better-promote what’s “classic” about you while making yourself more useful to others?

Those are all, good, Kraft-like questions to ask yourself.

Lesson 2: Kraft/Velveeta can (apparently) afford a once-in-a-century repackaging effort. You can’t. 

Get on it.

 

ryan

Thanks Ryan for blogging!

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