In the world of artificial sweeteners, I am team Pink. I have always been team Pink. I know Pink. I know what taste I can expect when I tear Pink open and pour it into my coffee. I know how much Pink I need to get the result I desire. I know that I can count on Pink to be consistent and deliver for me. I was wrong.
I am not team Pink. I am team Sweet’N Low. They are NOT interchangeable.
It seems the artificial sweetener market share war has been won by a company that figured out that color preference was all that mattered. The same product, in three different colored packets, can be found almost everywhere you look these days. And who looks.
I grab pink because I have conditioned my brain to send that signal to my hand when my eye sees a Pink packet. Even when I realize that all three colors are the SAME PRODUCT, I still choose Pink. It’s not what I want, but what are my options? Blue and Yellow are same as Pink… sugar is not what I use, and honey changes the taste of my coffee too much. So I settle for Pink… well I used to. That has now changed.
Among the sea of interchangeable Pink, Blue and Yellow a fresh face has been appearing more often in the form of Truvia. I tried it because I wanted to actually make a choice vs having one made for me based on color conditioning and habit. I had to overcome a little fear of the unknown, but after a reasonable adjustment in the taste expectation department I have an option that isn’t like the rest.
I assume you can guess where I am going…
Are the services you provide or receive interchangeable Pink, Blue and Yellow packets, or do they stand out so there is no substitute?
Summer is in full swing in North America and if you find yourself with a little extra time why not apply it to assessing your service providers. How many of them are irreplaceable? What makes them irreplaceable – and are all your vendors held to that standard? If not, are you settling for what you have to work with?
Kick the tires on new service providers who stand out from the packets. Check out the trade pubs for award winners. Ask the people you respect for vendor recommendations. Send out an RFP and see what comes back. Connect with service providers on social media and watch from afar if you aren’t ready to make contact. Create options. Nurture opportunities and connections you will need in the future.
For service providers, summer is a great time to talk to your customers and get feedback on how you can serve them better. They aren’t Pink, Blue and Yellow packets either. I would bet you aren’t aware of the little ways you can help them that would set you apart from the rest. Honestly, just asking may be enough. The only time I am asked if I am happy with my service is when I have a problem, or after one is resolved. That could be too late, and usually is.
Print 17 is rolling up Sept 10-14 in Chicago. If you fall anywhere in the Graphic Supply Chain it’s time to book your travel. You cannot stand out if you don’t know what options are out there, and you don’t… not all of them. Even if you think you do, I’m betting you haven’t seen all of them in person, or met the all the people you could be doing business with.
Pink, Blue and Yellow suppliers – be warned. The “this is the way we do things around here” mantra that has kept you in the door, is finally leaving the building. The rise of Gen-X business owners, and Millennials in power positions as buyers and influencers, is going to shake up everything… especially the status quo.
I. Can’t. Wait.
Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at PrintMediaCentr, a Print Buyerologist™, Integrated Marketer, Industry Speaker and Blogger, Cultivator of the Print Production Professionals Group, the #1 Print Group on LinkedIn, and host of #PrintChat, a weekly industry gathering on Twitter every Wednesday at 4PM ET. She has 25+ years experience working in advertising as a Print Producer, and currently works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping them to achieve success with their social media marketing endeavors, and create meaningful relationships.
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