Saturday, July 24, 2010

WARNING: Do Not Forsake The One Thing That Makes Your Brand !!


I never knew what a pepper bar was before I saw this commercial. I never knew I needed one. But I was sure glad to have encountered one once I found it. This makes all the difference between a great sub and a mediocre one. I took this advice from a couple of singing dust balls and this introduced me to Quiznos. Apparently, it introduced a lot of people to this amazing food chain. I saw this on Comedy Central and I was intrigued.... and I started to go.

This was actually before the Great Recession and I was paying full price for these sandwhiches. Quiznos did not have the discount menu that offer today. And the pepper bar was actually spectacular. It was chock full of pepper rings, creamy horseradish sauce, honey mustard, pepperoncini, and jalepenos. The best though was this thing called, Batch Sauce... it set the entire toasted sandwhich over the edge. I haven't stepped foot into a Subway in years since I experienced this toasty goodness.

I was stunned to hear that my East Coast friends had never heard of this sub giant. With so many local sub shops in the E.C. it would be hard for a chain like this to make much of an impact.

Meanwhile back in the Midwest the population is filled with these Quiznos sub shops. Its like an infestation. I'm not saying that in a bad way but it was really amazing how quickly it grew. As the popularity grew the chain yanked the dust mite commercial and got a little more serious with the brand. I took notice of this too and was somewhat taken aback.

Then something odd happened. Little by little Quiznos franchisees started to fizzle out of certain neighborhoods. And the ones that did survive did not always comply to the franchises wishes. The free X-Box games were suddenly dismantled. The free internet screens were turned off. And worse.... the one thing that made them famous in the first place... the holy of holies... the famed PEPPER BAR .... WAS STRIPPED CLEAN, WIPED DOWN, AND EMPTIED. The glorious stand with its green countertop and multi-holed service station is vacant, abandoned and unloved.

You have to go up to the sandwhich artists and plead for them to give you one little bucket of Batch sauce or peppers. They charge you extra for it of course but they missed the point. This was the star attraction. And now it is completely left out of the Quiznos sandwhich equation.

They forgot the thing that made their brand unique in the first place. Without all the little extras its just not the same stellar experience. Its not Subways of course. But it is NOT the same experience.

This is something that we must remember as we build our brands. That is to NOT kill the uniqueness that made us so incredible in the first place. We have to remember to not destroy the one thing that is going to set us apart from all the others out there.

Ted Cantu coaches companies on how to brand themselves on the web with SEO, viral marketing, and sales copy. Cantu lives in Metro Detroit.

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