Hit Them in the Peanuts

See this photo? I snapped it the other day on a flight from Toronto to Vancouver. It’s a bag of peanuts (that fleshy thing behind it is my hand), courtesy of the good people of Air Canada.

Take a look at the warning below the listing of ingredients: “Produced in a facility that processes peanuts and other nuts.” You don’t say? They actually produce peanuts in a facility that produces peanuts?!

Lest you jump to any conclusions, this message isn’t there because they’re dumb over at the peanut factory. In fact, they’re smart. They know that it’s easier to put this warning on every bag of anything than it is to pull the warning off the (clearly nut-filled) bags of nuts.

Big companies thrive on scale. They like automated, mass-produced messages. They like photos that can be displayed across the country. They like one variety of snack bag that can be used thousands and thousands of times.

That’s their strength … but it’s also their weakness. They have trouble sending you a hand-written note; or telling a story about their visit to last weekend’s jazz festival in Orlando; or doing anything that can’t be replicated over and over again in many different places.

Are you a small company (or even a solo) that competes with giants? Stop trying to out-giant them and out-small them instead. The more manual, personal, local and timely your marketing and communications are, the harder it is for your large competitors to follow.

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