This post is about products that stand out in a crowd of similar products, and I couldn’t think of a better real life example than the wine section of the grocery store.
First a little background. I like red wine. The end… just kidding. The truth is we appreciate red wine, and also not enough to actually learn anything about it. That second part is very important. Many of your customers will appreciate what you sell, and also not know exactly what they’re looking at. I say this because product experts can look at something and either A) know all the key players in the industry to everything is recognizable or B) they know what they’re looking at and can spot subtle queues of quality (or in this case they can make sense of a wine label).
So what ridiculous method of selection would barbarians like us employ ?
Ready for it?
2) Interesting labels.
Like I said, I’m far from a wine expert. Want to know if it’s red or white? I’ve got your answer. Beyond that, I’m clueless. So this means pricey wine is out of the question. It also means that I can’t spot a bargain either. For me that means cheap wine = bad time. So I look at the middle shelf. As I’ve said before so many times, price is part of your product.
Once I have my selection area squared off the fun begins. I’m looking for interesting labels. Remember, I can’t understand what gibberish they’re pitching on the labels so this is the best I can do.
Here they are again, the seven bottles I collected just for this post.
By wine bottle standards, these stand out on the shelf and for different reasons I chose each of them. I’ll explain one by one. Let me also make the blanket statement that all of these did actually taste good. This system may have it’s flaws, but we’re happy with the results.
How often do you see a blackboard with interesting science formulas on a wine label? It’s a first for me. The name sealed the deal, Educated Guess. I’m a big fan of making and testing guesses. I had to drink this wine. Most of the neighboring labels were boring fonts on off white labels. This one stood out with white writing on a black background AND orange name. It’s that simple, and they wouldn’t have won my business if they hadn’t grabbed my attention first.
Off white label? Check. Basic font? Check. That tree though… and wait, look closely, there’s something in the tree looking at you. There’s something intriguing and calming about this tree. Even as I write this, I can’t stop looking at it.
The silver label is a bit different. It’s somewhat shiny and stands out from the bottom that’s darker filled with wine (I could have photographed prior to consumption. whoops. 20/20 hindsight). Check out that negative space though. The horse head is left aligned with the text. I can’t help noticing this label. Then comes the name. Dark Horse. Wikipedia defines this as, “A dark horse is a little-known person or thing that emerges to prominence, especially in a competition of some sort or a contestant that seems unlikely to succeed.”. Ever feel that way? Me too. Again, had to drink this wine.
Okay, this one will be really really short. The label has cake on it! Do I have to explain what’s going on in my head when shown a photo of cake? I didn’t think so. Wait, are you still reading or have you already left to get yourself some cake too?
This one feels the fanciest of the flock. I think it’s the duck. It has a majestic look to it. It’s maybe a little smug too. I didn’t notice it the first time around. That duck doesn’t even care I’m here. The name is large and all caps, DECOY. The font below is cursive (fancy) and there’s a lot of white space on that label. Overall it says very little. I must know more, and so I did.
You may be thinking what I was when I first saw this. What are these people thinking with a label talking about crime and a grungy old picture as the label!?! Well it worked. I had to know what this was about.
It’s an interesting story…
“Nineteen crimes turned criminals into colonists. Upon conviction British rogues guilty of a least one of the 19 crimes were sentenced to live in Australia, rather than death. This punishment by “transportation” began in 1783 and many of the lawless died at sea. For the rough-hewn prisoners who made it to shore, a new world awaited.
As pioneers in a frontier penal colony, they forged a new country and new lives, brick by brick.
This wine celebrates the rules they broke and the culture they built.”
After this bottle taught me so much and I spent a few moments of thought holding it, I would have felt silly not buying it. Another victory for the brave wine label.
Arguably this one stands out the most. It looks like they literally shrunk down a rodeo poster and slapped it on a bottle. Red letters, huge yellow sun with black rider and horse over top. Need I read anymore? Nope. It’s a Cabernet Sauvignon. One of the two red wines you’ll see me with. The other is Merlot by the way. If this is the show they have for me on the outside, I can’t wait to try what’s inside.
Every one of these bottles grabbed my attention in some way. Maybe I like bold marketing. Things that stand out and break convention. Some of these may not be ones you’d personally choose. That’s okay because you can’t appeal to everyone.
I imagine these wineries realize shoppers like me are intimidated by the wine aisle. We don’t know what we’re looking for, not a clue in fact. We’re looking for a beacon of hope, something to save us from the awkwardness that comes from feeling horribly uninformed. These rebels looked at the crowd and chose to be remarkably different. They lit their torch and guided me out of the unknown and into something I could feel good about. The label is cool.
Why This Matters to You
If you sell a product purchased as a gift, chances are they’re not comfortable with choosing a product the way an end user would be.
If you sell to someone that’s new to your category, they may not be comfortable with where to start.
If you sell to someone that’s been around a long time, they may want to see a fresh perspective.
In every case, bold moves that grab attention are winning moves. Attention is at a premium, and fitting in is like hiding out.
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Photo credits to Allie Peplin. Thank you Allie!