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I opened a mayonnaise jar the other day…

I was making a sandwich and opened up a brand-new jar of mayonnaise. My experience started by looking at the happy and recognizable Hellman’s mayonnaise label. I really like Hellman’s mayonnaise. It tends to be more expensive than other national and private brands, but to me the taste difference is worth the extra money. Besides it was on sale at Costco, so I went for it. (Yes, I am getting to my point.)

So, I remove the lid and there is that jar seal that needs to be removed before I can get to any serious sandwich-making. I naturally look for the "tab/grabber thingy" that allows you to easily in one quick motion, remove the entire circular seal. That is satisfying. There is no tab/grabber thingy! Grrr. So now I am trying to pull and pry up the tiny bit of seal edge that is available to grab. To no avail. I chip a nail. I am not chipping another nail so now I am grabbing a sharp knife from the drawer. I cut through the seal in a way that leaves 4 pieces of it left hanging on to the mouth of the jar for dear life. After I peel back those remnants, wipe off my knife (and mayo covered hands,) I am ready to make my sandwich.

No big deal, right? Wrong.

This is a product and brand experience. They are one in the same. The experience with the product reflects on the brand. I may now think twice before I buy my favourite mayonnaise. Why? Because a very small, yet important detail was missing. The user experience I had, left me feeling annoyed because it was slowing me down and had me covered in mayo!

This is a story about the importance of meeting basic customer product expectations, product features and benefits, and brand differentiation.

It is standard issue for jarred goods to have the pull tab. My goodness, there are pull tab experts in the packaging industry! My basic expectation of not being able to get into that jar easily, was not met. Not cool - especially for the more expensive brand! The benefit of having a pull tab is that I can make my sandwich quicker, not be covered in the given condiment and get on with my day.

Building the smallest bit of differentiation into your product is what can set your brand apart. That jar seal could have had the tab, could have been branded with the logo or displayed contest instructions for a kid’s recipe contest.

Think about your “mayonnaise jar” and your “pull tab/grabby thingy.” How can you make it different? How can you make the user experience better? How can you make your service unique and therefore memorable? How can you innovate your brand?

Okay, it’s time for lunch.

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