If it doesn't taste great, you're dead

So many conversations put me in mind of a talk I saw Ryan Kohn, co-founder of Proper, give a couple of years ago (thank you, Cooper Parry).

Proper is a snack brand - they do corn and chips. You may have heard of them.

Look at the pictures, below (scroll down then come back here for more word nourishment). Well, go on then.

Did you see it? All the good stuff that's going off on that packet?

  • Eye-catching design
  • Original illustration, and they credited the artist (@kellyannalondon on Insta)
  • 138kcal per pack, prob lower than alternatives (I've not checked)
  • Personal story
  • Strong brand
  • Certified B Corp
  • Carbon net zero by 2030
  • Natural seasoning
  • High in fibre
  • Gluten free
  • No palm oil
  • Suitable for vegetarians and vegans
  • Cruelty free
  • Only four ingredients
  • Can’t recycle the pack but they’re working on it
  • They don't have one fact on every single packet you buy, like Nobby's Nuts do (ICYMI "The largest desert in the world is actually Antarctica", or "dessert", if you shop at Ocado).

And then:

  • They're in supermarkets
  • You’ll find them in the snack aisle
  • They’re reasonably / competitively priced
  • You can get them in a meal deal
  • They give them away after you give blood
  • They wrapped vehicles (buses!) in their brand
  • They toured the UK in a 33ft cement mixer, because, corn

Ryan's point was, none of this made Proper successful. It amplified a great tasting product.

It has to taste great and Proper has to work bloody hard to sell It.

I'm often reminded of Ryan's talk because, people often ask us to help them appeal to more people, appeal to a certain type of person.

We're asked to design things that appeal to X, write things that appeal to Y and optimise things so the target will find It and find It engaging.

We've even been told that, if this new website doesn't do what we need it to do, we're going to have to make people redundant. As if a new website is going to solve a problem called It.

You can't pin your hopes of surviving the next 12 months on fabulous design and UX alone. There's more to it than that.

Ultimately, It is still It. Doesn't matter how much you polish It.

Show people a dream and they'll realise that It doesn't actually look like It did in the brochure.

"My date doesn't look like Its profile picture" (I now have a mental image of Pennywise on a date. Hold that thought...).

A full pack of PROPERCORN, earlier
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