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Prêt à manger - Branding & the zeitgeist

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 09-30-10 at 3:24 p.m.

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Every so often, as a marketer and consumer, I run into a brand and can’t help but feel that they just get it.  I’m talking here about something that transcends the 4 Ps. Something more profound. The feeling that certain brands are just cosmically aligned with the root values of a marketplace, at the right time and in the right place. Such things can only be half planned, the other half is pretty much serendipity.

One such brand is PRET. Undeniably, when one walks into a PRET venue the machinations of a well-oiled, large-scale marketing conglomerate are there for all to see. Despite this, the overriding spirit of the place and the experience it provides are altogether different. It brilliantly taps into a cohesive set of values that speak to authenticity, transparency, local pride, health and good taste.
When I look at PRET through my ethnographic/socio-cultural tinted glasses, I see a brand that has marvellously identified and delivers on core “counter-tendency” values developed in response to hectic urban living. In our trend parlance, I am referring to needs & values such as:

- Scepticism towards big business
- Community Spirit/Local
- Effort for Health
- Control & Autonomy
- Brand Authenticity

These brand values permeate every aspect of PRET’s retail experience, from the mission/philosophy statements posted on the walls, to the blurbs on the napkins (“Just Made”) and coffee sleeves (“Just Roasted”).
In my humble opinion, this brand is more wholesome than McDonalds, more progressive and witty than Starbucks and simply nailing the right socio-cultural hot buttons.

Investigate the socio-cultural meaning of your brand.