Tyrells: Chips (or Crisps), Depending Upon Where You Live

March 14 2014

The other day I went to the grocery store in search of a delicious salty snack. A photo of a group of little old ladies caught my eye, and I knew I had found what I was looking for: Tyrrells English Chips (or Crisps for you Brits). The chips were absolutely delicious. In this case, the packaging was witty and effective in differentiating the product, and definitely pulled me in.


The company was running a promotion that was featured on the bag that I decided to enter (more on that later), and after a quick google search, I found that they had two different websites, one for their US customers (tyrrellschips.com), and one for their UK consumers (tyrrellscrisps.co.uk). While the sites have the same look and feel, I could see a slight difference in the language, which makes sense given that the UK and the US are two countries separated by a common and similar language! The UK product offerings are far more extensive, offering a wider variety of flavors like Sunday Best Roast Chicken and Naked. The brand’s witty, playful voice comes across in the flavor naming and design, which is very effective (note that I bought the first time I encountered the chip = 100% success for the brand). Having a more extensive product line in the UK makes sense considering that Tyrells is well-known in Britain, and the UK is their main market.

left & right

The US and UK sites do share a few promotions, such as a Facebook potato sack race game and caption contest, but the “big-ticket” promos differ vastly. In the US, you can enter to win a Cambridge Satchel. This style of bag has been very popular this past year in the fashion industry in the US (and still is). It is a slice of traditional English design that is still very much in vogue with the younger crowd. The bag design is a play between modern and vintage, and it works well with the Tyrrells brand voice and aesthetic.

The UK promo is quite different, and very quirky. You can win prizes like “A Monkey’s Uncle”, “A Pack of Lies” or “Inappropriate Trousers”—the actual prize being £25,000, but of course, if you’d prefer an awkward head massage, they’d be happy to oblige. The UK promo really emphasizes Tyrell’s humorous voice to a degree that a caption contest cannot capture, and as an established brand in the UK they can run an almost snarky promotion. This type of oddball promo might not fly yet America because their audience here does not know them well enough. I’m going to track them to see how they promote in the US in the future.

The takeaway? When marketing and communicating your brand in different markets, like Tyrrells, it’s likely that you will want to shade your marketing and communications to target and engage your specific audiences based on the culture and country. Your approach to marketing your brand is unlikely to be monolithic, whether you are selling a service, product, or company.

Brand Loyalty & Starbucks

January 16 2014

As we have discussed before, Starbucks is a company which has managed its brand exceptionally well, and has built formidable brand loyalty. Attendees to my talks know that I always encourage them to be good brand analysts, and to approach any brand from a neutral perspective, so that you can understand what they stand for without judgment clouding your assessment. On to Starbucks, but in this case, with a judgment.

A few weeks ago I was at a hotel where the snack and breakfast bar was a Starbucks concession manned by hotel staff in hotel uniforms who jumped between serving at the Starbucks counter and functioning as hotel staff, even washing the floors in front of us while the coffee was brewing. Although the products were the same as at any other Starbucks, the service was not. The staff kept guests waiting while they dealt with hotel business at another counter or placed the behind the counter garbage can unappealingly in full view. Product knowledge was not good, and the effort to make a cup of tea took at least ten minutes per customer, so that a long line snaked through the hotel lobby. This was not the service we have come to expect from Starbucks.


So what happens when one encounters a brand touch point, like a mismanaged hotel concession, and has a bad experience? I was disappointed, but I still had my breakfast there each day I was at the hotel, and the repeated bad experience will not prevent me from going to Starbucks in the future. Ultimately, the product they served was the same, but the wrapping (that is, the service) was not. People tend to be forgiving of a brand like Starbucks because the product is predictable, and the brand has worldwide brand loyalists. From a financial perspective, extending the Starbucks brand into hotels, which they have been doing for years, does have clear benefits. They have increased market penetration, brand awareness, and increased sales.

So in this instance, Starbucks has increased profitability, presumably at low cost, without damaging brand loyalty.

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