By Tony Attwood
OK that is not an easy question unless you are an aficionado of marketing news or a lover of things Norwegian. But stay with me for a mo because this is interesting and instructive in terms of how selling to schools really works. (And there’s a morale in the tale as well!)
The background is that for the past decade and a half the makers of Kit Kat have been going to court to get four chocolate fingers registered as a trademark, while the European Courts have argued that the shape is not distinctive enough to be trademarked.
OK, boring, boring, boring unless you are a) a trademark lawyer, b) a lover of KitKat or c) as nerdy as I am.
But stay with me for a sec, because I want to introduce Kvikk Lunsj, the Norwegian bar that looks very similar to KitKat and which is the winner here. And there’s a big lesson in this whether one is into trademarks or into selling products to schools in the UK.
Kvikk Lunsj is Norwegian for Quick Lunch, which is a clever title. And What Kvikk Lunsj has done is sold itself as being a “tour chocolate,” something that you eat while skiing, going for 25 mile hikes across frozen wasteland to see Father Christmas, or similar Nordic things.
As indeed as Quartz, the American review of marketing and stuff, said the packet it comes in looks like something out of the 1976 Winter Olympics.
Thus it has an identity – it is Norwegian and for healthy people. A bit like the Toppled Bollard and the website marketing.schools.co.uk gives us an identity. OK some think I’m a total nutter, but those who enjoy these weekly outbursts far outweigh those who don’t, and those who don’t like it can unsub just from the Bollard but stay with the serious stuff.
Of course I am not saying that you sell your English text book, 30 minutes a day exercise regime, school alarm system or anything else as a Norwegian chocolate bar (although if you do, I’d love to see the advert you write).
What I am saying is that your advertising should give you a unique identity. Of course the prime thing you focus on are benefits (NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT KNOTTY NOT THE FEATURES) but within that you still need to “be” something that your rivals are not.
And that does not (NOT NOT etc etc) mean saying that your USP is that you are a friendly family-based company, because that’s been done. It is finding an identity that really, really makes teachers remember you.
Yes, if you are going for a completely over the top approach you can claim that your KS3 French course is more engaging than a glass of Beaujolais Villages (although I wouldn’t) but I also would try to avoid publishing the course alongside a picture of the tricolore, the Tour Eiffel, and an old man in a beret on a push bike – because others have already done that.
Now your product or service is seen is, in my view, as important as the benefits and the features. And “seen” in that last sentence doesn’t just mean visuals – it means image in the same way that KitKat is a chocolate bar you eat to keep your sugar levels up while Kvikk Lunsj is a quick lunch that is utterly and totally part of being Norwegian and healthy.
It’s not something you can knock out in a few seconds and it needs to be backed up with other concepts. But in my view, if one takes a look at many advertisements sent to teachers, and which are not bringing in the numbers, what can often be found is that they have no underlying concept of what they are, expressed in a way that is quite different from what the competition claims it is.
That is the key to success in selling to schools. It is as far from the standard, “This is what we have and this is how much it costs” as you can imagine.
We do work with a number of companies that sell to schools by evolving or enhancing their identity among teachers and make this part of their weekly advertising. Indeed for anyone who signs up with us at this time of year we offer the first month of the service free.
The programme is called Velocity. If you would like to know about how it could work for your product or service please call Steve on 01604 880 927 or Stephen@schools.co.uk