Never thought about it? Let’s take a minute to evaluate this question then. Prunes are for old people who have trouble “going.” Prunes are shriveled and sticky and they have a funny taste.
Dried plums, on the other hand, are sweet and chewy. They are trendy like dried apricots or blueberries. They make a great snack, especially for busy people who are rushing around, because they are perfectly bite-sized. Dried plums are the newest craze in snack foods and it’s easy to see why. You view commercials for them all the time on TV; the announcer praising the nutritional value and deliciousness of these new delights.
In case you didn’t know: prunes are dried plums 🙂 What’s happening right before your eyes is a major rebranding campaign.
Current Consumer Base vs. Target Audience
While I haven’t spoken to the National Prune Association (if there is even such an organization), I can tell you by watching the television spots and reading the print ads and product packaging, that prunes are being repositioned. I would be willing to bet that a great deal of research went into the current perception and consumer base of prunes. I’d also wager that a great deal of study went into what elements would make the perfect snack food.
From a redesign of packaging to implementing a new name (dried plums as opposed to prunes and plum juice instead of prune juice), the entire persona of prunes is being wiped out. Consider what pops into your head when I say, “prunes.” Old people, the expression “prune face,” constipation. I mean, really. Is that a pretty picture?
Now, what about if I say, “plums?” Healthy, sweet, fresh, juicy, convenient, small, delicious. When the phrase “dried plums” is introduced, the same connotations are there. The same as with other dried fruits like cherries papaya, pineapple or cranberries.
So we go from targeting the current consumer base of older people who need elimination stimulation to a young, active adult looking for a convenient, sweet snack that’s healthy and tastes great. Instead of an elderly person with a cane, the image and lifestyle now fall to expectant mothers, athletes, baby boomers and others who are trying to eat healthy and stay in shape. B I G difference!
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A New List of Benefits
Making such a radical switch in target audiences means completely rethinking your copy. While the biggest known benefit of prunes is that they help to keep you regular, dried plums are being hailed as much more than a digestive aid. The new copy for dried plums brings out aspects such as:
• Being available in individual wrappers for convenience
• Being full of vitamins and minerals
• Promoting a healthy heart and immune system
• Boosting energy levels
• Normalizing blood sugar levels
• Encouraging weight loss
• Being fat free
• Tasting sweet
• And more
This is a great case study in the importance of knowing your target audience. It’s also an excellent lesson in the practice of branding and rebranding. Has it worked? Oh yes! Just take a look at what Failure Magazine reported.
Feel like your product or service is stuck with its current image? Want to change or expand your consumer base? Take a note from those who used to produce prunes. They’ll tell you dried plums are a much sweeter deal.
By Karon Thackston (c) 2009, All Rights Reserved