Top of Mind Thursday – October 21, 2021 – How About a Little Pumpkin With That?

It’s October. The time of year when thoughts inevitably turn to shorter days, falling leaves, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and. . . Pumpkin Spice Everything?

Leverage2Market LogoPumpkin has always been associated with Fall, but we’ve moved way beyond Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween and even Pumpkin Spice Latte, to pumpkin spiced muffins, cookies, ice cream, butter, protein powder–even Cheerios!

Here’s the thing many people appear not to understand: Pumpkin spice has absolutely no pumpkin in it. It is, instead, the spices one would traditionally use with pumpkin–cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice–all rolled up into one nice neat orange-colored package.

But it’s much easier to order a pumpkin spice latte than one with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, etc. And since this is so trendy, food and beverage companies are rushing to offer every possible permutation they can.

Here’s the other important thing we need to remember: The fact that there’s no pumpkin in pumpkin spice is absolutely irrelevant to the general public. People associate this combination of spices with pumpkin and Fall, therefore that’s what it is.

How often do we see businesses fixate on identifying specific details of their product or service–often insisting that customers know exactly what’s under the covers–when the customer couldn’t care less about that level of detail?

Then there’s the reverse: The customer puts your product or service into the wrong category and all the rational explanations in the world don’t make a bit of difference.

Perception is reality. We need to understand what our customers already perceive, and start from that point. Otherwise we can waste a lot of valuable time and energy trying to separate the pumpkin from the spice.

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