A smart start

Breakfast cereals go in and out of fashion don’t they? There are the old favourites like cornflakes and Weetabix, and I distinctly remember muesli becoming very fashionable for a while. Then it kind of turned into granola (basically toasted muesli).

But what about all the other variations on wheat, oats, corn, rice, honey, sugar, chocolate, dried fruit. At the end of the day, breakfast cereals are essentially created out of the same basic ingredients. But it’s the packaging and the way that they are presented that dictates who they appeal to.

I was particularly struck by ‘Start’ as a cleverly marketed cereal for ‘active people’. I remember as a teenager thinking it was a healthy choice because it had multi-grains – surely that’s healthy right?

Having rediscovered it on a supermarket shelf recently I nostalgically bought a box with my son in mind. A boy that is constantly on the go and plays every sport imaginable. Sure enough, he picked up on the strapline ‘the smart start for active people’ and happily tucked into a bowlful before setting off to school.

Fitting in the word ‘smart’ is particularly …. well … smart. This suggests a certain level of intelligence too. And who doesn’t want to be smart and active?

Rice Krispies or Coco Pops are too childish, with their cartoon characters and brightly coloured boxes. Special K and Cornflakes are too boring – and surely they’re for adults? And as for muesli – no way, that’s for rabbits!

Same ingredients, different audience

Whatever your product or service, there is likely to be somebody out there offering essentially the same basic ingredients. But how you position your brand is what will determine who it appeals to. Take a lesson from the cereal manufacturers and use these tools to make sure you get the message right:

  • Use of appropriate colours
  • Logo design and branding
  • Typeface and layout
  • A strapline can be very helpful in summing up who, what, why – make it talk to your customers


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