“It’s clear that it’s not only easier, but more progressive to support an occasion than an individual. So why don’t we start exploring this ‘occasion world’ on savoury snacks doorstep? “
– Savoury snacks have always been there for the most enjoyable moments in our lives.
– In the last few weeks we’ve witnessed a real polarity of leadership from the crisps category.
– Where the individual differs from the occasion is simple; the occasion is for all of us.
– The individual demands specificity and the occasion embraces ambiguity.
– So why don’t we start exploring this ‘occasion world’ on savoury snacks doorstep?
By now, you already know that snacking is the fuel for modern culture. In our last article we observed what this meant for chocolate brands . Today, we’d like to turn our attention to the savoury category and the big question for crisps; ‘what do we tie our brand to?’ This is actually more difficult to answer than at first glance. Crisps are in dire need to tie their brand to something, but what that something is, is up for debate. Some in the industry believe success will be found in the occasion whilst others advocate the individual. In this article we will assess where best to place our trust.
The story of savouring snacking has always been popular, complimenting our mood and filling an emotional gap in our days. Whether it’s a bag of crisps and dip over a movie, crackers and cheese with wine or nuts at the pub with a pint in hand, savoury snacks have always been there for the most enjoyable moments in our lives.
And this is what they’re good at. But recently we seem to have forgotten this fact. In the last few weeks we’ve witnessed a real polarity of leadership from the crisps category.
Walkers recent ‘pint pairing’ is testament to this. In the words of Rachel Holms, senior marketing director at Walkers (Pepsico), “we are seeing an increase in social occasions… savoury snacks are playing an increasingly important role.” Evidently this occasion trend is not new, but it looks to be gaining traction as consumers desperately search for snacks that reflect their identity – and thus, their occasions.
But it appears not all of us got the memo at Pepsico… On the flipside of the coin this week we had the CEO of Pepsico, Indra Nooyi, entering this ‘occasion’ narrative from another angle; that of the individual. On the topic of snacking habits between men and women she said, “they don’t like to crunch too loudly in public. And they don’t lick their fingers generously and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavour into their mouth (like their male counterparts).” The backlash has diverged from joviality to the absolute outrageous, culminating with Piers Morgan (of all people) taking a stand and smashing up a bag of Doritos live on air:
But I digress. The point stands, that the individual differs from the occasion and where the individual differs from the occasion is simple; the occasion is for all of us. The individual demands specificity and the occasion embraces ambiguity.
But what would this look like in action? Aside from a tasty partnership with beer, there are many avenues savoury snacks can pursue.
Indra Nooyi may have a point on silent snacking, but as the perfect partner for cinema-goers. Who can shake the annoyance of someone chomping away on a large bag of crisps at the movies? If a crisp brand aligned themselves to the occasion, we might see a surge of theatre lovers devouring the latest silent snack in peace.
Savoury occasions might also pursue the gaming category, marrying the need for a proper gaming snack, rather than a greasy inoperable snack that would waste precious concentration focus and could result in one getting ‘owned’.
There’s also something much stronger and long-term when we explore this strategy. The marriage between occasions and savoury snacks could represent the community in which it exists. One example of this can be savoury brands shifting the focus on product development to suit the environment in which the product is consumed. In gaming, for example, we would say we have a necessity for endurance and concentration and therefore a need for protein and brain food.
It’s clear that it’s not only easier, but more progressive to support an occasion than an individual. So why don’t we start exploring this ‘occasion world’ on savoury snacks doorstep? If you choose to pursue this avenue, my advice would be this; identify your community, find their occasion and support it. Always stay true to your brand, but remember the occasion in which you exist.
Whether it’s elegant indulgence or performance precision, it’s time to step up and savour that occasion.
About the author:
Bryn Walbrook is a Never Quiet researcher and planner at Atomic London with over 5 years experience in the social sciences, now attributing his learnings to the consumer world. A mouthy millennial giving his 2 cents and focusing his energy on the actions of consumers today and how brands can best be equipped to react.