Amazing Graze!

Post written by NBS’ Senior Lecturer MBA (Strategic Carbon Management) Course Director Dr Gideon Middleton.

Over the past week I would have collected a small pile of useless toys from a range of hundreds of different Christmas crackers – if hadn’t carefully managed to leave them behind….

Concerned about my falling Christmas mojo I was delighted (and excited) to find a brilliant, cheap and fun Christmas gift sent by Graze – the on-line healthy nibble company.

So what was it that Graze sent and why did it get me excited?

Well the whole thing was really quite simple, they simply sent out a small cardboard Christmas bear with all of their festive graze boxes (which are made from recycled cardboard and sent through the post to your work). The bear could be easily assembled and then ‘dressed’ in a range of seasonal cardboard accessories – from a small book of Christmas songs  (which the bear could hold) to a range of festive hats (which the bear could wear).

The Norwich Business School Graze bear :)
The Norwich Business School Graze bear 🙂

The bear necessities:
OK, so what’s so great about a small bear?
Well, from a business perspective, this simple but fun toy illustrates how you can quickly create a strong brand by using some of oldest marketing principles in the book – without it costing the earth!

In 1943, Maslow created his (now famous) theory about human motivation known as the hierarchy of needs.
In this simple but enduring model, Maslow says that we move from basic physiological ‘needs’ (such as food and oxygen – i.e. what we need to ‘maintain’ ourselves) to more values based ‘wants’ such as self-esteem and self-actualisation.

Maslow's hierachy of needs (1943)
Maslow’s hierachy of needs (1943)

To me, the Graze brand as well as their quirky Christmas gift manages to tick all the right boxes. Not only does it provide for our basic needs (i.e. food) but it provides food that is healthy in a way that is fun. As an added bonus, it attracts attention from your work mates (social belonging), makes you feel good because it is healthy (self-esteem), and aligns your values with those of the products that you buy (self-actualisation).

Personally, I find it an eminently sensible brand and business strategy to try and not only meet all of the needs of the customer, but also exceed them where possible. As a result in this case, you get customer satisfaction as well as exciting them, their friends and colleagues.

And if you wouldn’t like a little bear in the office, well – you can simply put it in the recycling bin, and maybe next year (if you’re good) it might come back as something else! Or, maybe another Graze box…..

The icing on the Christmas cake:
Whilst I am really impressed with the Graze brand and marketing as a whole, if they want to fill all MY needs they will need to start sourcing their products from Fair trade and sustainable suppliers.

But maybe that is more something for the future.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas to you all!


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