No Sausage

I was upset by the National Party’s video criticising the KiwiBuild initiative.

As much as I think the housing crisis needs government action, I struggle to be a credible cheerleader for KiwiBuild.

Still the video made me grumble. Not just because of the mansplaining, sexist approach. Nor, if you subscribe to the ‘grand unified theory of the terrible National Party sausage ad’, for the manipulation and cynicism.

My complaint then? Just like the Eminem song I kind-of liked until National used (stole) it for an election ad, they’ve gone and ruined a perfectly good saying. “All sausage – no sizzle.”

It’s a phrase I first heard in the 90’s when a magazine editor was talking about the need for the organisation I worked for to market one of out initiatives better. I don’t remember what the issue was, or whether Trevor was being supportive or critical. But I remember the phrase.

Yes, you need a great product. The sausage. A great sausage.

You also need to tell your stories, supporting an authentic brand, conveyed through engaging communication. The sizzle. The aroma that will draw people across the car park to the ‘whatever’ fundraiser, to buy said sausage.

They say many great products have failed from poor marketing, and many poor products have succeeded because of great marketing.

In sausage terms this makes sense too. No sizzle = sad sales. However the flip-side (great sizzle, bad sausage) isn’t great business in the long term. No one is coming back for another bad sausage no matter the sizzle.

Together, a great sausage with great sizzle is a recipe for success. A product impressive enough to create delight in your customers, and a story and engagement which turns customers into a community, ambassadors, advocates, and sales-people.

A few local Marlborough companies, brands and people I see doing this well include:

  • Paper Rain Project (beautiful design, innovative, thoughtful, and how many ways do I love that name?)
  • Arbour (I haven’t seen a sausage on the menu, but authenticity and taste abounds)
  • Framingham (an edgy vibe full of individuality – and lip-smackingly good Riesling)

I’m sure there are others – but these jumped into my mind immediately.

What other people, companies, and brands do you think have the complete sausage+sizzle package?

By the way, Windsong should be mentioned as a possible exception to the sizzle-sausage generalisation. Their organic orchard in Renwick, just out of Blenheim, produces gorgeous plums and berries and you can find them at the Marlborough Farmers’ Market too. There’s no sizzle in the sexy-marketing sense, ‘just’ lovely, genuine people who produce fruit and berries of outstanding taste and quality. Maybe sometimes a great sausage may be enough?

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