Regular vs. raw

The crunchy honey moment

For most of my life, I’d never thought much about honey. The extent of my consideration of the honey category was this: “It comes from bees. It’s yellow and sticky. It’s squeezed out of a plastic bear’s head-nozzle. It’s all pretty much the same.”

Honey was a commodity product: unmemorable and undistinguished. I was just going to stir it in my tea or spread it on my toast, so I never thought twice about it.

Until yesterday.

My wife came home with this stuff — $16 for a one-pound jar. A buck an ounce. Could honey be that much better? “Just try it,” she said, a gleam in her eye. So I dipped a teaspoon in, and it was a pale, buttery color. And it was crunchy.

So not only was it a weird color, it was a weird texture. So what makes raw honey raw honey? Never heated or filtered, still has traces of wild stuff, and crystallizes over time. The aroma: honey squared, with hints of flowers, open fields, and untamed places. And the taste! A dance of dissolving granules on the tongue and a powerful zap of flavor. I’d entered a new world.

Though the taste and smell were worth the price, it was the texture that got my gears turning, the texture that inspired this reflection on branding and product design. From the first peek inside, this raw honey’s graininess conveyed that it was special. That texture signaled “premium and different” before a single taste. So here’s the $16 question:

How do you bring the crunch to your brand?

Put another way, what can you change to make your product or service worth focusing on? Differ from people’s expectations? Be worth remembering? Perhaps it’s your use of color and design in a bland category. Perhaps it’s a confrontational tone in your copy. Perhaps it’s a non-businesslike About page for a business service. Perhaps it’s using a fat kid to sell sneakers.

Method, T-Mobile, Basecamp, and Nike all bring the crunch, and all stand out. While you’re thinking about that, I’ll be over here, sneaking another dip of wild honey.

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