What’s one thing you’ll almost always see at the center of any given restaurant table?
First thing that comes up in my mind is a glass bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup. The fact of the matter is, Heinz ketchup has become a staple of American cuisine. Though, behind that world-famous condiment lies an unexpected story.
“Filthy, decomposed and putrid” are all words that famed cuisine author Pierre Blot used in 1866 to describe the quality of commercial ketchups being sold at the time. When you opened a bottle at that time, the contents could literally kill you. The main reason that ketchup was so filthy was due to the shortness of the tomato season. The season lasted from mid-August until mid-October, so ketchup could only be made fresh for two months out of the year’s twelve. By the late 1800’s Americans were so used to ketchup on their tables, that they expected its availability all year. Manufacturers then began to use preservatives on massive quantities of ketchup to meet the year-long expectations. Those preservatives included boric acid, formalin, salicylic acid, and benzoic acid. And yes, those are chemical compounds used in today’s acne treatments and other commercial cleaning products. Even worse, the manufacturers added coal tar color the ketchup its signature red. And finally, to top it all off, the ketchup was cooked in copper tubs, leading to a chemical reaction between the copper and ketchup that could actually make the concoction poisonous to consume. How delicious does that sound?!?
The important part is what happened next.
Heinz took a complete turn and became the world’s leader in clean ketchup. And it all started with the very bottle itself being crystal clear in place of the brown bottles used by the rest. Heinz workers were also expected to be superfluously hygienic. Heinz provided new uniforms, free laundry service for those uniforms, and even an in-house manicurist. In doing this Heinz nearly guaranteed clean employees, a clean environment, and a clean product. In fact, Heinz’s factories were such models of cleanliness that 30,000 visitors were allowed to tour the factory every year. Heinz knew he had nothing to hide.
As interesting as Heinz’s story is, the key part of it is what we learn it, and how we change as a result of the lessons we took away.
If there were any principles that Henry Heinz valued more than any others, they were purity & transparency. Every bottle of Heinz Ketchup sold is see-through is for that very reason. It’s a design statement: purity through transparency. It is with that very principle that we must present ourselves to the world. Be pure and transparent in your goals, vision, and core company principles.
Define the vision
Heinz has branded its company mission statement to be “As the trusted leader in nutrition and wellness, Heinz – the original Pure Food Company – is dedicated to the sustainable health of people, the planet and our Company.” Like them, it is important to be clear in what your company is working towards. When people understand what you want from yourself, they can better understand how they can help, which is what you ultimately want them to do in some way.
With vision, comes the values you choose to build on to achieve your goals.
Define the values
Heinz names team building & collaboration, innovation, vision, results, and integrity as its core values. When it comes to choosing your values, you must really only answer two questions. “What do you want to work towards?” and “What do you need to do, or are willing to do, to get there?”
Define the quality
For billions of consumers around the globe, “if it isn’t Heinz, it isn’t ketchup.” It’s rational for people not to settle for anything less than greatness when it comes to quality, for that reason Heinz puts so much effort in marketing its own quality. Heinz says is beautifully and simply, “Good food is who we are, pure and simple.”
Define your vision, values, and quality in each and every one of your PowerPoint presentations and you will begin to allow your brand to be universally recognized for exactly what you want it to be recognized for. Taking these steps will show your audiences who and what you are in a simple yet relatable way, which is amazingly useful when it comes to maximizing your sales.