What can Famous Amos teach anyone about marketing principles? Well, 6 quite inspiring principles, in fact. It’s an odd premise, I know, but stay with me. I’m always looking at the world to see what works and why as far as marketing goes. After all, I promote music, and I’m always looking to apply new lessons and techniques to help the artists I work with. Read more about Wally Amos in the New York Times.
I’ve been diligently following Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Body plan for the past 6 weeks. It’s essentially healthy eating, cutting out the starches and sugars (which is much harder than it sounds) and eating mainly protein, vegetables, beans and legumes. The main draw, for me, though, is that the way the science works, I get an off day, and on the off day, I can have whatever I want…beer, cheeseburgers, cake, cookies. This is where Famous Amos enters the picture.
I was eating Famous Amos cookies the other night, and was wondering why they sell so well, while at the same time wondering why the packaging and the name itself made me feel as if I were buying from an old friend, and not a huge company or a non-entity. The answer was all in the bio, and as I read it and broke it down, I realized that it was something all entrepreneurs, individuals and companies could learn from. In a time where the media is more saturated than ever (calling it “over saturated” would be an opinion, you see), it’s critical for stories to stand out. Here are the elements that make Famous Amos work from a marketing standpoint.
The bio begins with “Originally, Famous Amos baked delicious cookies in his home to share with his friends and family.” Our first principle, then, is selflessness. The story has a selfless beginning, making the reader instantly like the protagonist.
“In 1975, he was inspired by a passed-down family recipe and perfected the ultimate chocolate chip cookie.” Our second and third principles are (divine) inspiration and exclusivity, meaning the individual’s selflessness was rewarded, naturally with a flash of inspiration. Since the inspiration only came to this individual, it technically means that there is only one person in the world who has it, and can share it. It’s exclusive and special, and since it comes internally, it can’t rationally be argued with. (More on the sharing later)
“With the commitment to use only the best ingredients, he then started his own company.” Our fourth principle is right action, which comes from pure inspiration. In other words, since the original action of feeding his friends and family was pure, the inspiration to perfect the family recipe was pure, too, and now sharing with the public takes on the same ethics.
“Wally’s homemade-tasting cookies with semi-sweet chocolate chips and flavorful nuts were so special they became famous just by word of mouth.” Our fifth principle is collective right action/reward. Right action, of course, leads to collective right action, whatever that may appear as. The fire is lit and it spreads quickly.
“Today, Famous Amos cookies still meet these high expectations and are enjoyed by all true cookie lovers. Enjoy the special recipe that made Amos famous!” Our 6th principle is oneness, and this is an interesting one. Notice the term “enjoyed by all true cookie lovers”. You want to be a true cookie lover, right? Also, you’re getting invited to take part in this journey, to taste the special recipe that was inspired by selflessness, that was once kept secret and shared with a small group of people. You’re taking part in family, community, friendship, and inspiration.
Another thing we should note is that, if you look up Wally Amos on Wikipedia, he has a much bigger story than cookies. He was an Air Force veteran and a talent agent with the William Morris Agency. There was also much more to the promotion and start-up of Famous Amos Cookies that represents the way we do modern business. Notice how none of this is shared, because it’s not relevant.
So many individuals, companies, musicians, and artists represent themselves in confused ways, listing everything they’ve ever achieved in their outreach, hoping it will “stick” and impress someone. They completely forget the point; the story, and no one is impressed by accolades alone. If what you’re doing can’t be framed as exclusive to you, and if you can’t frame that as something the public is excited to share, you won’t sell. A small disclaimer, though, this article is not meant to be used as a blueprint for writing your bio, per say. You don’t need to create a myth about yourself if there isn’t one there! I do hope it’s been a fun read, and you enjoyed the straight forward wisdom.
In my opinion, anyone can learn how to run a business, a band, or any other entrepreneurial endeavor by simply reading the back of a package of Famous Amos cookies in the right light.