toastI love bread.

I look forward to my trips to the bakery or the bread section of my grocery store where, even though I generally know the choices, I revel in the opportunity to look at each rack and consider what will be in the mix this time.  I love it so much that my mental map of any city in which I have spent enough time is guided not by street maps or monuments…but by bakery locations and specialties.  (Just ask me the next time you are heading to Paris, Riems, or Frankfurt.)

But there is a problem with this fresh bread.  It becomes hard and unfriendly in a very short time.  When there are days that it just isn’t practical to go shopping for bread one is forced to find an alternative.

My alternative is factory bread that has an astonishingly long shelf life.  You know what I mean.  Bread that is already sliced, in a plastic bag, and generally square.  I have been generally “uninvolved” in the selection of exactly which factory bread I pick out.  I would take anything claiming to be whole wheat…UNTIL TODAY.

Today, as I reached down and removed this weeks selection of bread from the toaster, WITHOUT needing a knife, burning my fingers, or otherwise fishing about dangerously in the heat, I realised that I had finally found MY bread.  As I heard the click and saw the top protruding beautifully above the hot metal, as I experienced a complete calmness while grasping it, as I flipped my toast with ease and grace onto the waiting plate, it became clear to me.  We days of choosing which factory bread I would buy were over.

Competitive advantage can be found in a profound understanding of what I want and HOW MUCH I want it.  With this knowledge, and having included my most sought after features, sales then becomes a much simpler 2 step process.  Step 1: make sure I know about it.  Step 2: make sure I can buy it.

Before this morning, it might have been difficult for a bread manufacturer to market to me.  I thought that taste, shelf-life, health & ingredients, or price played the primary role in my decision making and would have said so if asked.  However, marketing messages touting these advantages would have been “near misses”.

Today I realised what I REALLY want in a bread:  I want unburned fingers.

When you see this as the main advertising message…know that THIS bread will be on my shelf.