Wednesday, August 9, 2023

The Inside Scoop

Two friends, Ben and Jerry, took their ice cream brand from zero to one of the major leaders in the super-premium ice cream market. They did this with a relentless focus on quality (the best ingredients, the processing that results in the best taste), the customer (constantly trying new flavours), and perhaps most of all, countless hours put into execution. The Inside Scoop is the story of that company as told by the CEO who took over from them.

I found the first half of the book really interesting, as the two entrepreneurs struggled in a myriad of ways to get their business off the ground. The latter half delves more into the corporate side, where the focus turns to corporate social responsibility and succession planning and other less interesting things, at least to me.

The most fascinating thing I learned was about their main competitor in the super-premium niche: HÄAGEN-DAZS. This European-sounding brand was created by a born and bred New Yorker who realized some Americans would drop extra money on ice cream if they thought it was made in some hoity-toity foreign country. They placed a map of Denmark on their packaging, used a name that doesn't mean anything, and put umlauts (those two dots over the "A") in the name even though the Danish language has no umlauts in it. I'd find this insulting as a customer if I knew this, but people either didn't know or didn't care as this brand became the leader in its niche and led to a bunch of copycats.

I recommend the book to anyone interested in entrepreneurship and/or in premium brand positioning.

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