Eclectic Curiosity

Jonesing for Soda

Posted on February 14th, 2005, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

In an amusing Fast Company transcript Jonesing for Soda, Jones Soda founder Peter van Stolk shares a few useful branding insights:

The fact is, you don’t need it! And as soon as you get off the fact that you don’t need it you become, in my opinion, you become a better marketer, you get a better understanding of your customer. You’re not listening to your customer when you tell them, “You need me.” You listen to you customers when you say, “You really don’t need me.” … Brand builders realize that brands need to be accepted by the consumer and that it’s a privilege and honor for someone to pay $1.70 for a bottle of Jones Soda. I’m very honored by that. …

So when we looked at companies to emulate, we never looked at beverage companies. It doesn’t make any sense. If I’m trying to be a leader in a category, why look at the big guys because I’m just going to try and follow what they’re doing. So the approach has always been to say I don’t care what anybody does in the beverage industry. I really don’t. They’re going to do what they’re going to do, so who gives a rat’s ass. We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. You have to know what they’re doing, but you don’t have to follow what they’re doing. …

If you don’t like Jones Soda, if you’re not into it, I don’t give a rat’s ass. I’m not going to change my formula to please you. That’s a very profound statement because if you talk to companies today, they say the customer’s always right. Well, no. Forget that. The customer’s not always right. If you are always trying to cater to all of the customers you have, you have no soul. You have to define yourself. …

If somebody said to me, Peter I want to give you $100 million, and I want you to launch a successful brand tomorrow, I’d say take your money and walk away. You want to give me $10 million and five years to do it, I’ll knock the ball out of the park. It’s not about money, it’s about time.

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