Last weekend I pulled out a batch of beeswax for a Christmas gift I’m working on for a friend. Though I’d had it hanging around my home craft archive since early autumn, this was the first time I had taken a moment to really look at the label. Visually, it is nothing special; a simple black and white label on a clear plastic sandwich bag.
Upon closer inspection, however, I noticed a long list of possible uses for beeswax written in 6-point font. It included:
Archery, Balms, Bagpipes, Baking, Basketry, Blacksmithing, Bullet casting, Candles, Copper sinks, Cracked hooves, Didgeridoos, Mouth Pieces, Dreadlocks, Earplugs, Moustache Wax, Wood finish, Oil spill control, Painting restoration, Reed Making, Wire Pulling, Whip making.
A diverse range of possibilities, to say the least.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this tiny, tiny company has done something many large companies never do – they’ve gotten to know their customers by exploring how the people who buy their product are using their product. They’ve asked questions. They’ve poked and prodded. They’ve taken the time to find out how their product fits into the lives of their customers.
I’m sure when they opened their first hive for business, it probably didn’t cross their mind that the byproduct of their real product would be used for everything form dreadlocks to oil spills. Yet here we are.
One of the greatest missed opportunities in business is a result of assumption. (You know what they say about “assume”….) If your brand makes “X” product for “Y” use and assumes that’s the only way it’s being used, you’re missing out. Consumers are always finding new ways to use old products. If you take the time to listen, ask the right questions and research how people are using your product, you’ll find a vast wealth of feedback waiting to be tapped into. It may help you improve your overall product. It may inspire you to tweak your packaging. It may give you insights on other brands you can align with or niches you can market to. And don’t need to set up elaborate focus groups to do it – all you have to do is stop, look and listen.