Lessons on Peace and Branding from Oreo

By George Farris

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Want to cure the divisiveness in this country? Start by finding common ground. But don’t use words.  Just get the opposing sides to sit down across a table from each other. Then give them a mug of ice-cold milk – and a dozen or so Oreos.  

Within minutes, someone on one side of the table will dunk an Oreo in that milk and slurp it into his mouth. Once that happens, someone on the other side will do the same. In no time, leaders on both sides will be dunking and slurping.

And since dunked Oreos taste, umm – AMAZING – the folks on both sides of the table will be smiling. When they look up and notice everyone has a milk mustache, they’ll realize they DO agree with the opposition on something. And since Oreos and milk will put them in a good mood, they’ll be more likely to settle their differences. Next thing you know – boom! National unity!

Since Oreos are a worldwide favorite and dunking Oreos in milk is a respected ritual in all cultures, you can repeat the above process with world leaders. And then – boom! World peace.

Side Note: If you nominate me for a Nobel Peace Prize, remember “Farris” is spelled with an “a,” not an “e.”

This Cookie (and Brand) Doesn’t Crumble

Oreo is the best-selling cookie in the world. It’s sold in 100 countries and has over $3 billion in annual sales.

TheStrategyStory.com says Oreo cookies were first manufactured in 1912 by the National Biscuit Co. (Nabisco). Forty billion Oreo cookies/biscuits are produced each year and would circle the earth five times.

How does a brand become that strong and STAY that strong with consumers around the world? Brands like Oreo exemplify the “Five C’s of Strong Brands.”  When followed, the Five C’s can build sales and increase customer loyalty, brand image and the financial value of the brand.

The Five C’s of Strong Brands are Credibility, Consistency, Connection, Communication and Community Building.  Here are the details of each:

1. Credibility

Credibility refers to the belief that the product information contained in a brand is both true and fair. Consumers recognize that credible brands have the ability (expertise) and willingness (trustworthiness) to provide what has been promised. Credibility is the heart of every great brand.

2. Consistency

Brand consistency is the pattern of expression that affects what consumers think about a brand. Brands can build and maintain consistency in brand designing, communication and delivery. The more consistent the message, the more consistent the branding.

 3. Connection

Why is building a connection with customers a crucial part of becoming a strong brand? Deep connections can lead to a greater brand appeal, differentiation and loyalty. When brands act, interact and react in ways that make every moment feel emotionally meaningful, customers and employees feel more secure and connected.

4. Communicatio

Strong brands are constantly informing, persuading, enlightening, teaching, reminding and enriching the knowledge of their stakeholders about the brand, its offerings of products and services.

5. Community Building

A brand community is a specialized, not geographically bound group of brand admirers. It provides customer loyalty and offers recommendations to marketers.

If you want to build a strong brand, make sure you use The Five C’s. If you want national unity or world peace, make sure you use a mug – not a glass – for dunking Oreos. In a glass, the milk level can go too low for someone to properly dunk his Oreo. And if opposing sides can’t reach the milk with their Oreo – boom! War.   

George Farris is CEO of Farris Marketing. Email gff@FarrisMarketing.com.