Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mustard happens

I love mustard and one of my favorite mustards is made right here in the great state of Maine.

Raye’s Mustards, located in beautiful Eastport, has been in the Raye family for four generations. Their mustard mill is the last remaining traditional stone-ground mill in North America.

From their website, you learn that most modern mustards are either cooked or ground by high speed technology, Raye’s maintains the traditional cold grind process that preserves the volatile taste qualities of the whole seeds, natural herbs and spices. The resulting flavor experience comes in part from the heightened awareness of taste as the mustard stimulates the taste buds.

The company was highlighted by Lynnelle Wilson, of BoldVision Consulting, on her Making It Happen blog. She learned of Raye’s when they garnered yet another gold medal in the equivalent of the “Mustard Olympics,” the Worldwide Mustard Competition, in Napa Valley, California. They've won awards in 1998, 1999, 2002, and 2006.

Wilson is based in California, and was impressed by Raye’s. She listed four lessons we can learn from the little mustard company in Maine that could.

1) Deliver a great product. The awards tell part of the tale, but longevity tells a more important one. Great marketing is important, but it will only sell a product once. After that, quality is king. Make sure you deliver a high quality product or service. It's the best way to get repeat business.
2) Deliver a distinctive product. There are hundreds of brands of mustard. There are dozens of "gourmet" mustards. Raye's stands out. You should, too.
3) Package distinctively. To help convince you to buy more than one jar of mustard at a time, Raye's will send you three jars rolled in a wooden parchment tube with logo and a leather tie. Try getting that at the supermarket.
4) Use all your channels. The fact is that you can get Raye's at many supermarkets, even though you won't get the parchment packaging. Don't limit yourself to one channel.

Not only are these great lessons for business, they are worth applying in any work that we do. These get at those key values of quality, distinctiveness, uniqueness and determination.

Pick up a some Raye’s product for that grilling on the deck that is just around the corner.

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