On Saturday at my mile 75, it was hot. I was tired. I decided I needed a change of pace so I joined the important peloton of those who stride for Booty and hit the loop on foot. I wanted to see what it was all about.
A happy energy prevailed. While cyclists consider safety first, and rightly so, on foot, there’s a freedom to socialize, to say a more intentional and lengthy “hello,” and to connect with other humans. The perspective and the pace change. I loved it.
I was bopping towards Queens Road West and Selwyn when I spotted my pal Stan in a mass of people. I see Stan and his wife Susan every year at Booty. They always walk. I always ride. Susan was out of town this year, so Stan and I walked and caught up. I must have talked about my role in marketing that reminded him of some logo work I had done for his produce brokerage business. The businessman in him shifted the conversation and capitalized on the opportunity.
“So let me ask you a question,” he said. “How would you market organic bananas?”
Marketing a product can really only be successful if you know the product, its industry, and its consumers. I feel like I know bananas pretty well. I am a banana consumer.
I was intrigued by the challenge set before me. I needed to understand what sets organic bananas apart from their non-organic pals. (Spoiler alert: it’s mostly HOW they are grown that matters, not the fruit itself nor its nutrients.) We continued to brainstorm, with pretty mushy success.
I pick bananas only by virtue of their ripeness. Not too green, mostly yellow, with no freckles. Chiquita versus Dole matters not. The stickers are almost invisible to me and I venture to guess they are to you as well. I just buy the bananas. And I don’t think I’ve ever purchased organic bananas. I don’t think the marketing of them has ever mattered to me as a consumer.
Then I had a lightbulb moment.
What if we made it matter? What if, in this day and age of brand bravado, instead of stickers, we create an aesthetically pleasing banana tag for the organic fruit? Something different that could even be reused, or at least happily displayed on the bulletin board like the Life is Good tag is on mine. Now that’s appealing to me.
You know what? I don’t know plátano about promoting produce. But here’s what I do know. In that one loop, I focused on my friend instead of my fatigue. Where we were and what we were doing was so much bigger than organic bananas. This break fed me. I was energized. I loved my new perspective.
Before he peeled off for home and I geared back up for my bike, Stan and I, in the nourishing company of hundreds of pedestrians and pedalers, shared the important common ground of moving our booties for cancer. So that those who face it might better survive it. That’s what matters.
This year we just did it… with a little superfood marketing on the side.
Written by Courtney Oates
When Courtney’s not chatting it up about superfoods, she rides (and walks) with team GoJenGo.