PPM Article: Profits from Passion

Profits from Passion. – Article by XOXX and Pooch & Mutt owner, Guy Blaskey, published in the trade magazine PPM (Pet Product Marketing).

Jamie Oliver is not a writer, but he is the second most successful author in the UK (after JK Rowling) with £101.55 million racked up in book sales.

Jamie Oliver was never a head chef and he never got a Michelin Star, but he makes far more money from restaurants than Michelin-starred chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White.

Jamie Oliver reportedly does not buy food in supermarkets, but made approximately £13 million over 11 years from Sainsbury’s.

As well as TV shows and books Jamie Oliver has 3 restaurant chains; Jamie’s Italian, Barbecoa and Fifteen, a cooking school; Recipease, an event catering company; Fabulous Feasts, products including mugs, pans, cutlery, crockery, gardening kits, the Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker and more, his own festival; Featival, one of the most successful apps ever launched on iTunes and myriad other things.

Jamie Oliver rarely advertises any of his books, restaurants, foods, products or anything else, yet sales are sky high. How has Jamie Oliver achieved this success, and what can we learn from him?

The simple reason is that Jamie Oliver is passionate about people eating good quality, healthy food. This passion about good quality, healthy food is the core of the Jamie Oliver brand, it is what we associate with him. Jamie Oliver undoubtedly makes very entertaining TV programs like Jamie’s Food Revolution, but the genius of these programs is that they act as hour-long adverts for the Jamie Oliver brand – a brand which is about passion for good quality, healthy food.

Then when you see a Jamie Oliver branded restaurant you know that it is a place that serves good quality, healthy food. When you see a Jamie Oliver book you know it contains recipes for good quality, healthy food. Even when you see a Jamie Oliver pan you know that you can use it to cook good quality, healthy food! This is because the Jamie Oliver brand is all about his passion for good quality, healthy food.

Jamie Oliver doesn’t need to advertise to tell you that his restaurants serve, or his books are about good quality, healthy food. You know this as soon as you see the Jamie Oliver brand, because this passion is at the heart of everything Jamie Oliver does. The great thing for Jamie Oliver is that his passion creates programs that we want to watch, we don’t see them as advertising for the Jamie Oliver brand… but that is what they are (albeit unintentionally).

Jamie Oliver is not alone in using his passion to make money. Anita Roddick was passionate about ethical consumerism. This is what you saw her talking about on TV and writing about in the press. This made you know that her Body Shop products were ethical and eventually lead to her making £652m from the sale of Body Shop to L’Oreal.

Martin Lewis, ‘The Money Saving Expert’, is passionate about saving money. This passion gets him a lot of TV and press time and this coverage drives a lot of people to his website moneysavingexpert.com where he then makes money from affiliate deals on the products he recommends. Money Saving Expert’s company set up means they do not have to make their accounts public, but one of their rivals, moneysupermarket.com do, their 2010 sales were £148.9m with pre-tax profit of £11m. This gives an idea of how much could be being made by moneysavingexpert.com.

Richard Branson is passionate about a relaxed, fun, active lifestyle. This passion gets him miles of press coverage and weeks worth of TV coverage every year. He is the embodiment of the Virgin brand and when you see a Virgin product whether it’s a space flight, mobile phone or gym you know that it is part of a relaxed, fun, active lifestyle. Being the embodiment of the Virgin brand has made Richard Branson the 5th richest person in the UK and 254th in the world with an approximate net worth of £2.58 billion.

What can you learn from this, and how can you have a slice of the action?

Firstly, you have to find your passion. A lot of people in the pet industry got into the industry because they have a passion for pets. As good as that is, you need to go a little bit deeper. Is your passion for pets being healthy themselves, for pets being part of an active life for their owners, for breeding, for helping animals help people (i.e. hearing dogs/ guide dogs), for ethical pet ownership, for pet owners getting the best deals? There are infinite options, only you know where your passion really lies.

Once you have identified your passion you need to build it into your business, as the core of your business, not just an add on. If you are passionate about saving money for pet owners see what deals you can do with manufacturers of pet products and get those deals passed on to your customers. If you are passionate about pets being as healthy as possible, make sure that you fully research all products and only offer those that are going to help a dog’s health. If you are passionate about helping dogs that help people donate some of your profits to the charities that do this or work with the charities to help raise money.

Now comes the key bit. No one is really that interested that you have launched a new product, or shop or website. In the same way that no one is that interested in just another Jamie Oliver cookbook, a new eye shadow from the Body Shop, an insurance deal on moneysavingexpert.com or a new type of gym membership from Virgin. People are interested in the passion that led to those products coming to life. If you want to get an interview with a local newspaper or a local radio station approach them with the problem that you are passionate about. Tell them that Britons are wasting £XXX per year buy not buying their pet food properly, the fact that you are from XXXXX Discount Pet Foods will come across and this will drive people to your store. Tell them about the range of problems that pets can have by not eating a healthy diet, the fact that you are from XXXX Healthy Pet Foods will come across and this will drive people to your store.

As well as speaking to local press and radio get involved in online conversations. Set up a blog/ facebook/ twitter account, answer questions on Yahoo! answers or petforums.co.uk.

Become an expert in the area your are passionate about, whether it’s having a relaxed, fun, active lifestyle (like Richard Branson) or good quality, healthy food (like Jamie Oliver). The more you become an expert, the more people will want you to speak about the area you are an expert in and the more people will buy from you, because they trust you as the expert.

At Pooch & Mutt we are passionate about naturally improving dogs’ health. We identify problems and develop natural solutions to help them. We have just launched a new product, Slimmin’ Tonic, a natural way to help overweight dogs lose weight. If were to go to a magazine or radio station and say “would you like to do a feature on out new product?” they would most likely say “no”. If we were to go to a magazine or radio station and say “Would you like to do a feature on the fact that over 50% of the dogs in the UK are overweight?” and offer them our expertise to make the feature entertaining for their readers/ viewers there is a higher likelihood that they will say “yes”. We can then make it clear in the feature that we have a product to help.

Business books will always tell you about the “four P’s of marketing”; Product, Price, Place and Promotion. They often forget about the other P, Passion, and that can be more important that all the other 4 combined.