Courageous Enough to Stand for Something

Jimmy John's Office Lunch

Have you ever been to a Jimmy John’s? Our office goes all the time.

Wow. It is amazing how they deliver on their brand promise. Freakishly Fast! For me, it is an experience to see how quickly they can make a sub.

Here’s my quick JJ drill. I go in a Jimmy John’s (I have been to several). I order. They tell me the amount due. I fumble around for some cash. They give me change. Walk to the end of the counter. Done! My sandwich is waiting. (With a sticker on the wrapper that says “Subs so fast, you’ll freak” or “YOUBUYWEFLY.” Fun brand voice that accentuates the experience).

Every time, I am blown away. I can’t help but chuckle – “Man, that WAS freakishly fast!” The whole Jimmy John’s process – from ordering to sitting down to eating – occurs in less than two minutes. I am not kidding. And, it blows me away every time.

Now, this is genius. There are many, many sub places out there. But, Jimmy John’s was smart enough from a strategic branding perspective to focus on a brand promise that they could announce and – through their employees’ behaviors – deliver upon. Speed.

Here’s the deal about great marketing today – you have to stand for something. Something focused, something distinctive. Everyone feels pressure as a business to stand for several things. Research says “this” and “that,” “It’s all important.” So, emerging brands try and cram that all the “this-and-thats” into their brand story.

But by including multiple “value points” (which tend to be the same points with your competitors because they did the same research), you are making it hard for your customer to clearly see how you are different.

Do Jimmy John’s sandwiches taste good? Sure. Are they fresh? They have to be or you will not return. The key brand question – What is Jimmy John’s better at than anyone else? Clear, focused answer? Making your fresh, good sandwiches in record speed!

I got it. Freakishly fast. And better yet, I feel it when I go through the JJ customer experience.

Jimmy John's Subs

This is a terrific lesson for all those folks trying to create a strong brand. Be courageous – stand for something. And even better, stand for something that your people can deliver on.

It sure looks to me like the employees of Jimmy John’s are having a lot of fun seeing how fast they can make your sandwich and blow you away. They love “wowing” the customer through their speed. I bet they hear all the time: “Dadgummit, that was freakishly fast!” (Well, maybe not the ‘dadgummit’ part, except from where I’m from in Tennessee.)

Jimmy John’s “freakish speed” makes the customer happy, makes the employee happy, and makes their CMO really happy. And the happiest of all – JJ’s bottom line.

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