Note from Sarah: This article was originally sent via my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers receive essay style pieces like this before anyone else. Click here to subscribe!
My husband is obsessed with Oatly.
Yes, that would be the Swedish oat milk.
(I realize we’re living up to all the Portland stereotypes by revealing this.)
Honestly, I don’t quite get it—it’s fine, but I don’t really understand how Oatly is different that other oat milks and, anyway, I’m more of a soy girl myself if I’m going to do a dairy substitute. Needless to say, he was pretty bummed when there was an Oatly shortage for quite awhile.
(Again, could we be more Portland?)
This week he excitedly shared the following that was on Oatly’s most recent carton:
(Enjoy the bonus doggo.)
Running an oatmilk company is not as easy as it looks. It’s one thing to come up with tasty and nutritious and sustainable products, and it is entirely something else to get people to notice those great products. But when you make great product and get people to notice them at the same time, guess what happens? All of you buy them faster than we can make them. Which sounds like a positive problem until our customers can’t find our products on the shelves, and our retail partners can’t get their orders. Not good, but not forever either. Which is why we would like to extend our appreciation for your patience. We are, after all, human and only have the ability to predict the future on occasion.
What did Oatly do that’s so special?
They publicly acknowledged that things didn’t go as planned—they owned the bad with the good, and shared it, expressing appreciation for the folks who stuck with them through it all. (And they did so without throwing a pity party and with loads of bonus humor that suits their brand voice.)
The thing is, everyone screws up. We make mistakes, things don’t work out like we planned.
However, if you listen to many of the marketing gurus and lifestyle coaches out there, you’d think they never made a mistake, never tried something and failed, and certainly never made a customer unhappy.
I know I’ve screwed up plenty—I talk about services and techniques I’ve tried that just didn’t work loads of times in this newsletter and even mentioned it on my IGTV yesterday. Both our member Slack and my consulting clients hear about my own oopses probably more than they’d like, and that’s wholly intentional, because I want people to know it’s okay to try something and have it not work—it’s better to try and take something from that than be frozen by the “what if” fears.
If more of us shared our missteps, failures, mistakes and disappointments, couldn’t we all learn a whole lot more than aspiring to the perfection so many people present as the norm?The Ungross Marketing Community