Brand Management and the King Oyster Principle

We always say you either get branding or you don’t. There is no real middle ground. It was therefore a pleasure to visit our mate Lester Marshall from the Coffin Bay Oyster Farm just before Christmas. Lester farms oysters in Australia’s premium seafood area on the Eyre Peninsula. Internationally recognised for their quality, flavour and size, Coffin Bay is South Australia’s most famous oyster growing location. This is largely because the waterways surrounding Coffin Bay are constantly being nourished from the nutrient-rich seawater and up welling from the Southern Ocean. It is a remarkable area, amazing oysters and Lester is doing his best to tell the world about it.

We previously told you about working with Lester to create the Coffin Bay Oyster Farm brand and a range of oyster sub-brands, a differentiation strategy based on the the old oyster’s aren’t oysters type thinking. And at one extreme end of that brand portfolio continuum is the Coffin Bay Oyster Farm’s King Oyster. Lester has taken it upon himself to farm an oyster for six or more years until it is the size of small dinner plate and meal in its own right. It is an initiative that is designed simply to inject theatre and talkability into the life of his brand. From a brand management perspective he is investing energy into creating gestures that suggest to the market that his brand is different. Each King oyster he grows he individual numbers with a metal tag and sells them in the region’s most upmarket hotel for $100 a oyster. At that price he is providing more than a great eat, he is delivering full bragging rights to those who purchase them. And rest assured people are buying them. Recently, a female hotel guest ordered and consumed one on two successive nights – clearly needing double the bragging rights. Not bad when most of my friends won’t ever fork out $100 for a bottle of good wine… well that’s for another story.

(For a mere $100, Lester would have allowed me to keep this gem of a King Oyster.)

So what is the moral of this story? You guessed it. What is the King Oyster gesture for your brand. What wildly extravagant dimension could you possible wrap around your brand. It is a good reminder why limited editions have worked so well, for so many brands, for so long. But it does require imagination and commitment.

If you would like us to feed you some ideas (and perhaps a King Oyster) give us a call – you won’t go home empty handed, 2012 is our year of stirring the happy genes of individuals and brands.

Peter Singline
Brand Scientist


    • Thanks for the feedback and you make a good point. It’s certainly a challenge to balance the dual roles of running a commercial agency and keeping the good quality content rolling. We take on board your point and continue to try to do better.

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