Photo by Corleto Peanut butter on Unsplash

This post is a rant and a pep talk.

First, the rant.

I have repeatedly purchased the wrong peanut butter at the grocery store. I keep accidentally buying Jif Natural Crunchy instead of Jif Natural Creamy and it is infuriating. (I’m not here to debate whether creamy is better than crunchy. Crunchy isn’t bad, it’s just not what I want, okay?) I don’t notice my error until I open the new jar, peel back the stay-fresh seal, and see all those chunks of peanuts blemishing what should be a perfectly smooth, almost glass-like surface.

And the reason I keep buying crunchy? It’s because the packaging looks almost IDENTICAL to the creamy version. See for yourself:

ignore the fact that they’re different sizes; that’s not usually the case

Luckily, my husband eats crunchy peanut butter, so it’s not a total waste. But I do have to put peanut butter back on my grocery list with a note to take extra care when I grab it off the shelf.

And now, the pep talk.

You might think that you shouldn’t do something, try something, and especially make something because it’s been done before. Your work doesn’t feel original, innovative, or unique enough for someone to connect with it after you put it out into the world.

That’s a load of crunchy peanut butter, if you ask me. Just look at all of the peanut butter available! It’s more than just creamy and crunchy. It’s natural, and sugar-free, and made with roasted peanuts, and whatever Peter Pan is. It comes in plastic jars and glass jars, big jars, and little jars. And even pouches. Some even have jelly mixed in! (Do they still do that?)

If a would-be peanut butter brand looked at the market and said, “Nah, I couldn’t contribute anything new to this,” they might miss out on a market looking for exactly whatever their thing is! Like, I don’t know, a label design that clearly differentiates the creamy variety from the crunchy variety.

And if peanut butter isn’t enough for you, consider cookbooks (can you tell I’m writing this at dinnertime?). Do you know how many Italian cookbooks have been published? Neither do I, but I can guarantee the answer is: more than one kitchen will ever need. But they just keep coming, because each is distinct thanks to the writer, photographer, focus, theme, or whatever.

Your work is like a cookbook. The fact that it comes from you is enough to differentiate it for your market.

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