The green apple tale

  • I used to drive regularly down a quiet country lane in Surrey to avoid the A3 and its constant mayhem and seize a piece of rural quiet. On one occasion I noticed an old cardboard sign by a farm gate that had “Granny’s green apples for sale” written in a shaky felt tip scrawl. Slowing down I looked up the drive and saw an elderly lady sitting at a tressel table eagerly polishing apples with a damask cloth. With time on my hands, I pulled up and approached the table and received smiles of welcome and proudly bought a bag of the greenest apples I had ever seen. Sitting in the car I bit into the delicious nurtured fruit and savoured the perfect bucolic moment. A few days later I passed the same spot and noticed several cars parked up on my arrival and a number of people queuing and chatting around her table and returning with laden bags to their cars. A few more days later when passing there were 10 cars parked up and trade had clearly picked up. Over the next few weeks I continued to detour past her gate and each time there was thriving activity with now the addition of a helper and 2 extra tables. My reason for driving down the A3 then came to an end so it was not until the following summer that I had the chance to make the detour again and I rather wish I hadn’t. The simple sign had been replaced for a highly designed illuminated plastic panel, the tables had become large glazed display cabinets and Granny was nowhere to be seen and nor were any customers. Whilst the apples were I am sure still delicious the simplicity, intimacy and home grown integrity had been replaced with commercial. So what’s that got to do with “Building brands for the investment industry” you may ask? When evaluating and evolving brands do not overlook some of their subtle traits and values which may very well be counter intuitive and are actually the essence of your business.