Warning: this post is extra cheesy.

Are you a grilled cheese fan? And I bet you like Mac & Cheese. Then you’d probably love Panera Bread‘s Grilled Mac & Cheese Sandwich.

Panera launched this lopsided piece of genius this Fall. The mac & cheese, made with a fontina and mozzarella cheese blend, is layered with parmesan crisps. All that oozy goodness is packed between two toasted pieces of thickly sliced Classic White Miche bread.

This isn’t the first time Panera has upgraded its staple Mac & Cheese. Last Fall they added broccoli into the mix. Then it paired with Michael Bolton to launch it through song.

Can it get any cheesier? YES

In the Harvard Business Review article, “Make Your Best Customers Even Better,” authors Eddie Yoon, Steve Carlotti, and Dennis Moore shared a story about Velveeta cheese.

In 2012, the processed cheese brand experienced its third consecutive year of declining sales. Whoops. What could Kraft do to reverse this trend?

1. Should they get new or lapsed customers to try the product? Perhaps use sampling and discounts.

2. Should they get infrequent purchasers to buy the product more consistently? Perhaps focus on recipes and coupons.

3. Or should they focus on customers who loved the product? Perhaps find ways to get them to buy more Velveeta products.

When the brand managers studied how the brand was being consumed, they were shocked. The research found the top 10% of Velveeta buyers account for over 50% of all profit for the product. And here was the kicker…. these consumers were not getting enough Velveeta in their lives.

Kraft decided to focus on this key segment of 2.4 million consumers. The results were anything but cheesy.

New product spin-offs totaling over $100 million in additional sales in the next 18 months were a game-changer. It shifted a paradigm for Kraft.

According to marketing director Greg Gallagher, “The previous thinking was that the quickest, easiest path to growth was to identify light users or lapsed users. But when we talked to superconsumers, we learned that in fact they wanted to use Velveeta more— they were starving for it.”

David Rendall and I feature the Velveeta example in our Lopsiding chapter in “Pink Goldish 2.0.” Lopsiding is about celebrating being unbalanced, unstable, and odd. Purposely taking the things that make you unique and then magnifying them, turning them up, exaggerating them, and then supersizing them. 

Sometimes a Pink Goldfish are products made with melted processed cheese or a grilled cheese and macaroni sandwich.

What are you lopsiding to drive differentiation?

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Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.

Find Stan’s in-person and virtual keynotes, workshops, and Goldfish tank programs at StanPhelps.com.