untitledMalcome Gladwell shared a wonderful story and insight on a TED talk he delivered that I found very insightful and useful to those of us in the fitness industry.
In the 70’s Prego was the dominate pasta sauce sold on the grocer’s shelves, Ragu was struggling to get their own pieces of the pie in this market and always found themselves falling short of their competitor. Ragu final brought in a consultant who was known for offering “out there” ideas to try something new to increase their company’s influence in the market.
This was a far different era of pasta sauce than the one you and I know today. The abundance of choices we are presented with when we reach the pasta sauce isle was not there. The major brand represented was Prego and you had one or two different kinds to choose from.
Ragu’s big game changing moves was to add a new addition to their line up and offer a Chunky Style sauce, a style that had never been offered before by any company. It quickly became a best seller and did wonders for the Ragu’s bottom line.
Today 1/3 of ALL consumers who purchase pasta sauce from the store, purchase chunky sauce.
Here’s the kicker, both companies had done years of exhaustive focus groups, product testing and customer surveys and not one did any of the groups, tests or surveys indicate that the public wanted a chunky style sauce. NOT ONCE. Yet once it was release 1/3, 33% of EVERYONE who buys pasta sauce became a chunky style coinsure. 33%! If so many people wanted and now love chunky sauce, how come no one asked for it?
Because people have no idea what they want. They become bound by what they know and what is familiar. They need visionaries in their lives to show them new possibilities because they are unable to see them.
I believe the fitness industry is much like the pasta sauce industry in the days before the dawn of chunky.
People want to sweat buckets, do crazy hard exercises, never spend time recovering or healing the system, spend hours on the treadmill or elliptical, look for gyms that have so much invested in equipment that they might pay it off over 3 life times.
They want these things because they are the only things they know and what they are told to want. They look for what is familiar, this blinds them to finding something that could be great.Wwhat they really want is something great they just don’t know what it is.
That’s where you come in; to introduce it to them.
Don’t ever be afraid to try something new or pursue an idea that is outside the norm because no one has asked for it. People stick to what they know and what is comfortable with gives them little to no vision to be able to see what is possible. If you have the ability to see new possibilities, create and explore new methods don’t let people who have no idea what they really want hold you back.
Create the next chunky sauce.

About caseystutzman

Casey Stutzman is an AFAA certified trainer and has been actively involved in the fitness industry since 2004. Since 2006 he has acted as the Head Trainer at the Bay Athletic Club in Alpena Michigan. Casey’s love of athletics and competition drove him in to the fitness industry. He uses his experience as a division 1 college football player, amateur bodybuilding competitor, strongman competitor to help others reach their goals in all areas of fitness. Casey spends his time at Bay Athletic Club teaching Boot Camps, small group training sessions, training clients and working with participants in Bay Athletic Club’s Corporate Fit Challenge program. He also develops strength and conditioning programs and does performance training for a number of local athletic organizations and high school teams. As an Ignite Performance Master trainer and Master Instructor for TRX Casey travels North America to educate and connect with fitness professionals to help them offer more to their clients and athletes. Time outside of fitness is occupied with reading, travel, indoor rock climbing, snow sports and being an active outdoorsman. He enjoys spending free time with his wife Mary Beth, his daughter Vesper, son Indiana and Turkish the family dog.