Right in the moment

As an Italian abroad, I am a huge importer of pasta from Italy. When I saw this today, I got hopeful.


The packaging is in Italian, but what got my train of thoughts started was the little branded tape that sealed the thing. It reads “comesifagarofalo.it”. A custom site the producer really wants me to check out as I am opening the package! (“come si fa Garofalo” could be translated into “how Garofalo is made”, yet in Italian the verb “to make” could also be used as “to cook”).

I got interested in the label as I have experienced many people do not know how to cook pasta. I have been asked about that quite a lot since I moved out of Italy, and I have some horror stories about how people actually go about cooking pasta that I will leave for a stormy night in the forest.

I hoped the company did recognize the problem and decided to put up a mini-site to educate people about this. I imagined a very simple site with the 3-4 key instructions (it is really that simple) right on top, perhaps a video, some hilarious “don’ts”, and a bunch of recipes. A company who made its name because of the quality of its pasta (Garofalo definitely has) should also care about how that is cooked and consumed. The possibility got me really excited.

That did not last long, as I unfortuntely found the mini-site was a mere way to showcase the manufacturing process of Garofalo pasta (where the ingredients come from, what is the process that goes into it, and so on).

I find this a missed opportunity to build a meaningful relationship with customers. When people have a package of pasta in their hands, the water boiling in the pot, I doubt they might be interested in where that pasta comes from or whether the ingredients used are genuine. I don’t mean to imply these are not important things in the buying process of a package of pasta (to some people, at least, they are). Yet by the time you have read the information on the website, your guests might have arrived, your water will have evaporated, and pasta will not be served for another half an hour.

When you think about how to promote your brand and its quality, always keep in mind that the customer has different types of interactions with the product. And while consistency is important, that does not mean you have to feed information about manufacturing and quality when they are about to cook their dinner. Think about what their needs might be at every stage, and give them what they might need the most in that moment. It is that simple, and yet definitely not easy.

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