To promote his latest book, Never Mind The Sizzle…Where’s The Sausage?, David Taylor — founder of the brandgym — has taken it ‘on the road’ to help combat UK marketers’ obsession with the ‘sizzle’ when they should be concentrating on the ‘sausage’.

This ‘sausage’ consists of all the functional product benefits, whereas the ‘sizzle’ is the emotion and brand personality or the ‘image wrapper branding’ as Taylor refers to it as.

At the event, he highlighted two brands potentially guilty of sizzle without sausage. Firstly the £22m identity change from Premier Travel Inn to Premier Inn, and secondly the debacle over the 2012 Olympics logo. In terms of sausage, Taylor identified innocent, The Geek Squad, Lush and Method as companies that deliver totally on their functional product benefits.

Like many, Taylor loves the taste of innocent products, especially the ‘strawberry and banana one’. He’s even been lucky enough to visit ‘Fruit Towers’, innocent’s HQ in W6, and can confirm that there is plenty of sausage to go with the sizzle.

Once you have a substantial sausage in place, then spinning the sizzle follows more naturally, and innocent is no exception, with its ‘Enjoy By’ best before date on lids, its ‘Buy One, Get One Tree’ promotion and its support of Help The Aged with ‘The Big Knit’ initiative and 400,000 little knitted hats!

Taylor cites that the one ever-present ‘variable’ in all these successful ‘sausage’ companies is the presence of in-house creative teams, which ensure a consistent tone of voice, delivered in a fresh and relevant way, everyday. Innocent is particularly good at this, marrying perfect product performance with wonderfully executed copy.

Many brand managers have, however, come unstuck trying to emulate the innocent brand by writing ‘insert some innocenty-style copy here’ on their design briefs, when in truth their sausages just aren’t up to it.

The infamous ‘revolving door of marketing’ doesn’t help the sausage-sizzle balance. Rapid promotion demands making impressions quickly, drawing brand managers understandably towards the sizzle, and a brand built on spin rather than substance.

Other useful points raised and questions posed:

  • ask yourself as brand owners, what made our brand famous and are we still delivering on it?

  • always strengthen and grow the core rather than being distracted by new extensions (love Snow White and avoid the Seven Dwarves!)

  • the unofficial proposition behind the Lynx Effect is ‘get sprayed, get laid’

  • would James Bond, the icon of ‘British Cool Under Pressure’, ever have a tattoo?

My one query: why no sausages for delegates?