Some brand stories take a while to find and craft. Some others are just too obvious to ignore. Let me tell you a brand story – nay – a brand LEGEND.
Once upon a time (let’s call the time the 1970s), there was a family of bakers (let’s call them the Dahl family), who made the finest bread in the land (Portland to be exact). The family also had six children, who learned to work at the family bakery from a young age.
One of those kids – Dave – started his adult life down a not-so-good path. He took up drugs and crime and spent roughly 15 years in prison for multiple offenses. But, after prison, he found a new lease on life, making his way back to the family company, where he began to bake again with his brother. Ever the creator, he came up with his own recipe which he nicknamed “Dave’s Killer Bread” and formed a new brand that started at local farmer’s markets and eventually became a very, very big deal. He became a successful entrepreneur, an advocate for second chance opportunities and eventually a millionaire.
Now, the full tale has a few more bumps, but isn’t that story lot more interesting than “We saw an opportunity for a good-tasting, all-natural bread, so we made one?”
Listen, I love Dave’s Killer Bread, and so do a LOT of other people. It’s a brand that has stayed truthful to its story, despite it being off-kilter, and that story has helped create a real cult following. Here are some things I like:
- They are unapologetically themselves
While putting a mustached guitar player and the word “killer” on the front of your package isn’t necessarily textbook, it is instantly memorable. This is rock ‘n roll bread, made by a different kind of baker. It’s not just hippie bread for soccer moms – it has a little bit of edge and fun to it, and that really helps it stick out from a very vanilla crowd. The lesson? If you’re not like everyone else, don’t be like everyone else.
- They stay true to their beliefs on multiple levels
Dave’s Killer Bread believes in creating healthier communities – something anyone with an organic family recipe could claim. But Dave’s stays true to their roots, proudly employing a large number of people with criminal backgrounds, looking for a second chance. It’s great PR, but it’s also something that really feels super authentic and unique to the brand.
- Under new ownership, the brand has kept its rock ‘n roll soul
Dave sold the brand years ago and like any time that happens, there’ve been some slight changes. But I’m very happy to see that Dave’s story and the Second Chance program have stuck around. It’s an easy thing to be tempted to abandon, but the story is what makes the brand so cool.
Be digestible. And thanks.