Why is $10 OJ So Tasty?

I had the opportunity to have breakfast at Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien during a recent stay. It really was quite tasty.

The prices, well… It’s Le Parker Meridien. Will put it this way – A standard omelette will run you about the price of a chicken dinner entree at a 4-star restaurant.

I had the blueberry pancakes (pictured above) – they were priced comparably, and they were amazing! And there was ‘unlimited’ orange juice – albeit freshly squeezed orange juice… for $9 bucks a pop. But the orange juice- was amazing!

Were those pancakes and juice REALLY worth $40?

Does part of our brain tell us – if I’m going to pay almost $10 for orange juice, my tongue is going to detect every slight nuance of velvety citric-sweet goodness? Most people don’t yearn to say – ‘I wasted $9 on orange juice and it sucked’.

Price can actually have a direct impact on our enjoyment of a product – despite how it may look or taste. Wine is a product whose price can range from one to six digits for a single bottle. There are certainly nuances across each varietal and vintage, but those aside, there happens to be a study that has directly linked a consumer’s enjoyment of a bottle of wine to his or her perception of how expensive the wine is.

I’ve got to give credit to Norma’s – clearly there is power in the assertion of pricing. You could probably go three doors down to a hole in the wall takeout cafe on 56th St. and get an order of blueberry pancakes and a carton of orange juice for the same price as that ‘bottomless’ glass.

But… it’s Norma’s. They have a $1,000 caviar-covered omelette called the Zillion Dollar Frittata . If you are visiting NYC from, say, Dubai, have a little bit of money and a lot more ego, maybe you’re going to say – heck yeah, I’m going to spend $1,000 on an omelette at the storied New York institution Norma’s just to tell people I can!!!

Marketers in the luxury business, whether hospitality or durable goods, are masterful in creating intangible value that makes every penny spent on $10 OJ or a $10,000 bag justifiable. It could be helping customers relish in the experience of sipping orange juice in a legendary New York institution, or giving them the comfort of knowing they’re purchasing a bag made of the butter-soft leather of baby sheep who have been smothered in La Mer moisturizer from birth (that’s hyperbole… I hope).

Simply having the gumption to throw out an astronomical price paired with an intriguing product story, is part of the secret sauce that makes some willing to pay a premium for one brand versus another.

Pricing is an art and a science… and, admittedly, a struggle for some. As I’ve spoken to more people who are in the consulting business, their biggest challenge is pricing – and making sure they’re communicating and being paid their worth.

What do you think? Do you instinctively feel that something is ‘better’ just because it’s more expensive?


Welcome to The Squeeze!


Hi there!

It’s Alliah.  Welcome to the Squeeze, presented by Lemonade Stand Limited (technically, me again).  Hope you’ll find this more than mildly enlightening.  Roughly 2x per month I’ll be popping into your inbox and on my blog with musings from yours truly.

As most of you know, I’ve recently begun peddling my brain as a marketing consultant.

Is it amazing?? Everything that I’ve dreamed it would be??? Mmm, sometimes!

The flexibility is paramount.  The pay ebbs and flows.

But at the end of the day, my brain gets a workout, and my soul is in tact. Two very good signs.

So, what do marketing consultants do?  I’ll be honest with you.  For me, it depends on the day and the client.  I’m a bit of a… specialized generalist.  I could be developing a positioning for a product or a vision for a brand one day, developing brand partnerships another, interviewing consumers, or even designing a social media graphic (I keep it pretty simple ;).  The brands I’ve been working with are small and growing and their needs change constantly.  It keeps me on my toes.

But what I’ve realized that I truly enjoy most is understanding consumer behavior. Chatting with people about why they do what they do and understanding how that translates into an actionable insight is FUN! I could do it all day! For free…

…ok, let’s not go that far.

That being said, I’ve decided to pair one of my kind-of-secret loves (writing) with my love of people and understanding what makes them tick.

So, The Squeeze will cover ‘Refreshingly Honest’ observations and insights that I’ve noticed in my life, my career, and how they affect consumer behavior.  I’ll cover a variety of topics, but frankly, my favorite part is just bringing light to the BS that goes overlooked and underreported.

Stay tuned, and thanks for reading… or better yet, passing along (wink, wink, hint, hint).