We preach many times that companies and brands compete on what we call “table stakes,” what you have to have to even play in the game but don’t determine preference.

For banks, that can mean marketing free checking, many ATMs and friendly employees. Yet, those are not reasons for target audiences to choose because those are what you have to be a bank. All banks say that.

large_JIMMY-JOHNS-3-3-LONJimmy John’s has based a brand on a kind of “for the people” brand where the customer is king. “So fast you’ll freak,” it says, getting sandwiches out for the business person quickly during a weekday. And holding promotions like today’s sandwiches for $1 in the Chicago area.

Normally, I’d be saying this is playing on table stakes: Price and, as Jimmy John’s had done in the past, service. Others talk about price. We all have heard Subway’s low prices – “5 dollar, foot long.” Which means it shouldn’t create preference.

In this case, however, Jimmy John’s has more permission from the mindset of the consumer to play on price because its brand is more about who the customer is when they choose Jimmy John’s: Someone who wants something quick and easy, and out the door.

Handing over a dollar for a sandwich seems to do just that. (Though, I wonder about the lines out the door we’ll see today.)

For competitors like Subway, who promise a delicious sandwich (another table stake, because who wants a sandwich that tastes bad?), they don’t have the same amount of permission.

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