Monthly Archives: March 2010

The Ten Plagues of Business

A Seder table setting

As you might have noticed, I took a day off from writing yesterday in honor of Passover. As we’ve discussed before, I really enjoy this holiday for a number of reasons. This year, I’ve been thinking in particular about a portion of the Seder that deals with the last straw. Yep – the plagues sent to convince Pharaoh to “let my people go”. You can almost hear Tony Soprano delivering the lines – “you don’t wanna know what’s gonna happen, capisce?  Be that as it may, the plagues got me thinking about some of the things that we inflict upon ourselves and our businesses. Continue reading

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Killer Kat

Have you heard about what’s going on with Nestle and Greenpeace? Interesting article this morning about it and I don’t exactly know where I come out on this. Maybe you can help!
The folks at Greenpeace have targeted Nestle over the company‘s use of palm oil in the Kit Kat bar because of

Nestlé’s purchases of palm-oil from an Indonesian company that Greenpeace International says has cleared rain forest to establish palm plantations.

Nestlé says it had already decided to stop dealing with the firm, which supplied just 1.25% of the palm oil Nestlé used last year. It says it bought only a tiny fraction of the firm’s output, so any impact was negligible, and that it is working toward buying only environmentally sustainable palm oil.

OK, so how much is too much, right?  Apparently, the Greenpeace folks think any is too much.  But that’s not what intrigues me here.  This is:

The difficulty with social media, says Ms. Backes, is “to show that we are listening, which we obviously are, while not getting involved in a shouting match.”

She’s a Nestle spokesperson and she’s reacting to the fact that Nestle’s Facebook and Twitter outposts are being inundated with protesters.  The company is trying to respond responsibly via social media but is getting shouted down. Of course, your instinct is to take down the bad comments or prevent additional posts but that changes the nature of the conversation, making it a monologue.  On the other hand, if the protesters are totally wrong and are overwhelming Nestle’s ability to correct each incorrect post, what should they do?

I don’t have an answer.  It’s easy when it’s a handful of disgruntled consumers but what if it’s thousand of organized protesters who aren’t letting the facts get in the way of their story?

What would you do in Nestle’s shoes?

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As usual, we have a food theme here on a Friday. Specifically, it’s about something that I hope catches on here as it did in England, and that’s Jamie Oliver’s campaign to get us all eating better. As he says on his website:

Jamie’s challenge was to see if he can get a whole community cooking again. He worked with the school lunch ladies and local families to get everyone back in the kitchen and making tasty meals with fresh ingredients – no packets, no cheating. He’s started a Food Revolution: to get people all over America to reconnect with their food and change the way they eat.

Here’s the problem with that, and it’s a good lesson for business as well. Continue reading

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