Monthly Archives: May 2012

Wooden Spoons And Your Business

For our Foodie Friday Fun today I want to share an article about wooden spoons from Fine Cooking magazine.

English: wooden spoon collection in a stonewar...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Really edgy, I know, but since we discussed a simple kitchen implement that can kill you yesterday I thought today we’d lighten up.  The article reviews why a lot of chefs prefer wooden spoons in their kitchens and it got me thinking about business at the same time.

These are the main reasons chefs like them:

  • It’s strong – it can stir thick things without breaking
  • It’s soft – it’s not going to scratch the finish of your cookware;
  • It’s insulated
  • It has a high heat tolerance
  • It’s wood –  it looks nice, and also that it feels nice in the hand

I’d add it’s a natural material although obviously it’s pretty old – probably among the first materials used to make cooking tools.  Which is the business point.

There’s a tendency to throw away older tools and technologies just because they’re old (let’s include tossing some older people in that thinking too).  Often overlooked is that these older solutions might have some significant advantages over newer inventions.  Plastic spoons break or melt even though they’re easier to clean and might release chemicals into your food.  Metal spoons can scratch your pans and need a lot of insulation – leave one in a pot sometime and then pick it up – ouch.

Many businesses get caught up in the rush to the latest shiny object – social media, mobile apps – without thinking about their business goals or the ability of the new thing to do the job without causing other problems.  They toss away the perfectly good wooden spoons they’ve been using only to find that their cooking – branding, marketing – suffers.

We’ve got a lot of wooden spoons along here in the kitchen along with metal, plastic, and silicone.  We also have a dozen different types of knife and various sizes and shapes of pots and pans.  Some are pretty old and some we’ve bought in the last year.  We try to use the one that’s best suited for the task.  That’s how I approach business too – figure out the business objective and work with the tools best suited to accomplish that goal.

Make sense?

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Cuts Like A Knife

I know it isn’t Friday but since we’re heading to the weekend and our Foodie Friday Fun tomorrow, I thought I’d head us in that direction a bit early.

A Kitchen Knife.

A Kitchen Knife. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I came across this article about a bizzare kitchen occurrence and in addition to feeling a need to share it with you all I’m thinking it makes an excellent business point. Let’s see what you think.

This comes out of Kuala Lumpur and is via the Press Trust of India:

In a freak accident, a Malaysian restaurant cook slipped and accidentally stabbed herself to death with a kitchen knife, police said.

Cynthia Tan Kian Hoon, 41, was cooking breakfast when she fell forward, right into a knife she was using. The six-inch knife which she was holding in her hand, pierced into her ribs.

She died shortly thereafter, having cut a main artery.  Tragic, but instructional for the rest of us.  No, the point isn’t to wear non-slip shoes or to use duller knives.  In my mind, it has to do with something I see quite often and maybe you do as well:  people getting hurt (killed!) by the very tools they need to do their work.  Sometimes it’s accidental; more often than not it has to do with someone not understanding how to use the tool in the first place.

Take web analytics.  People regurgitate meaningless data points instead of looking for data to answer actionable business questions.  Then there’s a focus in social media on “likes” and “follows,” not on the quality of interaction or the transactional value of the social exchange.  It’s not limited to the web or to media either.

This was a tragic accident and like most accidents it might have been prevented somehow.  All of us who work with the tools of our trade should spend a few minutes thinking about how the very things that help us make a living can hurt us if they’re misused.  I think we’ll all be surprised by how much of the pain is self-inflicted.

Thoughts?

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Bad Decks And Missing Logic

I saw something yesterday that made me laugh out loud. Unfortunately, it was something that was shown to me as part of a media proposal. It involved a social media campaign and the agency that had created the plan (which I was reviewing for another consultant) was going to use Facebook. Based on the client and their objectives, this was probably not the best place for the media placement but let’s put that aside.

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What made me laugh was the projection of the number of impressions both paid and earned that the campaign would generate. It came out to such a ridiculously high number (as in reaching every person on Facebook hundreds of times each) that it called into question everything in the rest of the presentation as well as the agency’s overall competence.

As I thought about it, I became a little scared and then a lot offended.  It bothered me that an agency who has a pretty good list of clients had moved into social media and was treating it the same as broadcast media.  They should know a lot better.  It made me scared because this is the sort of irresponsible behavior we find all too often in digital.  People become digital or social media experts or SEOs overnight and sell an inferior grade of services to clients who will get lousy results.  How can they invest in this form of marketing going forward when the results weren’t there?

The point is this – whether it’s media plans or budgets or a report on manufacturing, we need to ask simple, logical questions.  Why are we using Facebook when our objective is more geared to the broader web and restrictions in Facebook’s policies will prevent us from activating properly?  Do the numbers they’re projecting make sense (and if we’re really going to reach the audience 300+ times each, maybe we’ve gone too far)?

There were a bunch of other issues in the deck and aside from the numbers my general response was “these guys just don’t get it.”  None of us should be offering off the shelf, cookie-cutter solutions to problems that get more complex every day.  The nature of media is changing – the nature of media planning need to change as well, along with the messages.  You’ve experienced it in your own media behavior – why are you thinking everyone else has remained the same?

You with me?

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