Uh Oh, SpaghettiOs!

Chef Boyardee is finding noticeable results after starting its "Obviously delicious, Secretly nutritious" campaign. According to parent company ConAgra, consumption of Boyardee products has increased as awareness of its nutritional benefits has grown.

Similar to Kix's long-used slogan "Kid tested, mother approved", the Boyardee campaign is a good example of remembering to appeal to the customer AND the consumer (or, more accurately, what the customer perceives will appeal to the consumer). Companies sometimes get confused marketing products in which the person buying and the person consuming often not the same (such as breakfast cereal or canned ravioli). That Chef Boyardee points to benefits for both the customer (nutrition) and consumer (taste) plays to their advantage.

As far as the whole "don't tell the kids its good for you" element, that has definitely been done before, but it works here because they've been able to make the commercials amusing and not too sappy.

Bonus! Here's an old Chef Boyardee commercial, just for fun.

Goals, Anyone?

I've been thinking a lot about goals lately. I think that everyone at one time or another has been to some sort of training session where there has been a presentation on how to make and meet goals. Personally, I'm a fan of the S.M.A.R.T. method, whereby the goals you set are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Despite mapping my goals out in this way, I still fall short more often than I'd like to admit. So that leads me to an open call for anybody who is reading this: what methods work for you? do you know of any good books about goals? what experiences can you share about goal-setting/achieving?

In my head I've been formulating a possible future business idea surrounding the idea of goals, so I'm hoping to learn everything I can about them. Again, whether you're a regular reader of my blog or some random person whom I don't know, please comment and leave your thoughts!

We All Have Germs

When it comes to improvement in both professionally and personally, we often talk about identifying our weaknesses and turning them into strengths. To me, this always seemed to be much easier said than done. However, as I've thought about this more and more recently, I've really begun to see and believe that such a change can take place.

One example of turning weakness into strength is Howie Mandel. Howie is well known for having mysophobia (an irrational fear of germs). His condition is so severe that he cannot shake hands with people.

At first thought, this condition would seem to be debilitating to anyone's life and career. While I'm sure there are still drawbacks for Howie, he has adapted in a way that has strengthed his brand as a celebrity. Namely, he shaved his head (it makes him feel cleaner) and began giving people fist bumps instead of the more traditional handshake. As a result of his new image, Howie has enjoyed a surge in his "star status".

This is not to say that everyone should shave their heads and start giving more fist bumps. But I think that one thing we can learn from this is that we can all find ways to leverage our weaknesses in order to reinforce ourselves and the brand we portray.

How Does Your Brand Come Across?

I snapped this picture on a sidewalk in Cardiff, Wales. Along my path were tile mosaics of various countries, with illustrations of symbols commonly identified with that country. It was peculiar to me what the U.S. had on its mosaic. On one hand, there was the Statue of Liberty and a bald eagle-- symbols of freedom that all Americans can be proud of. More conspicuously to me, however, were the images of a hamburger, fries, and a dollar sign.

Personally, I do not want to be known for symbols so easily connected to obesity (fast food) and greed (money). Yet, that is how the U.S.'s brand came across (at least to the Welsh). The takeaway from this, at least for me, is to have a greater awareness of how my brand comes across. That way I can focus more on projecting the image that I want to be associated with, instead of something carrying a negative connotation.

The Partnership

As described by Ken Kavajecz, the essence of the Partnership between the UW MBA program and each of its students is for each person to "ask for more than you think you deserve and to give more than you think you owe".

The more I thought about that this week, the more it resonated with me. That kind of environment, when properly executed, could create an avalanche of productivity and innovation. And I think this may have been where I have fallen short at school and work in the past. In past endeavors I've shown up, done what what expected of me, and that was it.

One of the reasons why I am excited for the next two years is because this is one way I hope to break the mold of my past self. By so doing, I hope to reinvent myself as someone who constantly asks for more than I think I deserve (in a good way, I hope), and gives more than I think I owe.

Everybody's Free

"Do one thing every day that scares you."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

This simple idea was planted in my brain as a junior high school student in the 90's by the same guy who told me to wear sunscreen and to respect my elders. While I can't say that I have always adhered to this guideline, something about it keeps recycling it through my memory at certain points in my life.

On Wednesday I started my full-time MBA. Last night, as I was reflecting upon my first two days, I was pondering how I could not only succeed, but thrive in my program and be exceptional. And that's when it came back to me. Do one thing every day that scares you. I have weaknesses that I have been dodging and overlooking for years and I think that now is the time to confront them. Stay tuned as I hope to share success (or failure) stories about how I have extended myself outside of my comfort zone and what result came of it.