September 4, 2013, by Malvika Johal
Icing on the Cake…
Written by Steve Miller, (Management Studies 2010)
I wish I could develop a business model and strategy to make money from cliche company motto’s and marketing terms. I’d be as successful as Roman Abramovich. I was on the train, sat opposite a well spoken entrepreneur. He was on his Macbook talking to somebody through the medium of the Internet. “I know everyone says this but… our customers are our brand.” he said. This is my pet hate. They have obviously made no effort to think outside the box. Not only are they not interested in thinking creatively, they seem to be insistent in reducing the box in size.
I appreciate and understand that the term “think outside the box” in itself is a business and marketing cliche. The irony is that it is for this reason that I am actually using it to promote “thinking outside the box”.
This week I was drawn into reading about a story which gathered pace quickly and turned into a media and social explosion overnight. A purely accidental but genius PR stunt which resulted in a small cake business receiving many more orders in just 24 hours than they had in the entire previous 2 years. Chris Holmes, otherwise known as Mr Cake, decided to give up his full time job at Stansted Airport in order to spend more time with his family and to devote more time to his cake business. Nothing unusual here. What was unique however, was the way Chris handed in his resignation. Instead of the usual formal letter of resignation, Chris decided that it would be a nice idea to do something unique, something that should not only encourage his peers to remember him but something which could potentially turn into a few cake orders from his soon-to-be ex colleagues. Chris’ idea was to write his letter of resignation on a cake.
By chance, one of Chris’ colleagues enjoyed the idea and took a photo to share on her Twitter account. In Chris’ wildest imagination, he could not have expected the attention this drew to him and his business. Within hours, “MrCake” trended worldwide on Twitter and Google Plus. The story was picked up by most international media and news corporations. It was featured on television news channels such as BBC News, Sky News, ITN, Fox News & more. The story was added to some of the largest websites in the world including BBC.co.uk, DailMail.co.uk, Guardian.co.uk, HuffingtonPost.com and Time.com. Traffic to the Mr Cake website was so high that the server went down. Requests to place orders came from all over the world and the ‘icing on the cake’ for Chris was that orders completely went through the roof.
The moral of the story? Put some real effort into your branding exercises. Don’t just say that you think outside the box; Actually do it!
Steve Miller, Managing Director,The Workplace Depot http://www.theworkplacedepot.co.uk
I couldn’t agree more, Steve. Every time I am in a meeting and one of these cliches emerges (which is quite often) my focus shifts from what the speaker is saying to the way he or she is saying it. Waiting for the next cliche is like waiting for the next small bomb to go off.
I sometimes wonder if all of this is a function of everyone talking about business these days (just look at all the “business” blogs) but so few people seem to be actually doing it.