Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Life Changing Cheese - Business Lessons From Everyday Life

People naturally seek to learn about things they are interested in. In my case I am definitely interested in business. I have read numerous books off the Personal MBA reading list, I read business blogs, I listen to business audio books, and I did my undergrad in business management. Although all those sources of information are extremely valuable in developing my own business acumen, I am amazed at how some of the most valuable business lessons are encountered when you least expect them during your daily life.

This past weekend a few friends, my wife, and I went up to Portsmouth, New Hampshire for the day. Portsmouth is definitely a cool little artsy town with plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars. Our couple friends had been there before and were showing us around. We stopped into a quirky shop with tons of kitchen accessories, wine, and other knick knacks (definitely the least manly thing I have ever written). Our friends had mentioned that the place always had wine tastings and that they had this amazing cheese that we "just had to try."

As I approached the tasting area I saw a man behind the table pouring wine and setting up a platter. It was then that the man said something that caught my attention.

“Life changing cheese.”

Wow. What a great line! I am a very passionate person. When I am into something I am really into it. Whether it is hockey, music, my work, business, or playing guitar I am the kind of person who takes things that I am interested in or enjoy and I turn them into passions. For that reason, I am naturally drawn to people who are passionate about what they do. This wasn’t some person who was there to serve a few drinks and cubes of cheese to collect a paycheck. This guy was passionate about what he did and he was good at it.

The man went on to explain how the cheese was made in a cave in England and that the unique conditions gave it the "life changing" taste characteristics. He spoke of how many cases of cheese they sold a week and how they couldn't keep up with the demand. As he spoke I couldn't help but imagine little leprechaun looking dudes working away in a candlelit cave somewhere in the countryside of England. I must admit the cheese was amazing. The man wasn't just selling cheese, he was creating an experience!

As we walked through the streets of Portsmouth I wondered how influenced my friends were by marketing of the man selling the cheese. I wondered whether the cheese was really amazing or if it was just good cheese that was made great by the experience. I wondered how many other people went around telling their friends about "life changing cheese." I wondered how much cheese the passionate cheese peddler sold compared to the emotionless sample distributors at supermarkets. The fact that the "life changing cheese" experience stuck with me and that I put so much thought into a subject like cheese tells me that it was an example effective marketing at its core.

Not only was it a great day amongst friends, it was also a real life lesson in marketing that I will be able to reference moving ahead. How can I create "life changing cheese" in my own endeavors?

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