What does Mac & Cheese Have to Do With Your Business?

advertising lessons for entrepreneurs
"To launch a business means successfully solving problems. Solving problems means listening." -Richard Branson

I was at a lecture this week where two ad executives were talking about their award-winning campaigns.

One was for a new commercial for Kraft Mac & Cheese’s new recipe. Yes, the neon pasta in the blue box we all grew up with changed their formula. The other was for a Boost Mobile campaign, the pay-as-you-go cell phone company.

Two very different companies with completely different products and branding.

Yet, as the creatives sat talking about their process and how they came up with their ingenious marketing campaigns, a few similarities struck me.

Both of their successes started as a result of listening to their customers. 

Kraft had overhauled its original mac and cheese recipe to compete in an ever conscious market of organic-this and all-natural-that by removing the artificial flavors, dyes, and preservatives from their original recipe.

The problem? When Kraft customers caught wind of this news, they were up in arms at the possibility of their childhood favorite recipe being altered. They didn’t want a new and improved, “healthier” mac and cheese. 

The solution? Kraft sold their new recipe to the public in old boxes without telling anyone.

They sold over 50 million boxes of mac and cheese before going public and announcing the switcharoo with their new tagline, “It’s changed. But it hasn’t”.

Boost Mobile, on the other hand,  heard complaints from their customers about having fewer polling places during last year's presidential campaign. After digging, Boost found the areas in which their customers lived had unequal access to voting polls or significantly longer lines.

Upon learning this, the advertising creatives that serve Boost Mobile underwent a massive task to create polling stations inside Boost Mobile stores to serve their customers and their community. 

In both cases, the advertising efforts for Kraft and Boost resulted in increased numbers. In order to get those numbers, both companies started out by listening to what their customers wanted.

They weren’t lazy about their listening efforts either. They were diving into social media and spying, er, listening to what their people had to say.

In order to successfully get their “spy” on, both companies had another check mark going for them. They weren’t only listening, but also knew who to listen to.

Both Kraft and Boost are crystal clear on who their customers are. This allowed them to find them online and effectively "spy".

What does this have to do with you?

Whether we run a side hustle or a giant conglomerate of a company, successful messaging and marketing begins with similar foundations. 

If these companies’ successes are anything to go by, it’s all about getting back to basics and building and problem-solving from there. 

What were the basics at play here? Know your people, listen to them, and show them the love.

Here are 3 Business tricks You Can Borrow from Kraft and Boost Mobile:

1. Know your clients and customers, your people, or your “tribe".  Also get clear on who's not a part of your tribe.

Put this into action: Write out who your people are and who they aren’t. Keep this somewhere you can see it.

2. Listen. Once you know who's in your tribe, if you pay attention, often they'll tell you exactly what they want. The question is, are you listening?

We all want to be right (or is that just me?). Sometimes this means not listening very well or only hearing what we want to hear. Other times, we’re listening, but to the wrong people! If they aren’t your customers or potential customers - put those earmuffs on!

Take action: Practice listening to your clients and customers. Find a group your potential clients might hang out in and "spy". 

3. Take this information and tailor your products, services, copy, and marketing. Show your customers the love by showing them you hear them! 

Action Step:  Take a look at your business, where can you infuse more of what your clients are telling you they want?

Now, I’m off to make an old childhood favorite and see if it really does taste the same!

Wishing you your version of success,

ideal client marketing

P.S. Filled out a million worksheets and still feeling stuck on your ideal client? This is something I love helping my private coaching clients get clear on. Click here to learn more about working with me!

P.P.S. Know someone else who might like this blog? I’d be ever so grateful if you shared it!