But will it sell more beer?

Photo by Adam Pacanski
Photo by Wil Steward

By Ken Gasque

Have you seen the ABC program Shark Tank? Quite often the ‘Sharks’ have to point out to the entrepreneur that they have lost focus and they need to get back on track. It reminds me of a story about selling cheese. It started in 1941 with Admiral Nimitz in the South Pacific.

Admiral Nimitz took command of the Pacific Fleet on December 31, 1941. Every battleship in Pearl Harbor had been either sunk or damaged. Assuming command at the most critical period of the war in the Pacific, Admiral Nimitz successfully organized his forces to halt the Japanese advance despite the losses from the attack on Pearl Harbor and the shortage of ships, planes and supplies. Admiral Nimitz had a strategic question to focus his command on his goal of victory over Japan. Of every plan or suggestion he asked, “Will it get us to Tokyo?” Tom Daniels served under Admiral Nimitz and heard the question very often and took note of how it focused the staff.

Photo by Pablo Vareala

After the war Tom Daniels got a job with Kraft Foods and remembered the impact the question had on his thinking. He modified the question to “Will it sell cheese?” Kraft Foods is grateful. This is a strategic thinking question. It communicates and focuses on the goal and it makes the listener consider how his actions align with that goal.

When you are communicating, simplicity and repetition are powerful forces–combined they are overwhelming. Asking the question makes you and the listener think. And this question is applicable to any business. If you sell products — “Will it sell more brakes?” If you are in the service business — “Will it help the patient to better health?” or “Will it help our client be more profitable?”

Communicating effectively is challenge number one for most businesses. Our messages are often too complex to be repeated often enough to be make an impression. That is the magic of this question. It’s simple and direct. It focuses on the goal and it’s easy to bring in the conversation.

Try it. Will it sell more beer?

Remember, “We buy with our eyes.” Your label is the most important advertising you can do. Blanco Labels provides innovative design, quality printing on self adhesive labels and the equipment to apply. We believe service is as important as quality and together we will sell more beer.

About Ken Gasque. Ken Gasque is a brand developer, marketing planner and designer. Ken works with small companies and Fortune 500 companies who recognize the need to differentiate their products and services to stand out in a cluttered market. Ken is a highly visual, outside-the-box-thinker on advertising, branding and marketing—his work reflects his belief that “We buy with our eyes.” Ken writes and lectures on his experiences developing brands (good and bad). www.gasque.com