Sometimes inspiration comes out of nowhere, like in a bowl of cereal.
I was browsing the CNN business web page this week and saw a story about Twinkies being turned into a cereal. Now remember, it was less than a decade ago that Hostess filed for bankruptcy and the world was forced to go on without Twinkies for a time. Now, with some new thinking, it’s a brand getting headlines again. You know how sometimes (even in this space) you hear about how you can’t remain stagnant? It seems that’s even true for snack cakes that you would think could last for decades even when left stagnant.
This headline was next to another one about how Nestle is crafting some special KitKat bars. And these aren’t just the special flavors you see around in stores, instead they are so special as to cost about $17 a bar. You are paying that price to be able to choose from about 1,500 flavor combinations and get some personalized packaging. So, the bar costs a bit more, but you’re getting an experience that you cannot get elsewhere. Know how sometimes (even in this space) you hear about how you can charge more if you offer a specialized service? That’s even true for chocolate.
Now granted, some of those KitKats’ ability to charge that price has to do with timing and people searching for gifts during the holiday season. For alongside those two headlines was another saying how the Santa Claus business was booming. And sure, if it’s going to have a boom, this is clearly the season for it. But the article mostly speaks of how brick-and-mortar locations are using the presence of Santa to draw in customers by giving them a moment that cannot be replicated by shopping online. Now what was that about offering experiences one could not get elsewhere?
On the surface, none of these sound like world-beater experiences – I mean we’re talking about breakfast cereal, chocolate, and sitting on the laps of elderly gentlemen - but that goes to show that worthy ideas, good ideas, don’t have to be ones that are going to change the world. After all, there’s never a guarantee that those grand ideas are successful either. For remember, even unbreakable windows don’t always live up to their billing.
I think what this means then is that if you have an idea you believe in, believe in it. It can be easy to talk yourself out of something because it’s not new enough, it’s not big enough, it won’t appeal to enough people. Those can be good things to think about, because you need to know what makes what you’re doing different, but they should not have the power to completely dissuade you from something you are passionate about.
When you feel that passion, own it. Even if you worry that it might sound silly, there’s no reason that people can’t grasp onto whimsy, which is going to be the reason most people pick up that Twinkies cereal box. Be who you are, stand by what you love, and don’t be afraid to get people to follow.
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