Tagged: learn-to-cook-to-learn

Fifty (ii)

“Most of the schools raised the funds needed, and then we fitted out the kitchens and got the press along of course to take photos and cover the story. It went down very well in the local press as you can imagine, and got some pick-up in home magazines and the trade press too.”

“What about the teachers?” I asked.

“Ah, we picked schools with teachers already qualified in cooking, or home economics or domestic science or whatever they called it. Otherwise we’d have got the kit and it would have just sat there with no-one to put it to use.”

“And did it get used? What happened then?”

“Yes, we followed the schools’ progress for a bit. We went back a year later to get the press involved again, but you can’t do that a second time, so we lost visibility after that.”

“Marcus couldn’t tell me much about it when I asked him earlier.”

“No, well I guess not. He wasn’t in marketing or PR.”

Yvonne and Michelle looked at each other, and both scrabbled to say much the same thing.

Yvonne: “Uh-oh. I see where this is going. You’re implying this was – what’s that phrase you use – lipstick on a pig.”

Michelle put it another way: “It looked good, but it wasn’t necessarily informed by the values of the company; it didn’t sit at the heart of the business.”

“It didn’t come from the heart of the business it seems,” I added. “The way you tell it, Steve’s kid was the inspiration, not Attenzi. But funnily enough I think it is the kind of thing that could come from the heart of the business; live at the heart of the business. I’m guessing that’s partly why Steve shaped it that way, but he was always going to be foxed in the long run if this wasn’t central to business. I mean, for newspaper column inches to determine as and when something fizzles out…!”

“And it’s just as well that the Lorenz Capital partner wasn’t sales led,” Sarah commented. “I don’t recall there being any significant sales uplift during that time.”

“How much can we sell lipstick for?” Yvonne replied.

Fifty (i)

I’d ask Marcus (COO) about the learn-to-cook-to-learn campaign and he’d shrugged. He hadn’t had anything to do with it, and couldn’t really recall much about it in detail. Speak to Yvonne, he said.

Sarah (CFO), Michelle (Marketing) and Yvonne (PR) were meeting about some budgeting issues, and I asked them to buzz me when they were done. I had thought to chat with Michelle and Yvonne about the old PR campaign but in our new spirit of inter-disciplinary discussions I decided I might as well include Sarah if she had the time.

“Learn to cook to learn. Tell me about it.”

The campaign pre-dated Michelle, so the question was aimed at Yvonne.

“What do you want to know?” she asked.

“Everything I guess. How did it start? What did it entail? What happened? How did it end?”

“Well it spanned 2005 to 2007 I think. I wasn’t in the PR team back then. I’d moved from HR to marketing in 2004, and didn’t move over to PR until 2010. But while Steve – the guy in charge of PR in those days – led the campaign, it required quite a bit of marketing support and I got involved in some of it.

“I recall one of the partners at Lorenz Capital being a big fan of corporate social responsibility and he’d urged us to do something. I remember that clearly because there was some surprise that a ‘money guy’ was so keen on doing stuff that wasn’t directly sales led.”

Yvonne paused to see if I had any questions, and continued when I didn’t.

“Fundamentally, we wanted to ‘give back’,” Yvonne did the quotes sign in the air as she has the habit of doing, “and make the company look like it cared about our customers, about their children and their futures. If I remember rightly, Steve’s kid was really enjoying cookery classes at school but we found out that only a fraction of kids get taught how to cook. And then the brouhaha about kids’ diets and nutrition was just kicking off, so we linked cooking and nutrition to the fuel for kids to learn anything effectively. Hence learn-to-cook and cook-to-learn, neatly condensed into learn-to-cook-to-learn.”

I nodded.

“We identified around a couple of dozen schools and equipped them with fund raising materials so that we could supply kitchen equipment at cost. Actually, I think we matched the monies raised too.