When Half a Loaf is Better Than . . . Winging It

When Half a Loaf is Better Than . . . Winging It

In 1960, British designer Kenneth Grange had one of the best opportunities of his career. He was pitching his design for a food mixer to manufacturer Kenwood.

But time was running out and he realised he wasn’t going to be able to finish his full-scale model of the mixer to show
the client.

Rather than postpone the presentation, or go ahead with a rushed and substandard model, Grange simply  made half a model of his prototype food mixer. He then took along a mirror to the presentation, stood his half-model against it and showed off the creation that became the world famous Kenwood Chef.

The moral of this story?

Sometimes it’s better to do half the job really well than do all the job but badly.

The story reminded me of when I was a client of radio, and found I had $5,000 of advertising budget left over at the end of a campaign. Rather than transfer the unspent money to the bottom line, I thought I would try to use the money to land an outstanding deal with a radio station.

I faxed five radio stations (no email in those days) late on a Friday, asking them to send me a proposal for a $5,000 campaign starting the following week – and I indicated that whichever station came up with the best value deal would get my spend.

Interestingly, two stations faxed back proposed schedules within an hour, with template covering letters that included standard information about their stations (audiences, testimonials, etc).

Two stations never got back to me.

The fifth sent me a faxed letter thanking me for getting in touch, but declining to provide a schedule.

Their sales director explained in the letter that he thought it was impossible for his station to do a proper job in the short time I had given them. Rather than come back with something shoddy, he would rather turn down the opportunity but hoped he could work with us in future.

I was immediately impressed.

As much as I was tempted to run with the stations that had replied with great deals, I knew that the sales director of the fifth station was right. I was getting carried away by the hunt for a bargain.

On the Monday, the sales director rang me and asked if he and an account executive could visit us and learn more about the business.

I obliged and it was the start of an on-going relationship with that station that served both parties well.

PHOTO – Simon Scott

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One Response to When Half a Loaf is Better Than . . . Winging It

  1. Enjoyed that Josh…sometimes we stuggle to make eveything perfect. I think things will often evolve and develop. So I love to tell clients. Never let perfect get in the way of better.

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