New and… well, definitely not improved


Went to make something quick for lunch today. Opened the packaging… things seemed different… and then I saw some confirmation on the box…


Lettering scrawled along the name on the label. New recipe.

Was absolutely not the same. In fact, almost yuck.

I bought a couple of boxes, so chances are the over the next two or three weeks, when I need lunch in a hurry, I’ll be trying it again. Perhaps today was the outlier, and things will be different. I doubt it. Chances are good I’ll be dropping this item from future impulse shopping decisions.

In general, it’s not a big deal. I make sandwiches for lunch and have even been known to break out some cereal. I’m not lacking options when it comes to fast and simple meals, so one or two frozen items taken out of the possibilities list might even mean I find some healthier alternatives. But it does go to show just how often a company ends up tinkering with a product only to mess everything up.

There’s a joke out there that you’ve probably heard. Basic idea that it’s built upon is that if something is new it can’t be improved, and if something is improved it can’t be new, so pick one.


But not worth investing a ton of discussion on. Marketing teams have far more information and power than any of us do as individuals. If they want to claim better and different and… yes… new and improved, that’s just fine with me. Doesn’t change my day, and on its own as an advertising campaign it probably doesn’t change my purchasing habits. Instead, what frustrates me is when those teams (and more accurately, those companies) seem to forget me. Because that will change my decisions about what to buy.

More to the point… when you’re known for delivering a certain product, your primary focus probably should be on delivering that product.

Yes… fine… expand the line. While I may not be a fan of almost any of the various Oreo experiments, as long as the classic and Double Stuf are available, I’m good. (Well… classic when I’m looking for them. Double Stuf for Terry. But yes, when Terry’s happy, that matters to me.) Put those two styles on the shelves, don’t mess with them, and they can make all of the cherry peanut butter cola apple pie limited runs that they wish.

And… of course… make things better when you can.

But I can’t possibly be the only one that’s seen companies change a product, and not only felt the result was a disaster after the fact, but before it was even released found myself saying (my words): “Well, that’s just a horrible idea.”

(Can I?)

Several years ago, a member of senior management at a place where I worked made a decision about how we served customers. His instructions were to basically stop focusing on extra things for the people that were coming to our property. In his view, they were coming already and we needed to get in touch with the people that weren’t coming. He wasn’t around much longer… even without deeper details you might understand that our regulars quickly felt unappreciated and stopped coming, while the costs of getting new people in the doors with those extras for them greatly outweighed the immediate impact of their spending.

Know yourself.

Might be the best two words you can give to anyone that wants to be a professional… that wants to make a sale… that wants to find success.

Know yourself.

Recognize what you are and what you do well, and build on that. Use it as a strong foundation for the future. (Tear it apart to start again at your own risk.)


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