Here’s How Making a Great Chocolate Cake Engages Much Like Good Nonprofit Marketing

Here's How Making a Great Chocolate Cake Engages Much Like Good Nonprofit MarketingBalderdash, you say. What ever is she talking about? Too long a long weekend, perhaps?

Nope, just inspired by my newly-discovered expert on social networking tools — Chris Brogan. The guy’s fantastically insightful, imaginative and (most critically) realistic. I recommend you add his blog to your reading list so you understand the options social networking wise and improve the impact of what your doing and/or get some strong direction on how to start or change course.

Anyway, last week Chris wrote about cake. Baking a cake. Now, I’m not much of a cake eater, but baking my daughter Charlotte’s birthday cake is one of my favorite rites of spring. So Chris’ analogy about the impact of baking a cake the old fashioned way, vs. just using a mix vs. using a "nothing to add" mix  hit me hard.

Chris reminds us that when cake mixes were "improved" so users no longer had to add two eggs and water, sales plummeted. The experience became too much like buying a cake.

When the makers pulled it back so that people added two eggs and the water, sales rocketed back up. It turned out that adding the eggs made people feel more involved, part of the process.

When your media feels too complete, people don’t feel like they’re participating. [Let them make cake.]

I’d push Chris’ conclusion even a bit further — make sure your organization is having a conversation (most of the time), rather than lecturing. Because interaction is a key ingredient in effective nonprofit marketing, just like a homemade cake is always better than store bought.

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Nancy Schwartz on February 19, 2008 in Nonprofit Communications, Recommended Resources, Social Networking | 1 comment
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  • Thanks so much for the thoughtful commentary, Nancy. I like your idea of the conversation being more important than the lecture. Though I sometimes fall into the lecturing trap, I try hard to keep things on the even keel.
    I’m grateful for your thoughts.

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