“Monday 5 Things”™ ….. Business Brilliance …..

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Photo © D. Paul Graham, “Upriver Economy”, Savannah, 2023

“Monday 5 Things”™ ….. Business Brilliance …..

The world is fraught with uncertainty and technological change continues at a frantic pace. Businesses are having a hard time finding good employees (or any employees for that matter) to show up at the office. The price of gas, eggs, and anything else consumable is increasing each month. Hollywood writers and actors are on strike. The UAW is on strike. The US has committed $1,900,000,000 to the Ukraine in their time of need. Lahaina residents were given $700 each (no commas are missing in that number) in their time of need. And, gasp, the Barbie movie has been banned in Vietnam because of a map shown briefly behind said character. What a couple of weeks this has been! As we start a fresh week, this morning’s M5T focuses on some lighter business brilliance as a distraction from the mess out there.

1.“Doubled Down”.

In the early 1900’s, Henry Ford doubled worker salaries and cut their workdays down an hour. This move was revolutionary at the time, immediately increasing productivity, reducing worker turnover, absenteeism dropped, and the quality of applicants improved. No word on how current Ford management would respond today with the reduction in hours.

2. “Pele Pact”.

In 1968, Adidas convinced Mexican Customs officials to confiscate all Puma shoes from Olympic athletes and the “sneakers war” was started. At the 1970 Mexican World Cup, Puma paid Edison Arnates do Nascimento, also known as Pele, $120,000 to tie his shoes. Just before the match started, Pele asked the referees for a moment. With cameras focused on Pele at center pitch, Pele very-very slowly tied his Puma shoes. The world watched, and Puma won the next round against Adidas in the sneakers war. Oh… and Brazil went on to beat Italy 4-1. GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!

3. “Corey Hart Effect”.

In 2010, Oakley Sunglasses got an estimated $41 million in free TV marketing by giving 35 pairs of Oakley sunglasses to protect the eyes of the Argentinian miners before they were brought to the surface after being trapped underground for 69 days. Live coverage (and endless news replay loops) of the miners coming to the surface clearly showed Oakley sunglasses to the global TV audience. People either loved or hated the move by Oakley. Many found the marketing initiative polarizing.

4. “Pump it Up”.

In the late 70’s a small company named Minnetonka hit the big time by selling its liquid soap “Soft Soap”. Larger companies tried to imitate the product and cut Minnetonka out of the market. Minnetonka’s owner, Robert Taylor responded by buying every plastic pump available from every manufacturer to cover 2 years of production and in turn captured the liquid soap market. In 1987, Colgate bought Minnetonka for $65 million on a tax-free basis. That’s tax-free about $176 million in today’s dollars. Taylor retired with very clean hands and a large bank account.

5. “Line Free”.

Spanx founder Sara Blakely started the company in 2000 at 27 years of age with her last $5,000. After multiple rejections from buyers for her line of Spanx hosiery that she was selling out of her Decatur Georgia apartment, Blakely took a Neiman Marcus buyer into a fitting room to personally model a before and after showing of the hosiery. Three weeks later, Spanx was on Neiman shelves. In October 2021, Blakely sold a majority of the company to the Blackstone Group, that tightly shaped the company’s value at $1.2 billion. Blackstone’s investment team was all female and has an all-female Board of Directors with Blakley as Executive Chairwoman. Since then, Blakely goes into change rooms alone.

Here’s to a week of brilliance in whatever your business is.

© 2023 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

For over 11 years, D. Paul Graham has published “Monday 5 Things” ™, also known to readers as M5T.

You can reach Paul by email at dpg@imagegraham.com