This week we had a staff member release our top selling smoothie recipes onto Facebook. I discovered this when a journalist gave me a call to see if I had a comment. My reaction was very different to what it would have been 20 years ago when I started the businesses. Back then, I would have gone into melt down, thinking our competitors were going to find out our secrets, that customers would no longer come to Boost because they now have our amazing recipes and can make them at home and the dozen other reasons I would have come up with, to put myself in a total state of panic. Today, my reaction was very different. I was a bit disappointed at the fact that a staff member was not loyal enough to keep our recipes secret, but as for the leak itself, I was not really concerned. Why? Because businesses are more than one element. Think of your favourite brand and ask yourself why you like them, of course the product is something you love, but it is also the service, the experience, how you feel when you interact with them and what they do when things go wrong. It is not one element for a business to succeed, but a combination of all things. If you do most things right in the mind of the customer and you continue to listen to them, you will succeed..
People are cynical and in some respects rightly so, there is so much spin in the market place and we have found out over time, that not all is as it seems with the glamour of advertising. We all know that KFCs 11 secret herbs and spices are a secret, but why are they? The Big Mac has a special sauce that they won’t let anyone know what’s in it, why? Well, this leak got me thinking; at Boost we are totally transparent with our Store Managers with regards to every aspect of our business, every store knows everyone else’s sales, so why not be totally transparent to our customers and let them know our recipes? We know we have the service and the brand, so what are we worried about? On top this this, it also covers my latest problem- people questioning how healthy our smoothies are. We have nothing to hide and I am totally proud of every one of our smoothies and juices, but is keeping the recipes secret helping? I thought the worst case scenario would be that people may be inspired to make more smoothies and juices at home, and how can that be a bad thing? So I picked my favourite smoothies and got our marketing team together and filmed the making of my top 10 favourite smoothies, and put them online. Often the best form of defence is attack. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Secrets are such a big part of business, there are code names for acquisitions and mergers, there are special apps to protect secrecy in business, and confidentially contract galore and some of the time it is warranted. But this situation made me really look at our business, how we’ve operated in the past with regards to our ‘best kept’ secrets, and how we can do things better. We live in a world of knowledge and knowledge is very powerful. Maybe it is time to rethink how we do business, maybe that’s the secret to success.