categories

The Baker, Three Customers and A Nice Old Lady

author

Sterling

date

January 25, 2013

tags

Our Thinking

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I recently read - like every day for the last 16 months - an article about brands needing to do "more with less". I think we all understand that not only do brands have to do more with less, so do agencies. This is the new reality! However, we also need to keep in mind that though the rules may have changed a bit, the game remains the same. To illustrate my point, let's have a story...
The Baker's Morning
One morning a customer walked into the bakery and asked for a fresh baked pie. The baker said no problem. $10, come back in 4 hours. The customer said no problem on the price but wanted the pie in only 2 hours. The baker told the customer the pie needs time to be prepared, properly cooked and cool. It's the process. The customer said he didn't care, he needed it in only 2 hours, couldn't he bake it faster? The baker said he could bake it hotter but it wouldn't be as good as it could be. The customer said fine, they'd be back in 2 hours. They paid and picked up their pie 2 hours later just as promised.

A little later another customer walked into the bakery. The customer asked the baker for a fresh baked pie. The baker said no problem. $10, come back in 4 hours. The customer said no problem on the 4 hours but only had $5. The baker told the customer that's the price. The customer asked if he could have the pie for $6. The baker said the price is $10. Once more the customer tried to negotiate the price up to $7. Finally the baker said, fine. Give him the $7, he'd give the customer what's fair. Come back in 4 hours. They paid and picked up their pie in 4 hours as promised.

That afternoon, a third customer walked into the bakery. The customer asked the baker for a fresh baked pie. The baker said no problem. $10, come back tomorrow morning. The customer said there's only one problem: they needed the pie in exactly 4 hours and the price wasn't a problem. The baker told the customer that the bakery closed in 3 hours and there were other pies yet to be baked for other customers. The customer was adamant they needed the pie in 4 hours. The baker thought a moment and said, OK, he would need to charge the customer extra to get the pie baked on time and move the other pie orders to accomodate the request. $13, come back in 4 hours. The customer begrudgingly paid the baker the extra money and picked up their pie after hours as promised.
The Next Day at the Bakery
The next day when the bakery opened, all three of the customers from the previous day charged in to have a stern word or two with the baker.

The first customer told the baker he was very disappointed! He picked up his pie and when he went to have some of it, the outside of the pie was cooked but the filling in the middle was not. He wanted his money back. The baker calmly reminded the man that he agreed to take the pie 2 hours before its recommended baking time. That's what happens when the process isn't followed, the pie isn't is good as it could be. The customer stormed away mad and vowed to never buy from the baker again.

The second customer told the baker he was very disappointed! He picked up his pie and when he went to have some of it, there was a piece of pie missing! He wanted the missing piece! The baker calmly reminded the man that they agreed to a lesser price and the baker would give  him what was fair. In this case, less money, less pie. If the customer wanted the missing piece of pie it would cost him what one piece cost: $3. The customer stormed away mad and vowed to never buy from the baker again.

The final customer told the baker he was very disappointed! He picked up his pie and enjoyed every delicious bite with his wife, until she found out that the pie cost so much more than the regular price! He was told to come back to the bakery with the last piece of the pie and get the $3 extra back. The baker calmly reminded the man that they agreed to the price and time to meet the man's demand, and the baker was certainly not going to buy back his own pie. The customer stormed away mad and vowed to never buy from the baker again.

After the last man left, a nice old lady walked in. She was one of the baker's regular customers. She asked for a fresh baked pie, laid $10 on the counter and said she'd be back in 4 hours. Just as she was turning to walk away, the baker stopped her to ask if she would like to sample one of the pies just out of the oven. She said she would like that very much and stayed to enjoy the fresh baked piece of pie.
Moral of the Story
The price and size of the pies may change over time, but the bakery, my friends, is the bakery.

Image Source: David Leggett

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