Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

I awoke this morning to the smell of cinnamon and spice, chocolate, apples and a myriad of other delicious odors melding into a cacophony of delicious scents I could almost taste. I leapt out of bed with the vigor of a much younger man the moment I realized what was happening. Today was ‘Test Kitchen’ day—and next to Thanksgiving, it’s my favorite day of the year! On Test Kitchen day, Mrs. Winston rises before dawn to test her new Christmas cookie recipes. Since she participates in numerous bakes sales, cookie exchanges and gives holiday cookie baskets to all of our neighbors and friends, my wife is always on the look out for the next big cookie recipe and today is the day she puts them to the test. I look forward to it because my job is simple—I smell, taste and eat every cookie she bakes.

Not every recipe is a success of course. I still remember the ginger-carrot bars that tasted like Thai food, and not in a good way. The carob-flaxseed brownies were a miss—but I give her points for trying to make a healthy treat that tasted good. Those missteps are eclipsed by the success of her triple fudge peanut butter brownies, chocolate shortbread and caramel apple-betty cookies that have become favorites. I’ve been skipping dessert for two weeks in order to prepare for this day. I’ll probably eat 2-4 dozen cookies before noon! It’s a tough job, but I’m up for the challenge.

This year promises to be a good one for new recipes and I look forward to sampling persimmon bars, pumpkin crunchies and chocoholic dream cookies. It is a glorious day indeed and reminds me of the value of trying new things, branching out and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. And not just in the kitchen, but in all areas of life—especially when it comes to marketing your business. Of course, not every promotion works—for every double fudge coconut crunch bar, there may be four garlic banana cream cookies—but if it weren’t for trying new recipes, the sublime taste of a lavender milk chocolate bar would never cross your lips. You get my drift?

When it comes to creating promotional plans for your company, try thinking beyond chocolate chip cookies and lemon bars and give them something to really chew on. Sure you can give away t-shirts, coffee cups and pens—those things are all great, but why not try something out of the ordinary and put your logo on a more memorable promotional product…like a Light Bulb Walking Winder. You’ll definitely hit a homerun in the creativity department and it may just become a favorite. You’ll never know unless you test it out.

Well, I’ve got work to do in the kitchen, so until next time, remember, “to bake a great cake, you’ve got to break some eggs.”