What Claims Do You Make?

Greetings.  By now, most of us know about the health benefits of chocolate.  And some of us have even convinced ourselves that a diet filled with chocolate and red wine is a sure fire way to live past 100.  Though new research at Boston University suggests that genetics might have a bit more to do with it.  But before our friends at General Mills get a bit too excited (in marketing terms) about one of their newest products it might be helpful to do a reality check because some foods and offerings aren't quite as remarkable as they appear to be.

First, let me admit that I'm a big fan of this Minneapolis-based international food company and many of its brands.  I eat the original Cheerios, Wheaties, and Total many mornings, and often keep a supply of Nature Valley granola bars at my desk in case I need a quick snack.  I also enjoy many Progresso soups, Cascadian Farm organic vegetables, Yoplait yogurts, and an occasional pint of Haagen-Dazs ice cream–especially dark chocolate, chocolate chocolate chip, and chocolate peanut butter.  Seems like a pattern there.  And I don't eat Lucky Charms because I have a strict policy against eating any food that's a color not found in nature.

But Chocolate Cheerios as a healthy breakfast choice might be stretching it just a bit.  Though I was more than slightly curious this morning when my wife Lisa, in her desire to enhance my well-being and support my chocolate addiction, placed a box of "New!" and "Whole Grain Guaranteed" Chocolate Cheerios on our breakfast counter.  As you can see below, the box is attractive and encouraging to those of us who have placed chocolate at the top of our personal food pyramids.  It indicates that Chocolate Cheerios are "The Perfect Balance" and "May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease*."  With a nice little asterisk suggesting that "Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.  Chocolate Cheerios cereal is low in fat (1g), saturated fat free and naturally cholesterol free."  Which kind of means that it won't hurt you to eat them, but will they really make you healthier?

Which got me thinking about all of the claims that companies and organizations make to those they serve, employ, and collaborate with.  World-class companies like General Mills.  And how many of them sound a bit better than they really are. And, how powerful it is when we make a claim that matters and deliver on it. 

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We win in business when we offer something that is too good to be true and is true at the same time.  What bold claims will you make today? And will they be wrapped in a tasty package covered with value or fine print?

Cheers and have a tasty and healthy weekend ahead!  

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