Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Numbers & Psychology

The marketing position within the C-suite is notorious for fast turnover. Whitler at Forbes describes the position as "The 'Disposable' CMO".

So what is it that sets certain individuals apart? In the words of Rob Malcolm, Executive in Residence at McCombs School of Business, these individuals are "grounded in the numbers and inspired by the psychology." It is the ability to switch between the left-side of their brain (logical, rational, process-oriented) to the right-side of their brand (creative and emotional).

Marketing is moving this way too. Research validates the use of story telling - it is easier to remember, and thus more effective than data alone. (Another example of the shift from rational [data] to emotional [stories].) Some of the best stories that I have seen include Dove and Zales. Watch them below...

These examples both bring the customer along the journey and through the story, tugging on emotions. Really effective, if you ask me. On a [somewhat] related note, Zales made a "Zombies" version of the commercial which I find entertaining.

So you might be asking, what is the takeaway that I'm trying to get at? "grounded in the numbers and inspired by the psychology" ... this is the type of marketer that I hope to be one day.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Secret Sauce 2.0

When I studied abroad in college I learned a simple go-to recipe for salad dressing. It has only seven ingredients and no exact measurements. It's great on salads and pretty much anything else! When I came back from my semester in Italy I began making this dressing for my roommates - it was an instant hit and always in our fridge! Thus, when I graduated early I made sure to pass it forward. I wrote the recipe down for my friends and I even recorded a how-to video! (I am not kidding.)

Unfortunately, six years ago, during the making of the first video we had some technical errors and the video wasn't completely recorded. That's why when my college roommates came to visit me in Austin earlier this month, I was again inspired to record the making of "Caitlin's Secret Sauce"!

Now, I'd like to share with you, Caitlin's Secret Sauce version 2.0 (a.k.a. version "Grad School").

  1. Start by adding your extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I prefer this in a 2:1 ratio, respectively.
  2. Don't worry about following an order for everything else. You'll have to add in:
    1. 3/4 clove of garlic, minced
    2. Salt
    3. Freshly ground pepper
    4. Lemon juice
    5. Dijon mustard
  3. Mix everything together with a fork. Taste and adjust accordingly.
It's super tasty! If you have a chance to try it please let me know. Also, if you tend to prefer sweeter dressings, you could easily put in honey or some sugar to sweeten things up!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blogging Again with Sausage, Peppers, & Onions

Hello blog-o-sphere! Is it still called that? I cannot believe it has been nearly TWO YEARS since I've last posted. There were many times in that period when I considered getting back on the blogging-bandwagon but for various reasons those moments of inspiration never translated into action. Well, now I'm back and to catch you up as quickly as possible...
  1. I got married!
  2. We moved to Austin, TX!
  3. I started my MBA program at McCombs School of Business at UT-Austin
  4. My husband left consulting and doesn't have to travel for work anymore :)
  5. I interned in NYC over the summer, where my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary
I still love to cook, but I don't bake as much because we tend to eat low carb at home. I still love to craft, though I haven't had a lot of time to satisfy this urge. I did become a professional painter and sold a number of acrylic paintings, mostly of silhouettes of fellow trapeze artists. I also became the female quarterback for the MBA coed flag football team and threw the game-winning touchdown pass in our last game this season!

On to food...

Last night I made us a version of sausage and peppers that combined three or four different recipes, along with a little improvisation with ingredients! It came out really great and I wanted to share the cooking techniques here. If you try it, please let me know what you think! I love feedback. 

  • For this dinner I used four Italian pork sausage links; two mild and two spicy. Take a large skillet with a high lip, put the sausage links in the pan and add one inch of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
  • While the sausages are cooking: 
    • Slice half of a large yellow or sweet onion
    • Slice a whole green bell pepper
    • Chop three cloves of garlic (*See note below!)
    • Dice two tomatoes
  • Drain the sausage, add a little olive oil to the pan, then poke the links with a fork on both sides (careful because the juices will squirt out and burn you!), lower the heat to medium and turn the sausages so both sides get a nice crisp. Remove sausages from pan.
  • Keeping the sausage juices in the pan, add in the peppers and onions. Saute them for a few minutes, then add in the garlic, along with some basil and oregano (I sprinkled in dried spices, maybe a tablespoon each), season with salt and pepper.
  • Let this all cook for a few minutes, once things start sticking to the bottom of the pan keep an eye on it for another minute, then - wait for it - pour in some red wine! This was a great addition I had not done previously. I used a Zinfandel that was already open, but any heavy red would do great. The wine will deglaze the pan and let you scrap up all the tasty bits!
  • Now, slice those sausage links on the bias (I cut each link into three pieces) and put them back into the pan. Let it all simmer together for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to low bowls and sprinkle with parmesan to serve. Mangia!
We loved this recipe and hope you will to! 

*Note: Chopping the garlic was key! Last year in a cooking class I learned that chop/dice/mince, etc. all have measurements! I typically cut my garlic really small to almost a mince but when you cook it at high heat it will toast (and burn) pretty quickly, which takes away a lot of the awesome garlic flavors. When you cook at a high heat, you'll want to cut your garlic larger, at a chop or a large dice. The garlic flavor from only three cloves in this meal was amazing because I had chopped it larger than I typically do. For those that are interested, this post from The Kitchn does a great job covering the nuances of verbiage you're likely to come across in recipes!

Today I'll leave you with some words of inspiration, in honor of my friend Nicole, from Audrey Hepburn...
"I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. 
I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. 
I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles."
Nicole is battling breast cancer and yesterday had lots of love and support from friends and family at the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure in Austin. I was not able to join the race in person but supported Nicole in spirit! Recently many MBAs wore our #NicolesBreastFriends shirts to school to rally support and drive donations for the team -- what a success! We love you, Nicole. Kick cancer's butt!