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Lessons From The Apprentice (6.4 – Los Angeles)

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The Candidates

Kinetic: Muna, Kristine, Derek, Marisa, Angela, Jenn, Heidi, Aimee

Arrow: Nicole, Frank, Michelle, James, Carey, Tim, Martin, Aaron, Stefani, Surya


Kinetic is working hard to maintain the unity of the team but then Trump calls and throws a wrench in the works. He asks that a member of Kinetic step up to lead Arrow to a victory. Heidi, the team’s PM thus far steps up and she will go if no one else will. A few others seemingly grudgingly follow her lead and volunteer. With three to choose from the other team chooses Surya who immediately must move out of the mansion and into the tents!

Surya believes he can bring structure to Arrow. He came over with a set of rules: openness, structure, always be better, vision, speed, never stop, etc.. Hmmm. Quite a few rules there.

The Task:

The teams are to create, promote and sell a new version of the El Pollo Loco’s signature item, the Pollo bowl. The team that sells the most wins.

Kinetic Corp:

Kinetic comes up with a new bowl they want to call the Paradise Pollo Bowl. The marketing half of the team, led by Marissa, wants to call it “Bravado Bowl” but Heidi makes an executive decision on the name to keep it. Marissa calls Heidi back several times trying to push the Bravado name, much to the annoyance of Heidi and the other team members.

Kintetic has team members providing samples in the drive through to give customers a chance to try it out before ordering their meal.

Arrow Corp:

Arrow created a Chicken Tortilla bowl which everybody on the team really seemed to like. To promote their new bowl, Arrow brought in some balloons and printed up some in store signage. The team really pushes the new bowl on the customers. Two of the team members were sent out to drum up bulk sales. But with two team members gone the rest of the crew is having a hard time keeping up in the restaurant. The guys do score a victory, however and come back with an order for 22 bowls!

What I Might Have Done:

In food, going safe is almost always going to turn out better. Once you get into exotic flavors you start limiting your audience. I would have gone with something traditional, yet original. The other half of the task is the marketing aspects. I would have printed out coupons for the new bowl and had some of the team members outside passing them out.

The result:

Kinetic pulled in $313.54. Arrow sold $488 and change. Arrow goes on to enjoy the good life in the suite, while Kinetic is left cleaning up after the mess that Arrow left behind. The Kinetic team is not pleased with what they see!

Heidi feels like she is in a bad position because she has to bring two people in with her. She thinks everybody did a pretty fantastic job, with the exception of Marissa. Heidi says she’ll bring in one person from the cashier and another from marketing with her to the boardroom.

Trump has a conversation with the El Pollo Loco executives and they believe this was a task one and lost on marketing.

The Boardroom:

Trump didn’t like the idea of the Paradise Bowl. Sean felt they were not pushing for the sale hard enough at the register. Marissa felt like she had really great ideas that ere ultimately shot down. The other team had a much better marketing plan and Marissa jumped in saying that this is what she wanted. Two chickens on the corner didn’t exactly add up to a marketing plan.

Marissa continues to interrupt any team member expressing their opinion that she is the weak link on the team. Unanimously, the team believes that Marissa is the weakest team member. Heidi chooses Marissa and Aimee to come back with her.

Marissa continues to interrupt and despite the fact that Trump likes her spirit, you can tell he’s getting annoyed with it. Marissa was fired.

Who’s Not Apprentice Material? Frank, James. Today I add Marissa to the list, for no other reason than she doesn’t seem to know how to follow. An important aspect of every good leader is that they can also be a good follower. Knowing when to stop pushing your own ideas and getting in line behind the leader is essential.

Final Four Predictions? Its quite a bit early for this, but I think Heidi really has it going on. Barring a devastating loss on a future task, I think she has a good chance of making it to the final four.

Lessons Learned:

  • No matter how many times you lose, if you have the drive, persistence and determination, you can turn a losing team into a winning team.
  • When losing, you still need to act like a winner. If you act like a lose then most likely you probably are.
  • If you believe in something you need to push for it, but you also need to know when to let it go when you don’t get what you want.
  • Know when to shut up. If you’ve got a good defense then go with it but repeating the same thing over and over again just doesn’t make you look good.

What would you have done?

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

3 Responses to Lessons From The Apprentice (6.4 – Los Angeles)

  1. Here is the biggest mistakes these candidates make ….. They cry to Trump that no one listens to them and that their ideas and shut down. Darling … what you’re saying to Trump right there is that you are not a leader … no one respects you … no one listens to you. Why the hell would you tell your “boss” that everyone else is turning against you??? It’s the worst thing you can say. Stoney, don’t they get it??? I mean c’omon people!!!

    The task was pretty simple. Just sell the new bowl. The most important thing that needed to be done her is…. cross sell the bowl, attract more customers, as well as sell in bulk to close by businesses. The winning team understood it and did a pretty good job.

    Letting people try food in the drive through … I don’t know about that. You better be damn sure that it will be loved by at least 85% of those who try it.

    I think the strategy of selling this bowl to nearby business is excellent. I am surprised it was only 22 dishes. I would assume that by going to 5 to 15 nearby businesses could have made them many more sales.

    The loosing team did not have a marketing / sales strategy. None! Offering the new bowl is just a beginning to this task.

  2. Stoney G deGeyter
    Stoney deGeyter says:

    … And I don’t think that Marissa’s chicken idea would be considered a strategy either. They needed a lot more and Marissa was stuck on a couple of ideas that really added no value. She needed to get past that and market the darn thing.

    You’re right about the drive through. That could almost cause you to lose sales if the product isn’t great, and I don’t think theirs was.

  3. Chris G. says:

    Chickens and a tag line = a gimick, not a strategy. They also failed in the brand development of their bowl. Fast food patrons don’t care about a cutesy, artsy, name like the “Paradise Bowl”. As a marketer you don’t have their attention long enough to pull that crap off. Instead be direct, be literal and relate to their animalistic need for food. Now would they have sold any more by calling it a “Mango Chicken Bowl”??? Probably not because it’s a shit idea in the first place, but had they coupled that with a strong marketing campaign they would have at least had a fighting chance.

    The lunch rush/bulk sale idea was pure genius! Even though the team had to work harder without the other two team members, it really paid off.

    Soon to be gone –
    I think we’ll see the demise of Surya, now that he has gone to the other team. Frank, to me, seems like a 3-way light bulb always stuck on the middle setting.

    Final Four –
    Heidi will be there and even though we haven’t seen much of him I think James will be as well.