By Rich Bond
My personal observation is that many people are afraid to make controversial recommendations because they fear rejection and retribution.
When I was at Seagram, I worked for over six months on a project analyzing why sales had dropped by 50% or more on some key brands in the New York market.
As my support staff and I dug deeper, the data pointed to only one possible conclusion: The brand sales losses were related to a change in the ethnic makeup of the market.
In the Bronx, which had become 80% Black and Hispanic, sales were down almost 80%. In Staten Island, which remained largely white, sales were down less than 20%. A similar relationship existed within the other boroughs.
Our conclusion was that Seagram had to initiate ethnic advertising programs.
I was told the Bronfmans (the family that owned Seagram) felt ethnic advertising would diminish our brands’ images and that I would be FIRED for my recommendation.
Yet, the study was presented, and the recommendations implemented. I was promoted shortly thereafter.
Have you ever made a controversial recommendation? What was the result?