Chip and I have been emailing back and forth with Jeff Delkin, the owner and cofounder of a startup company called Bambu, which makes lovely housewares out of bamboo and other renewable materials. He’s said a couple of things that inspired us, and Jeff gave us permission to share them with you.

A few months ago, we wrote a column for Fast Company — “Give ‘Em Something to Talk About” — about the importance of using your products/services to start a conversation with your customers. Jeff wrote in several examples of the attempts they’re making to start conversations, and here’s my favorite:

In small mice type, on each of our products, the label carries a simple, small but powerful message, ‘proudly made in China.’ And this alone has sparked numerous conversations. We turned a legal imperative into a statement of purposefulness. People ask, what does this mean? And challenge us, how can you say that? And we’re happy to reply. It carries meaning of care and quality to our customers, and sales team. It is a statement of pride for every craftsperson involved in our product process. That small bit of legalese has become a key differentiating statement of meaning. ‘Why We Can Say Proudly Made in China’ is now a document that demonstrates our transparency, our commitment to fair working conditions, and quality craftsmanship.In light of the current wave of suspicion surrounding China made products, this has become an increasingly important and relevant conversation people are having with us.”

That’s a really nice move — turning a legal necessity into an opportunity for dialogue, and using it even to express a sense of pride in one’s work.

P.S. Jeff also had a great Sinatra Test example. (The Sinatra Test is based on the song “New York, New York” and specifically the line “if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” The idea is that there are symbolic wins that may establish more credibility for organizations than more conventional wins, like revenue, units sold, etc.) Here it is:

“Our products have been used to serve dinner to honor His Holiness, the Dala Lama, late night food at the Golden Globe Awards, and organic wedding cake on Good Morning America. And now, just this week, served on at the Statue of Liberty.”

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