Often, we lament that companies fail to steal market share because they think inside-out instead of outside-in. They promote what they think is important to them, not what is important to those they are trying to sway.

I bring this up because that was the problem with Campbell Soup on Saturday, when it tweeted a remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day, featuring a SpaghettiO. Campbell’s quickly apologized and took the tweet down after protests that it was not tonally appropriate on the anniversary of more than 2,400 Americans being killed.

SpaghettiosIn the larger scheme of things, this isn’t such a big deal and I don’t really suspect SpaghettiOs will be boycotted or anything like that. But the wrongheaded thinking is another example of inside-out thinking. Campbell’s simply thought, “Oh, this is a charming character. And Pearl Harbor Day will just be an excuse to get him out there.”


That is, they were in love with a character licking his lips and wearing orange sneakers.

But Campbell’s didn’t think how that character would come across in context.

The lesson is that many times companies think inside-out without even a glance. They’ve been conditioned to it, but it’s not the way to go about conducting business. Or stealing market share. Always think outside-in.