What Do Collard Greens have to do with Marketing Mojo?

Hey y’all, let’s chat…I’m Shellie, they call me the Belle of All Things Southern, and I’m here to talk about marketing. Don’t roll your eyes at me. These talks are good for us. (Right, Super Agent Greg?) Being an incurable storyteller, it’s my natural inclination to open any discussion with a tale to illustrate my point, and my Papa tells a childhood story that perfectly captures my thoughts on marketing. So, please, join me on memory lane.

Ola Mae Rushing was my paternal grandmother. I remember her as a widow woman, worn slap dab out and spending most of her days resting her bones in a squeaky green recliner, watching the seasons of the Louisiana Delta change outside her picture window and Bob Barker charming the masses on her black and white TV. Together my grandparents had raised a dozen kids to adulthood before Papaw Rushing passed away. After his death, Grandmaw sat down and retired–from most everything. Papaw Claude had worked the land as hard as a plot of ground has ever been farmed during those early years, but life was anything but easy. There had always been more month than money and more hungry mouths than food to feed ’em, which brings me to the point of our story.

One day Grandmaw set a single pot of collard greens on the table and told everyone to help themselves. Papa was just a little boy, and collard greens were the last thing he had in mind to fill the pit in his hungry stomach.

“I don’t like collard greens!” he announced. “I hate collard greens. I ain’t eating any collard greens!”

The way Papa tells it, Grandma promptly escorted him outside for a Come to Jesus meeting.  Upon his return, Papa wasted no time pulling his chair up to the table and saying, “Pass the collard greens, please.”

That’s the sort of love/hate relationship I have with marketing. To be perfectly honest, it takes a remedial Come to Jesus meeting to keep my thinking straight on this one, but God is ever faithful to help me adjust my attitude. This writing life is a hard one, but it’s a blessed one. I’m getting to do what I’ve dreamed of doing from childhood when I spent my days in the arms of my favorite tree with a pile of books, a #2 pencil, and my Red Chief notebook. I write words, and people read them.

Sure, my “brand” was a huge surprise. I never intended to be a walking, talking, southern celebration, and I never ever set out to write humor. This is the platform that God built. Due to its perpetual deadlines, I get to build line upon line relationships with people, which brings us to a place where I can speak more important things into their lives than Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On or Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy. Not that those aren’t serious issues, but I live to talk All Things Jesus. Towards that end, I’ll gladly pull my chair up to my desk today, tomorrow, and as often as is necessary with a smile on my face and a burning resolve in my heart.

“Pass the marketing notes, please.”

Hugs, Shellie

What helps inspire your marketing mojo?

13 Replies to “What Do Collard Greens have to do with Marketing Mojo?”

  1. Shellie, I’m a second generation southern girl. My daddy moved from North Carolina out here to the mountains of Wa state when he was five. He’ll be 75 this summer and has never gone back. I think he likes to remember it as it was, when all the family of his boyhood still lived.
    So, I’m not from the south, but my upbringing was. 🙂 Buttermilk with cornbread crumbled into the glass? It’s one of my dad’s favorites.
    In fact, my mother just found and passed down to me my grandmother (his mother’s) hand written recipe for cornbread. I can’t wait to find a frame and hang it on my kitchen wall.

    Now, to answer your question (is rambling a southern thing?), marketing mojo can be found when I read the comments or emails a readers has sent me. When they tell me writing helped them through a tought time or pushed their feet back on the path towards Jesus, I know why I’m doing this. For Him.

  2. Shellie, I love your humor and had only recently heard the phrase…Do we need to have a come to Jesus meetin’? Do you think it would sound the same with a western accent?

  3. With me it was black-eyed peas. My mother, being a good Missourian, loved them. I just couldn’t eat something that watched my every bite!

    Collard greens can be quite tasty if you cook them right, douse them with butter and/or vinegar and give them their proper place on the plate. 🙂

  4. Shellie, thanks for the trip home! I’m a Louisiana girl myself, born and raised in Shreveport and educated in Ruston. I understand the marketing dilemma and butt heads with it daily! Keep talkin’ with a southern twang!

  5. Thank you. I related very well to your description of experiencing your ‘brand’ as unexpected. The novel that Alethia publishing has picked up – for which I am very grateful, is not even in the genre I would have thought. The first time I wrote a novel it was hard SF, but An Adventure in Indianapolis is urban fiction – magical realism and a crime fighting story. The first nonfiction books that are out that I did don’t have my name on them because they are ghostwritten, but instead of being philosophy books: it was relocation to the US, dating, and then…my God mutual funds. I appreciate your sympathy that marketing is not always easy…especially when we are simultaneously wanting to be actually good people.

  6. Shellie, that has to be one of the most fun posts on Marketing I’ve ever read. Love the straight talk, and love the analogy. Thanks for sharing…oh, and pass the Marketing, please. I could use a second helping. (:

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