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I know how you can make a big splash!

by Phil Hesketh

Twelve months ago one individual tripled the value of a company with a single post on twitter.

She didn’t even have to use all 140 characters. And she made $70m overnight. Here’s how she did it.

Last October Oprah Winfrey bought a ten percent stake in Weight Watchers. That equates to roughly 6 million shares or, to put it in layman’s terms, seven hundred and fifty thousand jam doughnuts, a hundred and forty three cartons of popcorn and seventeen chocolate eclairs. You do the maths.

Then, according to her tweet, she sat tight and ate bread every day for twenty six days. Other stuff too, of course, but also lots of bread. Accompanying her tweet she posted a thirty second video of herself sitting in a chair and covered in breadcrumbs.

People went crazy for it. The film went viral before the breadcrumbs went stale. During her time on the diet, she lost nearly two stone and also struck up meaningful relationships with several local bakers.

Within a day of her announcement on twitter, shares in Weight Watchers trebled. Within a month they had quadrupled.

Just from sitting in her chair, eating less and talking to the camera.

Remarkable.

The ‘Oprah effect’ should come as no surprise of course. Of the 70 books that got her seal of approval in the Oprah Book Club, 59 made it onto the New York Times bestseller list. She has an incredible power to change people’s behaviour.

But at the start of October, twelve months on, shares have slumped and are now worth ‘only’ 50% more than she paid for them.

It’s important to make a big splash - and Oprah can do that with or without a swimming pool - but just as in business relationships, the key is to keep working on it.

One swallow of a loaf doesn't make a summer.

Ha ha ha.

I spoil you sometimes.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I think I just heard the toaster pop.