My wife – Aaron Rodgers bless her heart – struggles mightily with loading the dishwasher. Many things she is skilled at. Loading the dishwasher is not one. There is neither rhyme nor reason to her methods. No established strategy – no preconceived design – drives her approach whatsoever.

dishes3-300x201Absurd how Mrs. Winn loads the dishwasher…

To demonstrate madness in its purest form can be her only goal. And she achieves it admirably time and time again. This I certainly cannot deny her.

The Madness:…dishes jammed into the machine with a sledgehammer…bowls forcing themselves upon coffee mugs in the most perverse manner…little plates wrongly wedged between their larger counterparts…spatulas and Tupperware scattered indiscriminately about the racks…forks and spoons grinding inappropriately on the dance floor…

The Result: The un-loader encounters mayhem where he might expect law and order. And the un-loader, of course, is me, and that makes it all the worse. Why oh why must I rummage through a junkyard of partially clean dishes to perform a job that – with the teensy tinsiest bit of foresight – could have been so simple?

The Other Result: My wife has since been relieved of all dishwashing duties. If the drinking glasses are to march in order, if the bowls are to properly align, if the plates are to spin together, if the forks, spoons and knives are to be harmoniously segregated in the silverware basket – then I must do it all myself. But it’s a price I’m willing to write a check for, if only to promote the order and accessibility paramount in a finely stocked dishwasher.

The Lesson: My wife wasn’t wrong in her approach – technically. Her goal was always the same as mine: to produce clean dishes. To achieve this, she threw everything that belongs in a dishwasher (plates, bowls, Tupperware, pots, pans, silverware and detergent) into the machine and activated it all with the turn of a knob.

dishes2-300x232Now…that’s more like it.

But wait! That she mixed the right elements with the right tools never yielded ideal results. To be sure, can a drinking glass be thoroughly cleaned if trapped between a bowl and Tupperware lid? Not in my experience, dear friends.

And can silverware be easily returned to the drawer if each dishwasher basket slot has become a despicable orgy of forks and spoons and butter knives? Only in the Devil’s mind, I’m afraid.

Attempt to tie this all back to marketing somehow: Public Relations. Social Media. Advertising. SEO. Market Research. Marketing Literature. Event Marketing. Trade Shows. Trade Publications. Radio. Television. Mascots. Logos. Taglines. Photos…

You know you need it all. So you chuck it all in your marketing plan, squirt a blob of marketing dollars into the detergent compartment, activate it with the twist of a knob, and walk away, fully expecting the result to be a crystal clear brand image for your company or institution.

But if there is no rhyme or reason to how the individual elements interact and complement one another, no individual piece – let alone the entire package – will ever dazzle with pristine shine. Instead, you’ll be resigned to drinking from cloudy glasses and dining on cheese-encrusted plates.

However, should you take time beforehand to adequately align your public relations strategy with your social media, your print literature with your website copy, your event marketing with your blog, then your overall product will be more accessible to your customers and clients. They will be impressed with your message – not confused and turned off by the mayhem.

Marriage Lesson: I realize now that perhaps madness was always her strategy. It was all but a sneaky and ingenious ploy to accomplish a goal I never did see: that I might one day willingly assume all dish-washing duties. Damn. Guerrilla marketing at its finest. Yet one more thing she’s truly good at.