What I learned from launching the new Pippa Middleton recipe book

Pippa Middleton has been an ambassador for the British Heart Foundation since 2014 and has done lots of fantastic work in raising the profile of the charity and helping raise money for life saving research. So when Pippa said she wanted to write a healthy eating recipe book it brought together some fundamental threads into a single project. The book, called Heartfelt, is a perfect way for the BHF to leverage Pippa’s celebrity to raise awareness of our work, provide people with over a hundred recipes that we know are healthy, and raise money through the exclusive sale of the book in BHF Shops and our Online Shop.

Heartfelt, healthy recipe book by Pippa Middleton

It was a high profile project, involving lots of other departments across the BHF, and it was an exciting opportunity to show what our small Ecommerce department can achieve when it is more embedded within what other parts of the organisation do. Along the way I thought about and learned a few things.

No one sees the whole

The buyer, the merchandiser, the PR team, the email marketing team, web developers, logistics company, customer services team, etc., etc.; lots of people were involved all doing their own specific parts based on their expertise. My role involved having an overview of lots of what was going on but there were also lots that I didn’t see such as the celebrity ambassadorship, distribution to shops, printing, etc. If a whole is greater than the sum of it’s part (and I believe it should be), how do we achieve this? How much of it needs to be in one person’s head and how much can we rely on the ‘mind of the organisation’ to know what is going on and getting done. Did a project like this require a project manager, or someone else that could be solely focused it? And if so, who would that person be?

Things move fast and change quickly

There we’re lots of moving parts, that were added to and taken away from, and many of the parts we had never used before. Deadlines shifted, priorities changed, and on an almost daily basis. This made it exciting and challenging to figure out how to make all the parts fit together. The thing I learned from this is not to underestimate the complexity, especially when it’s a new thing the organisation has never done before.

In complex a project, goals and objectives are also complex

With so many people and teams doing lots of different things, and with what those people are working on changing so quickly it was difficult to have shared goals and agreed objectives. The PR and Marketing function want to the reach of the book to be was wide as possible as their objectives are around raising profile. Retail objectives are around revenue and return on investment. So, there might be profile raising benefits to selling the book internationally but it also needs to be commercially viable. Although there was no conflict between the various objectives the only shared goal was making the project as successful as possible.