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Thought Leadership: The Instant Pot of Strategic Business Storytelling and Brand Growth

Life gets busy. Work, friends, family, social obligations, exercise, and general adulting all absorb our time and energy. It’s easy to order in or go out to eat, leaving the work of cooking and cleaning to someone else. Easy, yes; but also expensive. 

Rootstock Ryan Klee confused in the kitchen

I’ve been trying to get better at eating at home more regularly, and to accomplish this (along with juggling everything else) I began leaning on two oft-neglected appliances in my kitchen: my Crockpot slow cooker and my air fryer. 

They’ve both been game changers. With a little bit of planning, I can make meals for the week, or quickly whip something up without a lot of fuss. I’ve been amazed at the versatility of these machines, and thought I was the cool kid on the block with the fancy cooking toys. Turns out, not only am I way late to the party, but I also completely missed perhaps the most versatile feast-making-machine of all: the Instant Pot. 

While I don’t have one (yet), several of my friends do, and they attest to its dominance as the master meal maker. While listening to their tales of culinary victory, as my brain does, I started drawing parallels between these three robots de cuisine, and the different kinds of work we and others do in the strategic consulting world. More specifically, I wondered which gastro gadget best represented the thought leadership work we do at Rootstock. The answer was, ahem, instant.

Which Tool is Best for Your Growth?

Just like counter space is finite as you try to decide which appliance suits your needs, so too are marketing budgets as you explore the best ways to grow your brand. Do you want quantity over quality? Do you need to focus more on the top, middle, or bottom of the sales funnel? As the founder or CEO, do you want to publicly lean into your best thinking to guide your company’s growth, or work from behind the curtain like the Wizard of Oz?

In order to decide which approach is best for you, first consider what you want to make and how you want to make it: your goals (short term and long term), your needs, your budget, your culture. Certain features of an Instant Pot might ultimately work better than a Crockpot or an air fryer, and vice versa — but you won’t know until you’re certain what’s cooking.

Crockpot Slow Cooker


For those interested in a meal for which the bulk of the lifting is done at the beginning, with perhaps a bit of maintenance along the way to a satisfying end, the slow cooker has a lot to offer:

  • Low, even energy for slow cooking
  • Flavors meld together over time
  • Set it and forget it

    – Think of a well-running, in-house marketing team. You spend time early determining goals, KPIs, and the tools needed to accomplish your plan. Then you give them clear marching orders for the marketing basics: newsletters, email campaigns, blogs, and social media, leaving you — the boss — free to tackle other things, while occasionally giving input and monitoring metrics. If you want to be hands off with your marketing, this may be the way.

Air Fryer

Instant Pot Air Fryer

Fast, simple, and convenient, an air fryer approach provides bursts of big energy without a lot of effort:

  • High, fast, concentrated heat
  • Rapid results 
  • Intense, but lacking depth

    – Think of quick, easy, tactical marketing and sales: SEM (Search Engine Marketing), social media advertising, AI generated content, lots of cold calling, or hardcore lead gen. This approach is not overly strategic; instead it uses tools designed to cast the widest net possible. If you’re playing the volume game and looking for a high quantity of leads that may produce a handful of solid prospects, this may be the way.

Instant Pot

Instant Pot

Using an Instant Pot requires a bit more concepting, but means you can do several things at once, including both hands-on and hands-off tactics based on the strategic steps required:

  • Multi-cooker: sautés, steams, slow cooks, and pressure cooks
  • Hybrid functionality to make exactly what you want
  • Versatility for complicated, more in-depth recipes

    – Think of a strategic, focused combination of PR, marketing, communications, and branding, all centered around deep thinking, planning, and storytelling. If you want your best thoughts to lead your growth, and create something of substance, this may be the way.

Rootstock co-founder Tom Bell’s famous Instant Pot lentil stew, for example, looks like this:

1. Saute the onion, garlic, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

2. Add lentils, broth, and spices, then pressure cook.

3. Add tomatoes, then slow cook overnight.

The result is something hearty and deeply flavorful. All in the same pot! (Let us know if you want the full recipe.)

Rootstock Ryan Klee smiling in the kitchen

Recipe for Success

When it comes to marketing yourself and your company, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You may need a mix of tools to accomplish your goals (be it revenue growth, exit strategy, brand awareness, writing a book, etc.). Explore your options to determine what’s best for you and what fits your budget. Perhaps an air fryer and/or a crock pot will service your ambitions.

But if you want to truly become a thought leader in your field, it will require deep thinking, conversations, strategy, persistence, confidence in your story, and the ability to pivot as needed. Just as in Tom’s Instant Pot lentil soup recipe, the multiple steps involved in building your thought leadership position, all incorporated together, will result in something far greater than the sum of its parts and will help lead you to more satisfying business success and personal abundance.