Thursday, February 23, 2012

An Unexpected Blog Reader

When I launch my mindless chatter into blogger-world with a simple click of the ‘publish’ button, I don’t often give much thought to who might stumble upon it.  I assume it will mostly be folks like myself, with a shared interest in running and fitness, and a shared sense of purpose around self-improvement while avoiding injury.  Perhaps someone will find my words amusing …. maybe informative … hopefully not annoying.  I often entertain myself …. perhaps more than I do others …. definitely more than I entertain my wife.  For some odd reason she sticks around, for which I am eternally grateful.

Recently I posted a review of PureFit nutrition bars, where I tried to give a useful assessment of the bars without getting bogged down in the details.  In this review I mentioned my experience eating Balance Bars around the 10-mile mark of my long runs throughout training for my first marathon.  In the review I wrote the following “Worked great for a while, but after enough long runs I got to the point where I couldn’t stand the sight of Balance Bars.”  This was much less a commentary on Balance Bars than a case of too-much-of-a-good-thing, where even something you like can get tired after too much repetition.  Probably more of a Pavlovian response where my brain started equating balance bars with the medieval beating I was putting on my legs.  Regardless, these words were launched into the cyber world and I didn’t give them much more thought.

However, last Monday I received an unexpected email from the woman who handles PR for Balance Bar who had read my post.  It was a very nice email expressing her disappointment that I had grown weary of Balance Bars, but pointing to several new product lines and flavors that they had launched that I might find more appealing based on my use of the bars as a mid-run fueling option.  She also offered to send me some samples to try, asking if I had any preferences for lines/flavors, and asked that I provide some feedback.  After Igot over the initial shock that she had found the post and taken the time to write, the whole thing left me with a huge grin on my face.  I’ve gotten on my customer-service soapbox many times on this blog, and I’m someone that values the customer experience extremely highly, so the fact that she was reaching out when I hadn’t ever attempted any contact or provided any direct feedback to Balance Bar was just too cool.  Maybe not my most eloquent way to describe the experience, but for lack of a better word I’m sticking with ‘too cool’.  As an aside, it also made me realize what a massive PR headache the rise of social media must be.  So many venues for sharing unfiltered opinions – fair or not.  Trying to monitor and address all the chatter must be maddening.

I wrote her back letting her know I’d love to give them another try and would happily share my thoughts via the blog.  I gave her a couple flavors that sounded good and looked forward to receiving a few bars in the mail.  Two days later the following showed up at my door:

36 Balance Bars in 18 different flavors/types.  Awesome.

I’ll be giving the full collection a test-drive over the course of the next few months of training.  This past weekend I tried the Balance Bar Bare – Sweet and Salty Peanut Butter bar at mile 20 of a 30 mile bike ride.  It was very, very tasty.  In fact, it was tasty enough that I’d have one of these as a snack pretty much any time – workout or not.  It was, however, pretty tough/crunchy and pretty dry, so I don’t know if I’d recommend it as an eat-as-you-run option in the middle of a long run.  It was great, however, for a short water/snack break in the middle of a long ride.  If this first bar is any indication, I may be rekindling my prior relationship with Balance Bars and training.  Reunited and it feels so good.

I’ll keep sprinkling in reviews as I work through the various flavors in ‘Project Balance Bar’.


  1. I've thought about how companies keep up with all the opinions as well but sounds like this is a company trying to keep customers happy - always a good thing! It's also strange when something unexpected leads someone to find something on a blog, I don't tend to think too much either!

  2. That is very cool! I look forward to reading your reviews.

  3. Now that's a good deal - love it when a company's actually paying attention!

  4. I wonder if Samsung would send me new appliances if I blog about what a piece of shit my new washer is?

  5. Major score!!!

    I went to this fitness blog conference last year and learned that there are a lot more people watching your blog than you ever imagined. It was pretty scary, actually!!

  6. I think 'cool' is a very fitting word for this. Hope you can find a new bar that works for you!