By Ronita Mukerjee
The culinary world has always fascinated me. After watching Sarah Graham’s Food Safari, I ordered my first Lodge cast iron skillet. These days if I am not wearing the brand consultant hat, you will find me curiously researching and shopping for the next big meal I plan to make. During my last holiday in Cambodia, apart from visiting temple ruins and museums, I managed to squeeze in a cooking class as well. Pure delight! What was even more interesting was the ‘aha’ moment I had. A revelation of sorts. There is so much marketeers can learn from cooking. And then apply that knowledge to building their brands.
Hard to believe? Let me explain.A grand meal needs a good plan.
True, I have cooked one pot meals with leftovers in my fridge. But think of a grand meal that you invite friends and family to. From entrees to dessert, each dish is planned meticulously based on your guests’ tastes and preferences. Building a brand is no different, you need a clear vision for the future. What do you want to achieve and be known for? Who are you catering to? Nike from its early days had a clear plan. They wanted to inspire the “athlete” in every one of us.
The right ingredients make all the difference.
You would agree that the best meals are made with the finest ingredients. It shows. Imagine hollandaise sauce without eggs?
To bring your vision for your brand to life, you need to identify and invest in the right inputs. Is it technology? Is it service or is it the experience? I know frequent fliers who swear by SQ’s flying experience. What is your brand’s secret sauce?
Precision in Execution. Consistently.
It takes seven minutes to get a perfectly hard boiled egg. Gordon Ramsey actually tests all his chefs on making the perfect scrambled eggs. When it comes to brand, thinking through every touch point in a systematic and precise manner is critical. Every touchpoint should convey a consistent message. Take a look at Amazon, an extremely customer centric company. All the way from their product range, buying experience to customer care. Every customer intervention is thought through to deliver a customer centric experience.
It is a little counterintuitive to mention magic after precision! But let me explain. Would you have ever have enjoyed a Jalebi Caviar if it weren’t for creativity and imagination? For a brand too, once you have your bearings in place, you need to take a leap of faith and expand your horizons. Create new experiences. Who would have thought that you can customise your own pair of Nikes online? Just do it!
“…No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” – Julia Child, My Life in France.
Brands aren’t built in a day either. Just campaigns don’t build a brand. A clear vision, relentless execution and passion for possibilities help build an agile brand that is strong, relevant and differentiated.
The piece de resistance!
When I look around me – be it Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson- they all have a few things in common. Unadulterated love for their craft, dedication and discipline, and a clear distinct style that shines right through their books, shows and websites. They are brands in their own right. As a brand consultant, I see a lot of inspiration that I can apply at work everyday.
Here is to happy meals and successful brands.