Wednesday, June 6, 2012

5 Points for Creativity from 3 Star Chefs

Can one learn creativity? The chefs Michel and his son Sébastien Bras offer us lessons in the film "Step Up to the Plate" ("Entre les Bras, la cuisine en héritage") by Paul Lacoste. The film depicts their artistry in creating food, for which their restaurant Bras was awarded 3 Michelin stars. They teach us the following ideas, in alphabetical order:

1. Adaptibility: When Sébastien creates a dish for their restaurant in Japan, Michel realizes that its elements would have to be changed for French diners. Be flexible.

2. Inspiration: One could be inspired by anything. Sébastien remembers food his grandmother served when he was a child and incorporated a combination in a recipe.

3. Iteration: The Bras try again and again until they find the correct solution. This pertains to the beautiful placement of food on a plate or recipes.

4. Questioning: Always ask why. Michel Bras questions Sébastien after he shows Michel a new dish. Perhaps we could move this item to another part of the plate? Or could you add a little more of a seasoning? Persist until one achieves the best.

5. Reflection: In the film, both chefs run in the beautiful countryside. Their exercise gives them an opportunity to escape, relax and think.  The intense world of creativity requires a break. When one is away from one's work, one could return with a fresh outlook.

These are five points for creativity, which apply to any artistic profession or pursuit.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

This Experience's for You

How does a brand penetrate through a consumer world of too much information due to traditional, social and digital media? Create an experience, which is what Budweiser did for its 2012 Super Bowl spot. Its agency Anomaly staged an influx of fans at a recreational hockey game in Port Credit, Ontario where there are often less spectators.

The event arose through careful orchestration. The agency's staff told the players that they would film a documentary, to dispel any questions about cameras at the rink. Soon after the game began, shouting, costumed fans ran into the bleachers. The look of astonishment and joy on the players' faces is priceless.

One recalls similar events created by KLM and T-Mobile, where they entered the consumers' physical space. Since marketers cannot visit each consumer's home, visit his or her physical environment. The visit represents an effort to meet the consumer halfway, to join him, to engender a conversation.

The result is a new way of marketing, a social experience which impacts consumers through participation and memory. It could be a large and expensive undertaking, but well worth it. Small companies could accomplish this on a smaller scale. Offer a gift to your consumers. Give them the gift of joy, which reflects joy on the brand.

Budweiser's brand gained equity through the hockey game. They created a positive experience for the players and for consumers who watched the spot. Companies should think of new ways to reach customers through the media clutter. A brand's gift of fun will be remembered.