Friday, 1 February 2013

Hot! Authentic Branding And The Making Of A Rebellious Food Network Star Fast Company

Mix two parts rebel, one part Elvis and one part cook. Add a sprinkling of New York City bohemian wit, and let simmer for a few weeks and voila!, a star is born.

Clients and friends know I am a foodie. As a native New Yorker from Brooklyn, I m a rebel, a coffee perfectionist, and a good cook (good enough that some friends even call me a chef. Go figure!). All good skills to have when branding companies and cities, their services and their products (my "day job").

So naturally I am attracted to such Food Network hit TV shows such as Chopped, Restaurant Impossible, Iron Chef America and Food Network Star .

The shows are well edited, well-paced, entertaining and informative, particularly Food Network Star . I think Bob Tuschman (who in person, per a recent interview, is 6 feet tall and blond) and Susie Fogelson (who I think is a great mix of business exec with a touch of a young Lauren Bacall) are a great pair to lead and moderate the challenges.

Food and Branding (And A Dash of Rebellion) Branding, like food, is a recipe that has equal parts well-aged passion and freshly picked curiosity.

Looking at world-class brands that rise above the noise, there are four qualities one will immediately spot:

The brand voice is singularly clear, not ambiguous

The brand view of the world and its role in it is authentic

The brand knows who it is designed to serve and isn t a mish-mash of messages that will appeal to the widest demographic rather than selecting its sweet spot to build its power base

The brand has "depth" to its personality. In other words, it s not one-dimensional (like learning there s considerably more to someone you ve known for a while).

Brands can learn a lot from this as you ll see below. This season s Food Network Star had one contender that embodied the qualities that make a brand (as well as a TV personality) memorable, welcome, interesting and mentally stimulating.

He goes by the self-proclaimed role of Rebel with a Culinary Cause and answers to (at least on some formal document like a birth certificate) Justin Warner. And as is proven by case studies (showing how a powerful brand can increase sales 300% ), rebellious brands like Apple, Dyson, Jones Soda and Harley Devidson are just a few of the brands that prove its workability day in and day out.

Why Justin? Simple.

His voice and point of view is singularly clear

His view is untarnished by BS and is authentic

His approach is unique and committed to the wild abandon and joy of cooking, rejecting the upper crust snobbery of who should be allowed to cook and who won t be admitted into these hallowed walls

He provides enough insight into what he s doing and how he s doing it that you know there s more to him than meets the eye.

He s smart. He s willing to throw sacred rules out the window and provides that proper balance of smarts with what will he think of next?

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