Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What CMOs Should Learn from Chefs

What chef-like attributes are worth adopting?

First, just like launching new products restaurants may be one of the hardest markets to exist in.  The urban myths are that 90% of restaurants and 80% of new products fail. The reality is that the success rate in both categories is well above 50% for the first year.  So while the odds of success are longer than those in Las Vegas, they are still worthy pursuits and quite possibly have things in common. 

There seems to be a common set of characteristics that chefs bring to the table...
  • Clarity and focus - the passion, single mindedness and very often the standards are what makes them leaders.  
    • This is no different than insisting on a clear, crisp brand promise.
  • Consistency - eating is a ritual, we come back for the memories, we don't want to be rudely shocked and have to reevaluate our choice.  
    • This is no different than guaranteeing a consistent message and experience along the shopping journey. 
  • Customer satisfaction - the best have a relentless goal of ensuring guests are enjoying themselves.  
    • This is no different than being the voice of the customer. 
Some of the most interesting thinking and inspiration (not to mention food) comes from those developing street food or running food trucks.  Here are two videos of chefs talking about their craft.
  • Richie Nakano of  Hapa Ramen talks about goal driven and focus based on the love of his craft.
  • Roy Choi of Kogi BBQ embodies the mixing of emotion into the product and exudes a passion for what he wants to eat.
What is clearly different is that this is very personal for the chef and possibly only a day job for the CMO.

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