It’s Foodie Friday and today I was inspired by something I saw last night on The Taste.
Yes, I do watch a lot of competitive cooking shows but I find it to be a great way to learn about technique and also how to think about blending flavors, textures, and foods into great dishes. The guest judge was Roy Choi and he was giving one team a master class on making street food (of which he is a master!). While serving them the food, he asked the contestants a lot of questions about how what they were eating made them feel. Not how did it taste – how did it make them feel.
That resonated with me on a number of levels. Maybe you’ve had the experience of eating something and having had a flood of memories hit you. I certainly get that when I cook one of my grandmother’s recipes. I’ve also had it happen sometimes when I eat a dish in one place that I’ve had in another and I am taken back to the place in which I first had it. Food that makes you feel something is a great goal, one we can apply to our businesses too.
Part of many great brands’ success is that they make you feel something. It can be nostalgia about our childhoods (Coke, Kraft, Campbell’s Soup) or being a part of a bigger cause (Apple, Prius), or maybe just safe and loved. That emotional involvement, how we make people feel, is what helps differentiate great brands and great service businesses. It’s not how the business “tastes” as much as it is how it feels.
Think about “cold” brands. I’ve been to hotels where the place was clean and the service good but I’d have given up some efficiency for a little warmth. I don’t think “warm and fuzzy” is for every business but I think every business does need to think about how their customers feel after interacting with them. Those aren’t the kind of check box answers one gets on most surveys if the questions are even asked. You need to dig deeper, maybe even become your own customer. If you can’t feel anything, they probably can’t either, or at least not anything you’d want them to repeat. You with me?