Fletcher Knight, November 17, 2010
by Margaret Kime
In a world where 'Top Chefs' constantly raise the culinary bar to new heights of expertise and creativity, more and more consumers are drawn to everyday experts with the common touch, what we call "Foodies in the Raw" - for food that excites and delights the everyman's palate.
It used to be that reference to professional chefs, restaurants or distant places such as Tuscany effectively set the gold standard for quality and taste. But those reference points risk feeling special occasion and too formal for everyday. Instead, consumers have developed appreciation for the signals of credible, everyday expertise - like the Fairway foodie with a focused passion for real food that fits into the flow of daily life. New York based Fairway Market ("Your Local Food Library") uses street-level expertise to sell thousands of imported and everyday fresh specialty foods at affordable prices. Their raw merchandising style creates a shopping environment that feels fresh, approachable and rustic-yet-urban.
Our consumer research shows adopting a more casual, approachable and on-a-first-name-basis 'expertise' can credibly cut through category clutter with conversational language that gets down to the brass tacks of what really makes a difference. Consumers are responding to experts presented in environments that feel raw, everyday and unscripted – not signaling ‘corporation’ with chef coats, brand logos or test kitchen backdrops. Keeping the brand experience grounded in the context of everyday experts in real situations tells an engaging story with mass, but craftsman quality and appeal. It's everyday, enriched.
Select brands such as Annie Chun's have successfully leveraged their everyday expertise to strengthen their appeal with consumers. Annie Chun's gourmet all-natural cuisine uses her provenance to de-mystify Asian cuisine with foods like specialty Asian pastas. Anyone can "instantly become an Asian Home Chef."
How can your brand stand for everyday expertise? We recommend that you seriously examine the context in which consumers experience your brand.