Apologies I’ve not managed to post as much recently. As I mentioned I have started a freelance journalism course which has been taking up some of my time. On top of this I have also been given a fantastic opportunity to write restaurant reviews for a local paper. As such each of these have eaten into my time quite a lot. Luckily they both give me the opportunity to write more often and so I will share things with you on here to go alongside my recipes.
First up this is a little article that I wrote for my course. It is a first effort at writing something in the sort of style aimed at a magazine or similar publication. I think that it needs a bit of work and I found it hard to find sources and so could be better. Anyway here it is.
Le Creuset have turned 90 this year; why do I think this is significant?
Why is it that when I heard Le Creuset was celebrating 90 years of production did I feel that this was something important? Never before have I been remotely interested in a company reaching a particular milestone; so why this one? Clearly I must feel some sort of connection with, what is at the end of the day, a business that wants to sell me products. This is either some sort of incredible marketing trick or it demonstrates the power that some brands have on our psyche.
As a food lover, there has always been something particularly special about these flame coloured cast iron pans. They remind me of a time when food became something more than just a necessity – that it could be an important aspect of my life. For me there is something emotive about the unmistakable sound of a casserole lid being replaced. It is something from my childhood; something that feels like home. It is for this reason that I felt the way I did; it was as if a member of my family was celebrating their 90th birthday and not just another brand.
This got me thinking about the impact that brands and products can have on us. When it comes to the things we love, in my case cooking and food, our passion and interest is influenced by the things around us. In some cases it may even be the catalyst that sparks our interest; or something akin to supporting a football team.
I spoke to chef Steven Edwards – MasterChef the Professionals 2003 winner and chef director of Etch. Catering – about his relationship with certain brands.
“I believe – especially in cooking – we become attached to products that work. When composing recipes you have a certain pan you want to cook in because it gets you the results you desire. If that pan was to break or need replacing I think consumers will go to the brand that they had the results with.”
“It is very personal. It’s what works for you and your style of cooking. I don’t aim to be associated with a brand but I do look for a match. I always look for consistency, reliability, innovation and precision when choosing a product or brand to work with.”
“If I have chosen to work with a product there will be a reason behind it, it is not a random decision. I will be using it to create my food and it helps give me the edge in a competitive market. What might work for me and my style of cooking might not work for someone else. It is important to get the fit right and what you demand from a product.”
Brand loyalty is certainly not a new concept and in the modern age research has suggested that the relationships are much more complex. Neil Davidson – Executive Planning Director of creative agency Hey Human – claims that there are 14 different relationship types that consumers have with brands. In research published in May 2015 the Neil claimed that;
“Brand relationships still exist, but they’re just not as simplistic. They might not be as deep as we want to think they are. They might be more fleeting. But actually to the people we’re connecting with, they’re still important.” For example, a brand might be more successful as a “best friend” than as a “fling”, or it may be better suited to serve as a “teammate” than one half of a “committed partnership” – and that’s no bad thing.
“To survive and thrive in this world of changing relationships, brands need to understand where they sit in these 14 relationship typologies. One of the conclusions I would suggest from this research is that you can’t make someone love you – but sometimes a quickie is best.”
“The winners will be brands that realise it’s not just about building brand love anymore, or working to established models of loyalty. It’s going to be about things that make different types of connections and build different types of relationships between brands and people.”
I certainly have a long term relationship with my favourite brand and am not alone. As part of the celebrations Le Creuset have launched a site where fellow devotees can share their stories and images. These can be viewed at http://www.lecreuset90.com/ and there are plenty of interesting tales on offer and recipes to share. Many of these revolve around major life events such as weddings, birthdays and Christmas’s. Perhaps this is why many feel such a connection with their products. Items are handed down through the family – as my recent acquisition of a terrine dish is testament to – which further adds to the emotional connection.
I for one will remain faithful and will be looking forward to their 100th birthday in 2025. Clearly marketing and advertising has become much more intelligent; but at the end of the day nothing can replace the memories and emotions that we have as individuals attach to certain items.