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I’ll pick you up at half past three, we’ll have lasagne August 6, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, work/life.
Tags: ,

So I mentioned willingness to pay the other day, which is intrinsically linked to notions of value and price point the former being set by the customer, the latter by the operation doing the selling. Raising the perception of value increases the chance your customer will agree to the price point, and you do this by heightening the expectations set by the brand you’re pushing.

Now, I’m pretty fortunate in being able to eat at some nice places. Not all the time mind you, but I’m a big fan of food, and I get to indulge that often enough to keep me happy. Most people out there would be familiar with Jamie Oliver (aka The Naked Chef), a guy for whom branding and food are inextricably linked. This naturally brings with it all sorts of extra notions of value.

In his books, you look for the recipes, tips and tricks that mean you can deliver a wonderful meal for anyone who comes to dinner. There’s this idea of product delivered, life enriched – through the learning of a new skill and the sharing of that experience. Enriched living? What a great place for a brand to occupy; let us help facilitate this wonderful evening and not be at all responsible if you cock it up. Brilliant!

He has a restaurant in Melbourne called Fifteen, which I’ve been to a few times. The first time I went I was blown away, but the last couple times have left something to be desired. The pull for me was very much getting to eat at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, and while the service and wine list is impeccable, the food left me feeling a little unsatisfied.

This is interesting because in both cases, the product is the extension of a single brand into places the person cannot be; Jamie can’t be at my house making sure I don’t drown my risotto, and he can’t be cooking in Fifteen every night. Yet in the first example his brand isn’t dminished by me messing up a dish, in the latter he can’t help but be held responsible.

What it boils down to is a single brand, executed to differing standards in different mediums, which overall dilutes the whole. In the case of the book, he has done all he can do, the rest is up to me – the notion of willingness to pay in this instance is my willingness to buy the right ingredients and invest the time in making a dish; this good will naturally gets transferred to eating in Fifteen, but after that I’m less willing to invest in a Jamie Oliver dining experience than I am in a book of his and my own compass.

I’m trying to think of other examples where a product can be offered but any negative experience had in association fails to actually taint it…I’m drawing blank. Anyone?

Image courtesy of Christop, with thanks to compfight.


1. Allen Taylor - August 6, 2008

Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

Allen Taylor

2. Matt - August 7, 2008


3. David Gillespie - August 7, 2008

Wow. That’s gold =]

4. Matt - August 7, 2008

Winfield Gold?

5. Alysha Sandow - August 7, 2008

Enjoying the experience of the Jamie Oliver cookbook are you? 😉

I think the way negative experience plays with that concept, is the notion of education and the willingness in learning. It’s a challenge that we find ourselves knowing we can do better each time – because this brand tells us it’s possible.
Which ties into the presence of selling a learning experience to it’s customers I guess.

6. David Gillespie - August 8, 2008

*ahem* Yes, it’s handy to have a Jamie Oliver book or two around… 🙂

For me it goes back to aspiration – buy this book, be a better human being. In fact just by owning it it confers some notion of value, eating at a fancy restaurant does none of that.

Matt takes the cigarette idea even further in this post, it is a *great* piece.

7. Oolong - August 8, 2008

I think any form of food is good that way, and people find excuses you know? Like, oh, this branch is crap, but the one in (insert location here) is fantastic! or people are drawn in my ambience instead (think The Lounge, Lambs Go Bar)

A lot of celeb endorsed things…

Celebrity perfumes. because you don’t literally assume the horrid smelling *thing* will neccessarily be worn by them.

Low involvement food products – Greg Norman’s salad dressings.

Interestingly, Kate Moss and Burberry has done nothing for Burberry’s reputation in the UK. (although Kate Moss should have a case study all to herself)

but say, the latest Big Brother evictee, or Posh Spice, erm, I mean Victoria Beckham….now that’s another story….

8. David Gillespie - August 9, 2008

Interesting – you know I think the celebrity perfumes is an interesting idea, because things that are sensory are always going to have a much harder time than those that are tactile. If don’t like the smell of a celebrity-endorsed perfume, do I think less of that celebrity? Personally I can’t think of any men’s perfume endorsed by a celebrity I’d actually wear, if anything it would make me NOT want to buy it (which is realise is as silly as wanting to buy it because of the name attached in the first place).

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