Category Archives: Marketing + Food = Mood

Sites I love

Not long ago, my dear cousin Linda sent me her mama’s recipe for gumbo. It’s a family recipe I grew up eating, and the only person who made better gumbo than my aunt Sissy (Linda’s mama) was my grandma, and that recipe is in heaven, where she and Sissy are now duel chefs at the Cajun restaurant for angels, saints and the like.

I was so happy to get the recipe that I wanted to save it in a place where I could share it for all to see. I could have put it on one of my social networking sites, but it would then be limited to just my connections. I wanted to be able to easily share it with anyone who might be in need of a traditional, good-old gumbo. My solution?

justpaste. it. No, that’s not a typo, and no, I’m not saying I dug up an old bottle of glue from a kitchen drawer. ” justpaste. it” is one of those amazing free sites, like Bit.ly, the URL shrinker. I can’t believe that these free tools exist for us all to use. When I’m depressed and fearing global catastrophic failure, I just think of these sites and, well, okay, I don’t feel better, but I do feel a small tingle of excitement, because I can’t believe sites like this exist!

The thing I love about justpaste.it is I can then bookmark the URL in Delicious, another “I can’t believe it exists” site that I can’t live without.

Oh, and in case you want Sissy’s recipe, here it is.

Celebrate Julia Child’s Birthday August 15, and Win a Classic

green cover mastering the artAudacious Ink just loves a good contest, and Champagne Taste is providing a real page turner, literally. They are giving away a copy of Julia Child’s masterpiece, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” in celebration of her birthday.

Check out their blog for details. NOTE: the deadline is August 13, so time is running out—I just discovered this contest myself. Champagne Taste is also asking participants to cook a recipe from one of Julia’s books and post about it on the site. It’s a great example of smart marketing, as contestants are encouraged to do more than just fill in their name on a form, but actually be part of something. It makes for a more memorable experience, and help builds customer (or in this case, reader) loyalty. By the way, this isn’t a “best recipe wins” type of contest. The winner is picked at random. Making one of Julia’s recipes is merely encouraged, out of a passion for fine food and fine cooking.

If you haven’t read the Audacious Ink post on “Julie and Julia” yet, check it out.

Okay, Audacious readers, good luck!

Feeling the Love

julie-julia-posterThere has been much written on the subject of excellence and exceeding expectations, whether it is your company’s expectations, or your client’s, or your own. As I was preparing to write a press release today, I had an epiphany. Isn’t the key to an excellent performance summed up in one word? Love.

Before you navigate off this page, do not be alarmed. Stay calm. I am not trying to take a hard-boiled subject like success in business and turn it into a Kumbaya lesson on love. No sir, no way. It simply struck me that people who are excellent at what they do are probably excellent because they love what they are doing. I know it’s an epiphany that other people have already had; it just really struck me full throttle how it seems that everyone I know who loves what they do are good at it.

Take me, for example. I love to goof off. Seriously, I think I could win an award for it. A Nobel-type of award. I like to wake up late, sit in front of the TV dazed while I drink my coffee, then lose myself for two, even three hours reading blogs, tweeting, reading my pals updates on Facebook , and doing other things that won’t make money. You would think, during these periods of goofing off, that I am under the impression that I’m a teen-ager, living off Mom and Dad. Quite the contrary: I have had genuine Alzheimer’s moments on the Internet. I look at the clock and it says 9:00. I look at it again a little later and two hours have passed, I don’t know where the time has gone or much less what I’ve been doing. I look at my screen and see that I am on mashable.com, after having clicked on one link after the other on the website until I’m buried so deep in the site’s bowels I’m finding antiques that have been stored away.

Then I go make an ice tea, watch some TV, look at my dog who is dying for a walk, walk him, come back, look at some more TV, then get back on the computer and the next thing I know, it’s time to call it a day and make dinner.

Thankfully, I manage to (usually) avoid these days, but if it hadn’t happened to me in the past, I would not be able to write about it with such detail. Which brings me back to my point: love.

In the midst of the recession, with millions jobless, it’s not only a treat to find someone employed, it’s a treat to find someone who loves their job. I love all things social media, which explains why it is so easy for me to spend hours on the Internet. I’ve turned it into an active part of my career, so bully for me. I took a passion and made some diniro at it. My boyfriend, on the other hand, loves Robert De Niro. He also loves Martin Scorsese and Bob Rafelson and all sorts of Hollywood directors, writers, producers and actors. He’s made a career out of that producing DVD bonus features. Ask anyone in his field: he’s the best at his job. In fact, dare I say it? He’s excellent.

Julia Child loved food. She loved French food and she turned it into a career. Julie Powell loved writing and she loved Julia Child and she turned that love into a lucrative writing career. The other day, I saw “Julie and Julia” and I blogged about it, because I love movies and I love food and to have a movie about food and Julia Child is my idea of time well spent. That one blog post on “Julie and Julia” had an overwhelming response, which means I have somehow, momentarily, joined the ranks of Julia Child and Julie Powell, and tapped into something that America loves. Eating great food.

But back to that press release that I was working on: I was feeling a little nervous about getting started because, frankly, I write a lot of press releases in my career, and the challenge is always how to make the news I’m announcing exciting. I had sent the client a list of questions about the announcement and she wrote back answering me. As I was rereading her response, I saw what I needed: her excitement. This is a woman who is a passionate about what she does, and it showed in her answers to my question. I could almost hear a Billy Mays style hawker reading her words to me, punctuating syllables with emphasis to show the enthusiasm.

Love.

If you love your product, your service, your company, your job, it shows in ways you don’t even realize. It shows in the simple answers to mundane questions. It shows when a member of your team or strategic partner has to take your words, your ideas, your strategies and translate it as part of their own job. If you are lucky, this person, too, loves what he or she is doing and you have a win/win situation.

Come on. Hug it out. Kumbaya, y’all. Feel the love.

Julie and Julia: a Trending Appetite for Gourmet Cooking

julia-child-with-rolling-pinsI saw a special screening last night of Julie and Julia, a new movie about Julia Child and Julie Powell, the blogger who built her career on a tribute to the gourmet matriarch. It’s a great flick, full of heart and engaging. I’m not a movie critic, though, I’m a marketing writer, and as I watched the movie, I viewed it with the eyes of my trade. One thought came to my mind immediately: Julia Child’s classic cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” is going to be flying from the shelves once this film is released on August 7th.  After the show, I mentioned this to my friends, and they not only agreed, but we also believe it is going to reignite America’s passion for gourmet home cooking.

I hope so. My own mother was a fan of Julia Child, and God rest her soul, Mama tried in vain to cook like her. We were her helpless subjects to her failed attempts at Julia’s cassoulets, soufflés, and aspics.  Mama’s beef bourguignon would have sent Julia to the medicine cabinet for an overdose of Tums. Still, I wouldn’t trade those memories or heartburn for a big buttery slice of le pain (no pun intended) straight from Julia’s oven.

Julia Child created a passion for gourmet cooking in the American household in the sixties and seventies. She took a small town Mississippi secretary and gave her a simple dream: to show her family her love for them through cooking up glamorous dishes. Julia taught my mother (and millions of other moms) how to create a dining experience made with fine, fresh ingredients and stewed with love and patience. She may well be the reason Fondue became popular. I also like to think that she had, at least in small part, something to do with the reason American’s started adding wine to the dinner menu. For that, I’m eternally grateful, especially since I’ve inherited my mother’s passion for fine food, and unfortunately, her degree of talent. The more wine we drink, the better my cooking tastes.

In a sense, Julia Child was a great marketer. She did effortlessly what professional marketers try to do strategically. She marketed passion and emotion, albeit through food. Her true love showed in her work: on her TV show and in her books. Julie Powell did the same with her blog, as the movie shows us through her story. She molded her love of cooking, specifically her love of Julia Child’s cooking, into a successful night job that turned into a full-time career. As marketers, we are told to tell a story, touch on emotions, create advocates, not just consumers. These ladies are examples of that at its purest: successful brands born out of a passion they conveyed sincerely. They didn’t just create advocates, they created famished fans, hungry for more of what these ladies had to offer.

I look forward to the official release of Julie and Julia, and I hope I’m right, that a trend will be born, a combustible reigniting of an interest in great cooking. The “Food Network”  has already helped spark this interest and fan it into a consistent flame, which is evidence through the food blogs that flourish with devoted readers. Of course, without Julia, I am not sure that the Food Network would have existed, because she is the one who created our initial love of fine food. I think this movie may make the flame spread like wildfire. I, for one, will enjoy the heat.

Julie and Julia will be released August 7th by Sony Pictures.