On the one hand, enjoyment is an entirely individual experience, on the other hand, we – as a society – have a common idea of what “enjoyment” means. We base this idea on changing views within society about the nature of “consumption”, “quality of life”, “values” and “true needs.” Given that everything we do at 5W is centered around people’s needs, a more in-depth analysis of this issue has proved fruitful for our work. Whenever there is a chance to combine enjoyment and business design in a convincing manner that will prove productive for both the client and us, we are always excited to seize that opportunity. Such projects always pertain to valuable culture and different forms of culture, to deeply ingrained traditions as well as to groundbreaking visions for the future. Most of all, these assignments are about communication, for only communication offers us a way to share enjoyment.
Creating a Cult Brand for Grilling
The Weber Way of BBQ
Together with a dedicated marketing team and managing director for Weber-Stephen Central Europe, we pulled Weber out of a mishmash of BBQ brands, transforming the “developing market” of Germany, Austria and Switzerland into the darling of Weber markets worldwide. We did so with a visual language that highlighted the signs of the times in an entirely new way: Barbecuing is not about the grill but rather about a way of life and an attitude towards enjoyment. Therefore, it is not only about providing customers with high-quality, long-lasting products but also about providing the know-how and a sense of quality “beyond the grill.” The product catalogue was transformed into an exciting, award-winning food magazine that is able to hold its own at the newsstand when compared to other industry publications. Weber was the first BBQ brand to launch a TV ad in Germany. The “Weber-Grillakademie” has conferred grilling know-how to thousands across Germany. And Berlin saw the opening of the first Weber flagship store worldwide – a brand experience with a special indoor grilling area.
Weber has achieved cult status within the industry and has become synonymous with BBQ culture overall.
The Steak Knife from Tramontina –
The long-established Brazilian company Tramontina has a brand presence in 120 countries, offering 18,000 products, mostly within the Americas and Asia. For the planned market entry of its business division “Knives & Cutlery” in Europe we were called upon as brand consultants. The first, crucial question we asked: What products could possibly compel the industry to notice a new brand given that the German market for knives and scissors is already rife with multiple strong competitors? Among them, some big traditional German brands with strong international reputation. Roadblock #2: Cultural bias. Can a Brazilian company compete within the “Made-in-Germany” league? Are aspects, such as enjoyment and savoir-vivre, of any relevance within a nation of humorless engineers?
We traveled to Brazil to better understand our client, its products and its culture. In turn, we invited the client to Germany for them to better understand their target market. Together, we developed a brand story that could not be more authentic and moving, relating to a very old, deeply ingrained Brazilian meat culture, and to the world of gauchos.
Bull’s Eye – Each and Every Time
German wine is gaining ground! Not only within Germany, where consumers tended to snub the local offerings, but also internationally. For an increasing number of consumers wine is now synonymous with a new food culture. This is partly due to winemakers raising their game and also due to a minor revolution in wine marketing – for years the industry’s poor cousin. German wine today is cool, and winemakers are able to gain celebrity status. Redesigns and wine bars are everywhere, and the bar has been raised for extraordinary branding.
The arms race for loudest brand calls for ever increasing fireworks. In our opinion, this is barking up the wrong tree. In the long-term, a consistent, convincing personality will win over those shouting loudest right now. A personality that backs the product, giving it its individual stamp. Brand development for us is therefore, first and foremost, a personality analysis, a point best illustrated in form of a personal story that is received well by the extremely heterogeneous marketplace of wine consumers today. In 2011, Dr. Simone Adams from Ingelheim established her own wine brand – AdamsWein. As a passionate hunter she started to grade her products according to their “caliber”, i.e., depending on the respective “piercing force” of each wine. All visuals related to AdamsWein are based on its owner’s personality and that of her products. Strong-willed, yet able to connect to popular culture. Self-confident, but not loud. Quality-oriented, but not dressed-up.
Codfish, Cherry Blossoms, Sake, Olive Oil With Black Rice.
Cook It. Taste It. Love It.
Codfish is a delicacy and should make any day that it is served into a day to be revered. Preferably, MSC-certified and fresh – never frozen.
Start by cutting a leek in half and steaming its white parts in sweet cream butter, together with a swig of water, and then use it to layer the bottom of a (covered) baking dish.
Marinate the cherry blossoms (between 0.35 and 0.52 oz. for a group of 4) in slightly less than half a cup of sake. In the meantime, cook the black rice in double the amount of water – without adding any salt! Remove the cherry blossoms, add 1 to 2 tbsp. of olive oil to the sake and mix well. Use high-grade oil, such as Balduccio (www.balduccio.it or www.artefakten.net).
While choosing the cod, one should opt for the skinless back filet; approx. 5 oz. per person will do. After turning over the fish pieces within the oil-sake mix, place them on the leeks. Pour the remaining mix on top. Place the blossoms on top of the fish pieces, and then place everything into the oven – covered with a lid – at 350 °F top and bottom heat. The biggest challenge is to determine when it is done. Preferably, the fish should remain slightly translucent. When this is the case, carefully remove the fish from the baking dish, and set aside, keeping it warm.
Bring the leeks and the emulsion again to a boil, then remove the leek’s leaves, which are no longer needed and can serve as a small snack. Make a bed of the cooked rice, place the fish on top, and pour the salty sake-oil emulsion over it. The whitish emulsion will blend with the black color of the rice, resulting in a beautiful shade of egg plant. The plate’s “Snow White” color lends it a certain degree of morbid beauty. The aroma of the fish, and the nutty scent of the rice, as well as the slightly grassy olive oil give the dish a captivating scent. Together with the unique taste of the cherry blossoms, the dish in its entirety is pure poetry.
Variations of this dish can be found at Ingo Holland’s, as well as on the website of an exquisite sake dealer (www.japan-gourmet.eu) who sells both the sake, as well as the Japanese cherry blossoms in exceptional quality.
Un plaisir divin!
A culture of enjoyment is not limited to haute cuisine, its magic moments can even be experienced in a simple slice of bread and cheese. This is what is so wonderful about it.
What is enjoyment for you, Michael?
5W Kitchen Interview
What is so special for you about “enjoyment”?
It is special because it is an essential and vital ingredient of our culture that seems increasingly skewed. On the face of it, we appear to become more and more hedonistic, yet, what is rather the case is that we appear to be losing our sense of enjoyment. For large parts of our society eating is now a marginal issue. For the most part, these people don’t care what they eat as long as it is readily available and cheap. Food scandals and an excessive number of cooking shows do not seem to have changed any of this. However, those who eat nothing but inconsequential, tasteless food will not be able to develop an appreciation for food. And, as we know: There is no true enjoyment without appreciation. Another part of society, that is growing rapidly, is doing the opposite: Looking at food only from ethical, functional and dietary angles, with the actual quality and taste being secondary. These are the vegan/organic/fairtrade/paleo/low-carb/lactose and gluten free/etc. label consumers.
Is it fair to group all of this together?
In certain respects, yes, but we might need to dig a little deeper. In itself each one of these “labels” is often valid and meaningful. Fair Trade can serve as a great and powerful tool—if based on the right product quality. And whoever attaches importance to “buying organic” has a right to be fairly sure that certain standards are maintained. Organic products, however, can be just as bad as conventional ones if they don’t taste of anything. They can even have worse carbon footprints if shipped half around the globe to reach consumers who blindly buy “organic” under the assumption of doing “the right thing” —for themselves and the environment. By no means am I opposed to organic food, but the most important factors for me are taste and authenticity of a product, for these are the real foundations of a true food enjoyment culture. Unfortunately, many people tend to “enjoy” products simply because they are “cheap” or because they meet certain ethical or dietary “label” requirements.
Isn’t an increased interest in certified products a sign of changed attitudes?
Looking at the media landscape, this certainly appears to be true. In certain parts of society habits do seem to change, yet this is still a fairly small percentage of the overall population. In Germany, organic meats, for example, do have a ridiculously small market share of just 2 percent; and this might even include a larger part of products that barely meet the requirements, i.e., they are to be considered “industrial organic.” And there are many, many examples of people who still have no clue whatsoever. One of the German food magazines features regular interviews with celebrities (and would-be celebrities). In one interview, a TV starlet proudly pronounced that she was eating sushi almost every day. How cute is that. She seems to believe that this is considered “healthy” or somehow “hip.” Maybe, heightened mercury exposure over time has led to a case of mental decline. Of course, it seems reasonable to think: Before the oceans are depleted by these dumbasses, I might as well eat that fish myself. Needless to say that would be the wrong approach.
This sounds as if we`re heading up a blind alley in terms of enjoyment and nutrition.
Fortunately, not quite, given that there is, indeed, some movement in the right direction. It just needs to register with more people. This could be helped by much more and better communication. The wine industry, for example, has managed to reverse an economic downward trend. First and foremost this was done by improving the product and by moving from mass production to regional-specific, high-quality wines. What is more, by also focusing on issues such as brand development, including a gradual image change, it was possible to move away from merely serving “booze cruises” and only selling wine locally within the wine-growing region. Today, German wine is “cool.” What used to be filled into rummer glasses, enjoyed by senior citizens, is now a luxury lifestyle product. This saved German wine culture, injecting it with a lot of new momentum.
How about other industries, such as alternative food manufacturers? Shouldn’t they be able to learn from this?
Those companies are not asleep, of course. They are increasingly trying to position food quality as a lifestyle factor rather than lecturing consumers, as they used to do. Recently, I attended a Slow Food consumer fair, and I was fascinated by the fantastic products on offer, even though the “slow food” label in itself is still no guarantee because the criteria remain too vague. Nonetheless, for me there was a eureka moment every few yards, even when looking at supposedly “simple” products, such as bread and potatoes, or even cold cuts. The latter contained what most of us would not necessarily want on our plates, such as the “lower-grade” pieces of meat. Those, as well as the fatty, marbled sections are full of flavor, though, in breeds that have been kept and processed in the right way. The Hermannsdorfer Landwerkstätten’s Brawn in aspic jelly and tongue sausage are real revelations and cases of true poetry!
These products, however, would be rather expensive, we suppose, and not available in large quantities that could serve as mass products, am I right?
Of course, this would need to be considered the high-end of meat culture that comes with a higher price tag. Whoever wants to spend less can do so by following a simple rule: Less, but better. After all, we are all eating too much meat anyway. However, there is an example of scaling high quality for a mass audience without going back to all the shortcomings of large-scale livestock farming. It is something, the “Bäuerliche Erzeugergemeinschaft Schwäbisch Hall” was able to prove to the entire industry. This association of agricultural enterprises has 1,500 members, mostly small-scale farmers that follow strict BESH animal husbandry rules and market their meats through their own slaughterhouse and distribution network. By taking advantage of the entire value chain, they are able to negotiate reasonable prices while keeping the products affordable and maintaining exceptional quality. An ingenious concept! Not least because the cost for both marketing and communication can be combined; these indispensable tools are still “feared” by many alternative food producers.
Why do you consider enjoyment as “vital”, as stated above?
Because it is an integral part of our culture. From the beginnings of our civilization, we have been trying to refine our feeding instinct to foster a culture of enjoyment. The same applies to the need for communication that has spawned the visual arts, music, and literature. At times of “basic survival”, these areas, too, experienced decadence and neglect. During times of crises, culture declines. During times of affluence we should try to restore the sense of enjoyment and develop it further based on the given situation. We don’t need culture to maintain a “vegetative state”, we need it in order to live.
The Honorable Bakery Brand
The baking industry has seen profound structural changes in the past years. Large bakery chains employing highly industrialized production methods and cut-throat pricing are gaining market share while replacing small, individual bakeries. What is more, the industry sector is experiencing a shortage of well-trained, dedicated professionals. The only way for medium-sized companies to survive in this highly destructive environment is by offering individual, top-quality products, employing a strategic business design and targeting a quality-conscious, enjoyment-oriented customer base. The regional family business, Bäcker Dries from Rüdesheim, has been supplying fresh bakery products to the Rheingau region for generations. Together with 5W’s Board of Directors and consultant and cultural capital producer Jan Teunen, the bakery commissioned us to develop a forward-looking re-positioning and a redesign of the “Dries” brand. For the interior design, Dutch artist Dorine De Vos was called in as a special consultant.
Central to the branding process was a return to traditional values handed down within the company, and to the people behind the brand – on the one hand founding great-grandfather Dries, who’s image is now part of the company’s logotype, and on the other hand today’s employees, highlighted by the claim: “Gute Leute – gute Produkte” (“Good people, good products”). With its new brand, several awards for its quality products and design, as well as a clear differentiation from its mainstream competitors, the company is now on a steady growth path, slowly reclaiming its home market with a line of now 20 bakeries within the region.