A Google search for the term ‘recipes’ returns over 200 Million results !?! Thousands of sites offer free recipes on how to make everything, from Barefoot Contessa’s guacamole to knock offs of Reese’s Peanut butter cups. All for free. So how would someone selling a cookbook compete with free? This was what I wanted to hear for myself when I came across the cookbook Bite Me by Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat. Listen to my discussion with Julie in our latest “What’s Now What’s Next” Podcast.
Julie and Lisa used conversations and stories both in their book and on the book’s website to stand out and build relationships with consumers. Throughout the book, there are pop culture references, food shots with dollar store super heroes and song lists that have little to nothing to do with the actual cooking. Julie also writes stories to introduce each recipe, which share personal family stories, funny anecdotes, or simply cute tales that make you chuckle. These stories are often times longer than the recipe itself! All of these items expand the brand beyond recipes. Sure the recipes are great, but the Bite Me brand is about much more than that. People buy into Bite Me’s brand voice of a fun, irreverent and realistic cooking experience.
Julie explained to me in a recent NextCast how she works to include the consumer into the brand: “We wanted to take the intimidation factor out of cooking.” “Making these things approachable was important to us.” Bite Me puts the consumer into the fun cooking story of the Bite Me brand. Through the stories told by Julie and Lisa, consumers can see themselves being successful cooks, through the Bite Me brand.
The Bite Me website continues the conversations between the brand and consumers. Consumers are asked to share their own stories/recipes/party ideas. While much of this revolves around the book, its not a requirement. The website further cements the key talking points of the Bite Me brand – cooking/entertaining is easy and fun.
I’m sure you are asking yourself what this has to do with marketing. Julie and Lisa are basically demanding a premium for their brand. In a time when cookbooks are celebrity driven, Julie and Lisa don’t have a hit show on Food Network (yet) or own some nationally renowned restaurant. The Bite me brand is built on stories. Stories from the brand itself, but also stories from consumers who use the brand.
And it seems to be working, the book sold over 25,000 copies as a self published title in Canada, and is currently distributed in the US under Kyle books. Have a great product, define your brand voice and communicate the talking points often – people will pay for your brand.
Extra: Julie offered up a great recipe for our listeners – Chunky White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies – Enjoy!