EVERY STEP NEEDS TO BE REVOLUTIONARY
Following is the original entry for inclusion in BULL MARKET by SETH GODIN. Mission accomplished – we were included in the book. But, what’s equally important / impressive is the thinking that made this entry possible.
In my never-too-humble opinion, the thinking that ultimately resulted in the completion of this project was nothing short of revolutionary.
Back in the day we set out to demonstrate why clients should use our “idea company” in a most remarkable way.
But before we get to that, a little background. The genesis was a gradual realization, that came about over years of working together, that what we really were up to as a creative organization was developing ideas and innovative approaches for our clients, not simply marketing their products and services in the traditional sense.
The truth was what we brought to the table were ideas and new thinking that had immense added value. (Albeit, our compensation came at the back end, through the implementation of the programs we built.) There is nothing wrong with that model. But the juice for us… the thing that made us want to get up and come to work, was the challenge (and let’s be honest, good fortune) of really, authentically creating ideas for a living.
So, we set out to build a company that organizations would seek out to become their supplier of new thinking… new approaches… new systems… that would bring their products, their services and their companies to that elusive next level.
And though our previous experience was a testament to the fact that we ‘have the goods’ to deliver on our promise, we decided that creating a bold new idea that was revolutionary, something big that ‘changed the landscape’, would be the catalyst we would use to move our new company forward with velocity!
And so, we brainstormed.
Not just the idea, but also the very model of our brainstorming system itself. After all, we wanted to end up with not only a big idea, but we also wanted to transform the way we 'got' the idea to market in the first place. The only rule (apart from ‘there are no rules’) was this:
Every step needed to be revolutionary.
As most professionals in the creative industry will attest, there is an illusion that there is never enough time! The truth, of course, is that we precisely use the amount of time we are given. (Hands up those of you who have created a rationale in the car on the way to a client meeting…).
So, we started by challenging ourselves on this very fundamental notion of “not enough time”. If we were successful in shattering this paradigm, as they say, we’d have even more time for even more clients, or even better, have the luxury of Friday afternoons off.
We set out by (internally) creating this unreasonable challenge: revolutionize an everyday product from zero to ready for market/client/investor in 30 days.
It turned out to be a life-altering experience – not to be too dramatic.
Our task was this: REVOLUTIONIZE THE FRENCH FRY FROM ZERO TO CLIENT READY IN 30 DAYS.
Apart from changing their name to Freedom Fries, very little has happened to the fry over the years. Sure, they got curly, and maybe a little zestier at times, but that’s about it.
We started by learning everything we could about eating habits, nutrition, fast casual dining, potatoes, and fries – their history; cooking procedures; international customs; varieties of potatoes, and on, and on. (Turns out that the much love French fry is not French at all. Historians say that the fry originated in Belgium and is only called a French fry because the potato is French cut.)
We discovered a product called Belgian Frites – fries served in makeshift paper cones and topped off with a dollop of mayo. The more we explored this, the more we realized that we could redefine this offering to North American tastes and potentially develop the revolutionary concept we were searching for.
And refine it we did. We created a thick cut fry, meticulously prepared in our two-stage cooking process and served with our own creative selection of customized dipping sauces.
We developed a full brand persona including promotional activity, space plans, interior layouts, packaging, customer experience, investment projections and assumptions. The whole shebang.
The result – a brand new gourmet fast casual retail experience – Frïtz Belgian Dipping Fries and More.
The evolution of our original idea is a key factor worth underlining.
We started by revolutionizing the French fry. The end result was a customer experience based on DIPPING! Our unique cone packaging with a built-in dipping well, was ideal for our expanded offerings. Instead of simply fries with mayo on top, we created 12 original gourmet dipping sauces including roasted garlic mayonnaise, Asian peanut sauce, roasted red pepper mayonnaise, mint raita, sweet garlic sauce and basil pesto mayonnaise… (just to name a few to get your taste buds going!)
And we created a menu of not only frites but also mango salad rice paper rolls, leek and mushroom spring rolls, grilled vegetable flatbread rolls and even dessert items including chocolate, banana filo rolls (of course, we use only the finest Belgium chocolate.)
Frïtz was ready to revolutionize the fast casual dining landscape. And the model for how we got there is a living testament to the power of ideas!
And we completed this monumental task in exactly 30 days. Ironically, that’s precisely the amount of time we gave ourselves!