Marketing in Hell: 6 Lessons from Gordon Ramsey and Hell’s Kitchen

I’m a firm believer that you can draw business lessons from just about anywhere.  To take that thought a step further, I believe the best marketers are the ones who take in content, ideas and thoughts from the widest range of sources and have the keen ability to apply it to what they want to do.  So with that, I pull from the unlikely world of reality TV to present you with 6 marketing lessons.

6 Lessons from Gordon Ramsey and Hell’s Kitchen

  1. Protect your brand:  Who are you?  What do you do better than anyone else?  When people see your logo what do they believe?  Now defend that at all costs because in a world of knock offs, consistently delivering on that promise is the real value of a brand.  Gordon would rather turn customers away than serve food that isn’t perfect… especially if it’s RAW!
  2. Demand Integrity:  This is a way of protecting your brand.  Critics, share holders, directors, customers may scream cheaper, faster!  And neither of these are bad unless they are at the cost of integrity.  Ask any chef that passed through Hell’s kitchen if it’s OK to pre-cook some food, or use a canned vegetable.  They might still shutter from the memories of that mistake.
  3. Build Teams on Passion:  Find passion wherever passion may lie and develop that into the skilled teammate you need.  I’ve seen many a skilled cook vanish before a passionate one in Hell’s.  Passion can’t be faked, and when your people don’t have it neither will your products.
  4. Innovate, then innovate more then consider innovating:  You could argue that every episode of Hell’s Kitchen is exactly the same, which to a point is true.  But Gordon and the producers have brought clever idea after clever idea to the program and viewers still tune in by the droves.  Even within the constraints of TV and dramatic formatting they find a way to infuse creativity into every episode.
  5. SCREAM!  Sometimes literally scream what you have and why it’s awesome.  In each boisterous critique of a dish or chef Gordon is telling the world, “I demand the best, and that’s why you should come to my establishments.”  I’m sure he’s always had a strong voice, but adding a TV show gave him a megaphone on top of that.  Each scream echoes across the nation and reiterates his brand promise.
  6. Live your brand:  Hell’s Kitchen, Master Chef, Kitchen Nightmares… it doesn’t matter where you see the Man, it’s the same Gordon day, night, weekend.  Hell, I think if I were ordering some crappy food and he crossed my path he’d probably scoff at me for making a bad decision.  This relates to passion, but I wanted to expand it to show it doesn’t stop in the office.

Hope you enjoyed.  Comment here or on Twitter @RobJDay

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