Giving What They Need vs. Giving What They Want

Go watch The Chef.

It is the best food-related film since Jiro Dreams of Sushi. There is an awesome soundtrack to accompany the food porn as well. With El Michels Affair & Roberto Roena playing on the background, it is automatic 4 stars for me. Also it has social media playing quite integral part in the storytelling, which was actually surprisingly fresh.

While the main plotline is a story about father and son, the movie is really about passion. Chef Carl Casper is bored in his job heading successful but predictable restaurant. The owner wants to play it safe, while Carl would want to make food he truly believes. After public meltdown and some social media trolling, he eventually finds his groove by putting on a food truck.

Does that sound familiar?

Do you feel that sometimes we are just doing what the client wants but not really what he needs?
That is essentially the biggest challenge in our work. People think they know what they want, but they don´t really know what they need. Consumers did not know they needed iPad, Crossfit or many other things. This applies to agency personnel as well. We might want to do something, but it might not be right for client either.

Working in kitchen is not that far away from working in agency. Both are balancing in this thin line of creative expression and commercial reality. Restaurants are essentially feeding you. Agencies are helping you sell more. How they do it is the most interesting bit. In both fields, there are three-start Michelin restaurants and there are fast food chains. The problems start when someone demands Bic Mac in Noma or vice versa. We are not artists in agencies, but we are not servants either.

We should always fight to have the most effective creative solution for the business problem. Sometimes it means giving tough love: both to clients and agency personnel. Ability to come up with ideas is one thing, but if you do not fight for those ideas, it does not really mean a thing.  If you are too eager to please, you are not really doing the right thing. I don´t regret any instance, when I have put my stake on the ground and tried to fight for the great idea. What I regret are the times, when I have let it go without a fight to avoid confrontation or make it more easy. Every time the end result has been crap (or at least not that good as it could be).

When you stop fighting for your work, it is time to quit.
Without passion, this field of work (and cooking as well) is just too draining. There are less time-consuming ways to get paid.

So let your passion show in your work every day. Sometimes that might mean raised voices, hurt feelings and occasional meltdowns.

But so what?

Those things make the difference between 3-star Michelin dish and the Bic Mac.

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