By Ian Thurston, Senior Marketing Communication Manager
Millennials value authenticity and experience, leading them toward artisan and craft goods. Symrise NA engaged with Millennials to better understand the meaning of “craft.” We discovered that it was a multi-dimensional concept answering personal and social needs including the powerful need for love. For artisans, they show their love through the attention and craftsmanship they put into their products which are in turn respected and honored by the receiving consumers who understand the time and effort put into making such a special product.
The Symrise team also participated in a “Craft Trek” in Brooklyn, NY to see how each element of craft is being expressed in real life. We used “lateral thinking” to translate what was happening in each location on the trek into learnings. We combined our observations/learnings on the trek with our learnings from millennials to build actionable insights about how to create craft food and beverage products.
Show Love through Blood, Sweat and Tears
Hard work does not go underappreciated when it comes to craft. Consumers, Millennials especially, want to know the process and thought behind what they are consuming; they don’t want something that necessarily comes easy. They want to taste and experience every ounce of drive and passion that went into its creation. At Blue Bottle Coffee, each coffee region has its own personality and they like the coffee to speak for itself. This is done through simplicity – letting the product do the job visually & with its aroma – and respecting the hard work from farmers, importers, exporters, roasters so everyone can be proud. Buyers travel with the farmers nine months out of the year to source the perfect coffee beans, sometimes at very high altitudes. Even their servers are held to a higher standard; each month, they have training days and exams to keep them in the know and able to impart knowledge expertly to the consumers. That way, nothing is lost from first “hello” to the first hit of aroma to the last drop in the mug.
Consumers value brands that make a genuine connection and show that the creators are so passionate and so excited to share the information that they can’t help but fall in love. It comes down to celebrating uniqueness and letting the personality of the product shine through in order to cultivate a long-lasting consumer to product relationship.
Stand the Test of Time
Craft needs to be honored, respected and protected to ensure that knowledge is passed on from generation to generation, whether through the creators or through the consumers who fall in love with a brand and passing that love on from person to person. In the present, in order to achieve this, artisans have to be willing to put the time in. They have to be committed to the process, persevere and be patient. It is in the pursuit of perfection that comes a blinding and all consuming passion, love and affection for creating, and if done correctly, will last in the hearts and minds of consumers. Every detail needs to be imbued with love, like at Brooklyn Museum where there is so much care that goes into each piece of art from mounting it to the glass that protects it. The Egyptian art pieces display the craftsmanship of the time and were extremely detailed and lasted thousands of years thanks to the love and attention that went into preserving the exquisite craftsmanship. It was amazing to see how each artisan would focus on one specific aspect of creating a tomb – the true definition of love and attention.
Be True to Yourself
For those creating craft goods, the passion and love for the product so often is a deep-seeded affection felt for a long time. It’s not a passing fancy, and they can often remember exactly when they knew they found their calling. At the Brooklyn Museum, Kathy Zurek-Doule was very artistic from a young age and started making dresses at just five years old. That passion never went away and only continues to grow; for her every day is like school as she continually learns and hones her knowledge and skill set. It motivates her and feeds her curiosity that she then passes on to the visitors of the museum. The very act of passing her passion on to others is a main driver for Kathy.
For Aaron Nice, Store Development Manager of Blue Bottle, coffee has been his passion since he was 11 years old and it still drives him today. For those two and countless other craft entrepreneurs, their drive comes from pursuing the dream of their childhood. This adds another level of respect for consumers enjoying their products. They know the creators did something we all preach but rarely accomplish: never giving up on their dreams.