5 Things You Didn’t Know About…

Anna

We work with amazing people everyday from brands to influencers and everything in between. We lovingly call them our #CookItCrew and today were checking in with our Brand Strategist, Anna Fatlowitz. We asked and she told us 5 things we didn’t know about her!

  1. I was born in Thailand and lived there until I was two. I’ve been lucky enough to go back a few times, and experience things outside of a tourist lense. I’m finally going back as an adult later this year and can’t wait!
  2. Because I grew up eating a ton of authentic Isaan (northeast region) Thai food, I am seriously so picky. Pad Thai is actually one of my least favorite dishes, and there are about two places in NYC I actually approve of: Somtum Der and Jaiya.
  3. For some reason I’ve never liked sweets, so I always skip dessert unless other people want it. I’ve even asked to replace the dessert course on prix fixe menus!
  4. My favorite cuisine is Japanese, from sushi to soba to kaiseki and everything in between. I think I started eating sushi around age five. My first omakase definitely changed my life.
  5. I’m obsessed with dogs and getting a dog. I probably follow 100+ dog accounts on Instagram.

What’s Cooking: August

chocolate chunk shortbread cookies

 

In the summertime, the last thing we want to do is turn on the oven. That said, there are some recipes we’ll gladly suffer for. These are some of our team’s favorites from the past few sultry weeks.

dining in cookbook

Well, currently my head and heart have been dedicated and devoted to Alison Roman’s Dining In. This week, I made two batches of the Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread, one because everyone was talking about them, and the second because…I get it, I get it, they are delicious! Jackie, Senior Account Manager

strawberry balsamic pie

There is something so quintessential about pie and summertime. Every year, I pull out Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ recipe for strawberry balsamic pie. It’s a perfect crowd pleaser! Netanya, Social Media Manager

fruit salad

I’ve been obsessed for a bit now with salads that combine fruit, tomatoes, cheese and avocado. And I have no intention of stopping. This excellent version from our girl Haley of Brewing Happiness knocked the idea out of the park by adding chunks of country bread for a new take on panzanella. Laurie, CEO + Founder

almond pesto

This time of year, basil grows like a weed in my backyard (how lucky am I?). So I’m making all sorts of pesto variations. I love Deliciously Ella’s take on pesto, made with almonds instead of pine nuts. It has a more delicate flavor than the traditional version—all the better for a light summer meal. Renae, Senior Brand Strategist

Poached Eggs

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to learn and attempt to make poached eggs. This post and video by Lisa of Downshiftology is the perfect guide: It breaks down all the problems you could have and all the tips you’ll need. Now I can master brunch (in my pajamas)! Anna, Brand Strategist

mediterranean salmon

Salmon en papillote is a year-round staple (so easy and delicious), but we’ve been loving the Roasted Root’s Mediterranean twist. It’s incredibly flavorful and pairs well with leftover grains and leafy greens. Edie, Account Manager

 

 

The Brand Biz: What’s Your Story?

brand biz

At CookIt, we talk about “story” all the time. As consultants working to help you define your brand, crafting your story is our first step. Without that key piece, you are rudderless in a vast ocean of competition.

The good news is that, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, you always had the answer. Finding your story is the process of seeing that it was there all along.

Crazy talk, right? Don’t just take our word for it, try it. Follow this road, and let us know how it goes.

Picture your readers.

Who are they? What’s important to them? What’s really hard for them? What keeps them up at night? Once you feel like you know these things about your audience, go to the next step.

How can you help them?

Within your area of expertise, how can you help them? How can you solve a problem for them? What do you have to offer them that others don’t? Answer those questions, and go to the next step.

Why you?

What is it about you that qualifies you to be the authority your reader needs? Is it education? Life experiences? Values? Find that answer, and you will better understand your role in the story we’re writing. And then…

What’s so important?

Once you have a better understanding of who you’re talking to, how you’re helping them, and what it is about you that they trust and value, it’s much easier to grasp the importance of what you do. It may sound simple — it may be that they look to you for inspiration, for the motivation they need to stick to their goals. But that’s big for them. And that’s where you’ll find your story, and your opportunity!

The Brand Biz: Meet Your Reader

gathering
Photo by Ditte Isager

When it comes right down to it, there’s really only one thing you need to know about creating a successful brand: You need to know who you’re doing it for. We like to call this your Target Audience.

Without a strong sense of who your reader is, and what their problems (or “pain points”) are, it’s hard to know who you are. The trick is to understand your value through the lens of your reader, delivering content that both informs and inspires them.

But how do you find your Target Audience? Here’s how we like to do it!

4 TIPS FOR FINDING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

1. Check out your competitive set

Get to know the brands and blogs that share content similar to yours. Who are their readers, and how are they helping those individuals solve their problems?

  1. Determine what makes you unique

How are you different from the brands in your competitive set? Can you create a niche for yourself and envision an audience that needs you and your unique skills/perspective?

  1. Get to know your current readers

Study, stalk and talk to your loyal fans, the ones who subscribe to your emails and follow you on your social networks. What do they love about you? What do they ask you for more of?

  1. Create a persona

Combining characteristics of your loyal fans with those of your potential readers (those who will appreciate you for what makes you unique!), draw up a profile of your target reader, including the kinds of details that help you identify why she needs you!

The Brand Biz: Mind the Gap

Brand Biz
Belathée Photography, www.belathee.com

We’re not big on marketing speak, but there is one term we use a lot: Gap Analysis. To us, it’s a really useful technique for identifying the gap between your competitive set (basically, those influencers who create content similar to yours and appeal to an audience like yours) and your brand. There is something unique about you, and once you zero on that characteristic, it will help you see the “gap” in the marketplace. And that gap is yours to fill!

But how do you find that unique characteristic, that thing that will become the DNA of your brand? Here are a few tips to put you on that path to discovery:

Analyze your current brand position

  • What are you?

  • Who do you it for?

  • What do you do?

  • Why is it important?

Analyze your competition

  • Who are they?

  • What do they do?

  • Who do they do it for?

  • What are they doing right/wrong?

Identify your opportunity

  • What is unique about you?

  • What can your offer your readers that no one else can?

  • How can your unique characteristic inform your content?

  • How can your unique characteristic help your reader?