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Geogy Ross

What Shokugeki No Soma Can Teach You About Branding

A fantastic storytelling creates engagement, and engagement is what people strive for today

image via Tokyo Otaku Mode

Anime. When you hear this word, what will be your first impression? Otaku? Overpowered characters? Unreasonable fighting scenes? Girls with incredibly huge boobs? Sorry, just need to highlight that part because it’s the truth. Anyways, the point is, as corny as it seems, anime actually have great storylines, character development, and believe me, they teach us some incredible lessons – if you know which ones to watch of course.

So one day, after binge watching all three seasons of Kuroko no Basuke, I asked my sister what anime I should watch next. Her answer? Shokugeki no Soma. Well, to be honest, I was reluctant at first because it’s not sports anime – yes, I love sports anime, especially baseball – but if I survived watching Yakitate! Japan, I’m pretty sure I can survive this. As I watched this anime, and mind you, I finished up all four seasons in four days – I realised something; it sure hit real close to work. Let’s start with something simple first.

Focus and consistency. Totsuki Saryo Culinary Academy is an elite and illustrious culinary school for aspiring chefs where they not only boast the best but also the harshest culinary education; the harshest because students were sent home if they failed, making it only a handful of students that graduate from each year, and despite the tough expectations, students still want to attend Totsuki with parents even offering their life savings. Why is that? 

Gif via Reddit
Gif via Dtninja Village

Simple really. Totsuki is a brand that knows what they want to be and are driven to be the best culinary school. That is their focus and because of that clear focus, they consistently produced the finest chefs – the most skilled and sought after chefs in the world are from Totsuki, and some of whom are world famous. Similar to your brand, you need to have this essence; identify your niche, focus on that goal and stay consistent. Do not be the one that is unsure of everything or want to be everything. I mean, look at Google. Everyone knows Google because, well, they’re Google. What I’m trying to say is that identifying your real purpose will set your brand apart from your competition. 

Unique and authentic. The most prominent to show this factor is Yukihira Sōma, an energetic and optimistic guy who seems to be positive and cool under pressure all the friggin’ time! But what makes him different is, he is always thinking on how to evolve his cooking. Sōma’s forte has always been Japanese cuisine, and when it comes to other cuisines, he tends to have a tinge of that Japanese style in his dishes. During his Stagiaire or internship in Shino’s Tokyo, a French cuisine restaurant owned by Shinomiya Kojiro, he came out with an unconventional dish in which he created a quail dish that utilised the concepts of a donburi as the basis for it… in a French cuisine! I mean, who does that?

Gif via Pinterest

The message here is, why not learn from others but never replicate them? Always focus on what best describes you. Sōma was searching for his specialty while he was in Shino’s Tokyo and he found it while learning from him; the quail dish that he created was inspired from Shinomiya’s Chou Farci. Yes, his unique dish sets him apart from Shinomiya and a normal Chou Farci, and that is exactly what you should do because being a copycat of others will not only be hard for others to determine your brand but it will be tough to make out what special value you can offer.

Brand storytelling. It is no surprise that anime has a lot of narration and character development which makes it great at storytelling, Shokugeki included. Here we take the example of Shinomiya Kojiro. No doubt that he is not the main character but the way his character development says it all. From a troubled boy from Kyushu to a successful chef, it is the perfect way of brand storytelling. The struggle he faced to be where he is – building his image from scratch, and how by doing it shaped him as a brand that he is known for today in the eyes of the public.

Gif via Crunchyroll

So when we talk about brand storytelling, it’s about how potential customers can relate to the brand; like how humans can relate hardships to other humans, the same concept is implied here. It gives the brand a soul – what struggles it has experienced and the hardships that they have to go through and work it out. With this, the audience will feel more involved in the process and if the story is enthralling and customer-driven, let’s say the likeliness for a potential customer to stay loyal to your brand is pretty high because remember, a fantastic storytelling creates engagement, and engagement is what people strive for today.

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Geogy Ross
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Geogy Ross is Marketing In Asia's Editor-in-Chief. Connect with her on LinkedIn or reach her by email at geogy@marketinginasia.com.

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