Bon Appétit relaunches the iconic brand with over 50,000 recipes and a nod to fairness and culture

To brine or not to brine? That is the question and Dawn Davis has the answer. The editor of Bon Appétit, the foodie bible that started 66 years ago as a liquor store giveaway, has breathed new life into the beloved brand, which today publishes its issue stimulus from December/January.

Davis took over as head of Bon Appétit two years ago amid some challenges and changes within the publication. His goal ? Restore trust in the brand and expand BA’s audience. And the way to do that, she says, is to think about your audience holistically and meet them wherever they are. And what underpins each channel’s success, according to Davis, is producing really good, diverse, and tested content.

“I came in and got the team to focus on the future,” Davis said. “All eyes are going to be on us and our content, so let’s get back to basics and create great content – ​​that’s what people are going to be talking about.”

Recipes, with an Equity and Culture side

Take a look at today’s issue and you’ll see a more modern BA. For starters, creative director, Arsh Raziuddin, and designer, Jeremy Mickel, teamed up to create the brand’s new typeface (aptly called appetizer!) and a new logo. But the changes go beyond aesthetics. In keeping with its commitment to fairness, the relaunch includes a highly diverse group of illustrators and photographers who more accurately reflect the brand’s audience and expanded culture-focused content, which is now shared across multiple channels.

To print

The relaunch includes new columns that give readers insight into the industry and provide helpful lifestyle tips. Small Plates, Big Opinions will explore what professional chefs are actually feeding their own kids at home (have you heard of Mejadra?). Healthyish My Way will feature different health practitioners and focus on the use of food as medicine. And, as BA audiences once again bend over to gather in person post-Covid, the brand will have a column on preparing relatively simple meals that feed a crowd.

Video

BA audiences clearly enjoy watching their content. The brand’s YouTube channel has over six million subscribers (a recent video of a day in the life of a line cook at a trendy Brooklyn restaurant already has over a million views!). On the Line video series, also available on the BA website, takes an inside look at restaurant kitchens and introduces audiences to the people who make the hospitality industry work. “We did a very important article on parenting in the hospitality industry,” Davis said. “You think childcare is difficult if you work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. What if you have a job that starts at 6 p.m.?”

Application

Epicurious, BA’s new app, is a virtual buffet of content, featuring more than 50,000 recipes from Gourmet, Epicurious and Bon Appétit, and will soon include recipes from BA’s sister brand, La Cocina Italiana. What’s remarkable about the app is the breadth and customization options, which combine to provide recipe suggestions that best suit the user’s food profile.

Podcast

SOS Dinner allows callers to present a culinary dilemma (a toddler who will only eat buttery pasta?) that BA food director Chris Morocco will attempt to solve. The caller chooses one of the two solutions and reports his results. “Real problems, real people, and real solutions from our extensive recipe archive of over 50,000,” Davis said.

Experiences

BA will soon host culinary trips abroad led by chefs and sommeliers, the first of which will feature Chef Stefano Secchi of Michelin-starred restaurant Rezdôra, who will take travelers through Italy’s Piedmont.

Restoring trust and managing growth

Davis joined BA in 2020 as the brand rebounded from reputational issues. She shared some tips that helped her get the brand on the right track, leading to today’s relaunch.

Growth is like cooking.

Davis said growing his team and audience during a difficult time for the brand required patience. “When you’re cooking and incorporating egg whites, you’re not doing everything at once. You do it bit by bit,” Davis said. “So as I grow our team and bring in new subscribers, I’ve had to accept that it’s a gradual process.”

Making institutional change is like planting a flower garden.

It takes time, Davis said. “You put the seeds in and enrich the soil, but it takes time for things to bloom.” The brand has made significant changes in its corporate culture and its values ​​that have taken root. Now they want the image to match. “What’s blooming now is this beautiful revamp where we took elements of BA that were already beautiful, and just made them a little more sophisticated. As we bring in new columns and new vocals, we wanted to that the look reflects that.

Talent is elastic.

Modernizing the brand and welcoming more diverse voices and perspectives helped Davis attract a young and dynamic team that was optimistic about the future and what the brand could create. And Davis acknowledged that those team members had varying skill sets. For example, she said, “My director at Conde Nast Entertainment, who works with me on video content, also wrote a story about the best new restaurants.”

Meet your audience where they want to be.

BA’s audience is diverse and consumes content in very different ways. So it was important for Davis to deliver content in a way that made it easy for her audience to engage. And it has led to well-approved strategies across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Podcast, Native App, Web, and Print.

Shortly after starting at Bon Appétit, Davis embarked on a listening tour and, together with her employees, developed the motto “We want to be the destination for what to put on the table and what to discuss around.” So if you’re still debating whether to brine your turkey this Thanksgiving, the pros at Bon Appétit say yes — check out this recipe to find out how. Bon appetit and happy Thanksgiving everyone!


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Rozella J. Cook