This past Friday, I had the pleasure of attending TechTrek at America’s Test Kitchen (ATK).
Prior to this event, I was unfamiliar with ATK and did not think a firm that posted recipes could differentiate themselves in such a competitive market. I could not have been more wrong. ATK is launching a new media venture to revive their company. During our visit to ATK, we had the pleasure to meet with the numerous executives in the firm, including the Director of Finance (and BC Alum), Jason Cote and Chief Digital Officer, Fran Middleton. For me, that was the first time I had ever met or had a presentation from a CDO. The presentation ATK put on was phenomenal. Other than the fact we were provided fresh cookies, steak, and pancakes, the presentation of the future of ATK was extremely eye opening. So before I go too deep into my post, what is ATK?
America’s Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Their mission is to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. Now, this may seem like any other cookbook or website to get recipes off of. However, ATK will pump thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to create the best recipe for you. ATK really pays attention to details and ensures that their recipe is the best. ATK attempts to replicate the customer experience as best as they can. For example, ATK purchases consumer ovens and fridges from retail stores (best buy, amazon, etc.) and also rate equipment for their users.
So what is this new media strategy? ATK has begun to take the next step and create a detailed digital strategy to stay ahead of their competitors and really interact with their customers. The readings from this week echo the same sentiment of how firms with a digital strategy and who know who their customers are the most successful. ATK is currently rebranding their three segments, America’s Test Kitchen, Cooks Country, and Cook’s Illustrated. ATK is honing in on who their customer is and trying to deliver superior service to their customers. Also, ATK is planning on rolling out a new mobile/tablet plan where people can access their content anywhere.
ATK is attempting to “catch up” to everyone else in the industry by going digital. Personally, after seeing their presentation and operations, I was highly impressed with the work they are doing and am extremely excited to see how their media strategy will propel them into the future.
Personally, I think ATK is risk averse in trying new things and are playing a more conservative role. However, that is okay because they know their customer and their value proposition is delivering superior recipes that no one else can beat. From being inside their operations and exploring their website, I could not think of any places for improvement they have not already addressed. ATK understands their pain points and are attacking them with great tenacity. From their cookbooks to online recipes to tv shows, I know ATK will thrive in the future. As a matter of fact, after that presentation they gained one more loyal follower, and hopefully you guys check them out for yourselves!
A special thanks to Jason Cote, Fran Middleton, and the ATK team for hosting us, we hope to come back in the future!
A special look inside their testing area!
Enjoying the delicious food provided!
For more information check out their website!