Chocolates Inspired By Sculptures

Brilliant pastry chefs and chocolatiers fascinate me. Oriol Balaguer was born into the profession. He apprenticed at an early age, in his father’s pastry and chocolate shop in Barcelona. By the age of 23, after having worked in the kitchen of former "San Pellegrino#1 in the World Chef" Ferran Adria, Oriol was named “Best Pastry Chef in Spain”. He has since won every award imaginable in his field, including “Best Dessert in the World”, “Best Book in the World”, “Best Gastronomy Shop in Madrid” and “Best Gastronomy Website in Spain”.

Great pastry chefs and chocolatiers employ a variety of skills in tandem: Artistry and technique, a sophisticated sense of aesthetics, chemistry, physics, experimentation, graphic design, retail presentation, package design, and a love for analogies. In recent years the best have also become adept at social media, photography and videography (since everyone loves gorgeous food images), marketing, and thoughtful timing of new item introductions, to keeps fans interested in seeing the latest: akin to the practices of successful fashion and cosmetics brands.

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Inspired by Architects & Designers

Oriol is always on the hunt for new inspirations. Many of his chocolates, like the unusual curved shapes above, were inspired by architects, including Spaniard, xcduardo Chillida and American, Richard Serra.

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Looking Beyond One’s Own Borders

While Oriol has managed to master croissants, winning “Best Artisan Butter Croissant in Spain”, he took the challenge even further and imagined an international line, introducing a new country version each month.

The Moroccan Croissant

The Moroccan Croissant I tried last week was the most delicious croissant I’ve ever eaten: Rich, buttery, flaky and slightly chewy, with whole dates on top and a luscious filling of date puree, sesame, pistachio and azahar (orange blossom). The special croissant package includes the image of a globe. Regulars look forward to seeing what new flavor will debut each month.

Surprise & Timing

The way Oriol times the introduction of new products creates a sense of anticipation and discovery for his customers.

  • Monthly concept cakes
  • Monthly croissants
  • Pastries and chocolates inspired by current events such as the huge Barça soccer team win
  • New collections twice a year (in the spring/summer and fall/winter)

It’s fun for customers and gives Oriol the opportunity and motivation to keep on innovating, which is his passion.

What Companies Can Apply

6 lessons marketers can take away from the way Oriol innovates include:

  • Self-imposed needs and deadlines to invent continuously, force firms to never stop innovating (Oriol’s monthly concept cakes & international croissants, and 2 new pastry ad chocolate collections a year). Aside from keeping loyal fans coming back for more, a continuous stream of wow factor products creates more viral and Instagram opportunities and keeps creative teams inspired.
  • Involving more of the senses helps products be more fully appreciated and remembered.
  • Careful thought to packaging and merchandising, surprising beyond the expected, sets products apart and reinforces quality perceptions.
  • Going beyond typical geographic borders for inspiration opens a world of new ideas: Oriol’s croissants of the world have never been done before.
  • Current events can be a great source of inspiration. If the turnaround time to market is quick, pre-empting competitors, the innovations cab immediately resonate and be highly viral.
  • Looking to other disciplines is another great source of inspiration: In Oriol’s case, it was sculpture, design, fashion, customs, traditions, and music.

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