Making Creativity a Priority: The Origins of Business Success and Innovation

As an entrepreneur with a passion for delicious food and good health, I have some straightforward advice for executives who want to know the secret ingredient, pun intended, to creating a powerful brand. In a word: Creativity. That is, creativity must define your approach to product development, sales, marketing, promotions and the establishment of a culture where these ideals redound to the benefit of both your employees and consumers.

This point has added importance for me because, in my role as the Founder ofWonderfully Raw Gourmet, I owe my professional success to making creativity a priority, not an afterthought or even a luxury that only a handful of workers receive as credit for logging the most hours or reciting the company line, so to speak. For example: By reinventing the way we think of specific snacks and treats – by transcending the manufacture of an ordinary cookie or potato chip, by fostering a movement (a revolution, really) of superb taste and sound nutrition – we give shoppers a choice, not an echo, while simultaneously reaching an even wider group of consumers.

On a practical level, this form of creativity starts with an assertion or a first principle: That I want to eliminate the false choice between having to sacrifice savory flavors for all-natural, organic ingredients. In other words, the richness of Mother Nature does not – and should not – taste like “medicine,” a chalky and dry eat-it-because-it’s-good-for-you bar or substance, which makes you wince with each bite. Changing that situation is, again, about creativity.

In fact, cooking is a creative medium – trial-and-error defines the process – where you seek to realize a specific goal. Think of the finalized product as something, which bears your signature, as in an original work by Sequoia Cheney (yours truly) or Wonderfully Raw Gourmet. Now, apply that concept to your business, and the result should be the same.

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For, no matter your industry or intended audience, the only way to distinguish your business in a competitive market

place is with a creative product. Compare that strategy to the misguided route too many companies pursue, where they reverse the order of things

So, yes, creativity is the reason our products – from Coco-Roons to Snip Chips to Brussel Bytes – have distinctive names and distinctive ingredients. (A reminder: In response to the question, “What’s in a name?” the answer is: A lot, but not everything. Which is to say, a memorable name is important, but that name is meaningless if the contents – the snacks and treats – are bland or just ordinary. The name is the final touch, the curlicue to your signature, where the words elicit passion, enthusiasm and wonder.)by deploying creative marketing first without any regard to whether they have a creative product. Or, a great product and great marketing equals success, while great marketing and a mediocre product results in disappointment (by consumers) and failure (for a company).

Also, in this world of creativity, remember to put yourself first. For example: I create the products I want because I want them, period, not because a survey or focus group tells me to do so. Indeed, I write these words – with energy and outstanding healthbecause I put myself first, not in a selfish or egotistical way, but in a manner where I can share my discoveries with the world.

And, chief among my discoveries and love for creativity, is the union between the finest organic ingredients and exceptional taste: The creation of foods, which represent a lifestyle, one where I have the joy of meeting people who derive inspiration from what I (and my gifted coworkers) do.

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My final advice, to executives of all interests, is a reiteration of my core beliefs and standards. Simply stated, be creative – be free – so you can be successful. If that means your products are superior because you do not compromise quality – you enhance it – then consumers will pay a premium for such excellence. If that also means your job is fun – that you have a duty, for your own health, to revel in this convivial atmosphere – then your work will reflect that confidence.

Let creativity guide you, so you can be more dynamic, original and exciting. The rewards will blossom alongside your adventure. The journey is

well worth your time, and sublime in its lessons (for you and all who join you). Enjoy!

Sequioa Cheney, Founder of Wonderfully Raw Gourmet, which creates a series of distinctive, delicious, organic, all natural snacks, treats and bite-size morsels, which are also raw, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free.


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