In a previous Reporting In column I highlighted the importance for the baking industry of creating ’Brand Baker’. In the piece I aired the view that the industry needed to raise its profile and, in some way, make it stand out from the multitude of careers available, so that the recruitment of new blood into the profession became that much easier.
So, a couple of years down the road, where are we in relation to achieving a higher public profile for the industry? Well, there has certainly been more mainstream media attention paid to our noble craft. In particular, the series of programmes run on BBC 4 in 2010, as well as The Great British Bake Off and Baking Made Easy (aired on BBC2) has gone some way to generating greater interest in our profession.
It is also heartening to see that certain elements of the industry have started to publicise the virtues of baking in other ways. National Craft Bakers’ Week, organised by the NAMB, appears to be showing some benefit in raising the profile of the high street baker. It is also encouraging to see that this initiative is actively working with schools, which makes sense, as they are now educating the next generation of career searchers.
The move to differentiate ourselves from general catering and the raising of our wider profile, I would suggest, is under way. The questions I now pose are:
1. How joined-up is our thinking around this whole issue?
2. What industry-wide strategy is in place to build on the positive things that are happening already, so that the benefit is shared by all?
It is only by the industry being united around these strategic issues that the full potential can be realised.