17 Jun Communicating Our Excellence Through Story

Our dedication to excellence is not only visible in the food products we deliver, it is evident in everything we do, and every one of our employees embodies our philosophy.

Our passion for sourcing the best ingredients in the world, for the chefs and food stores who hunger to be recognized as second-to-none, means we have stories to tell, and as our e-commerce manager, Michael Picard learned, during his stay at the Digital Elite Camp in Estonia, one of the best ways to raise awareness about products is not by making a product features video, but by making a product story video.

This is the reasoning behind our own excellent video “A Passion For Food“.

Telling stories about our products, and about our high standards allow us to put modesty on the back burner for a while. After all, we have a lot to be proud of, and this gives us many ways to show the outside world that Qualifirst is a company they can trust and should be buying from.

Everyone on our leadership team is a subject matter expert, and no one was parachuted in. This is something we need to communicate as we reach out to people.

For example, our desire to always keep on learning and pushing ourselves to be the best, not only to have the best product but at a price and a level of service that keeps customers coming back, leads us to find and acquire exclusive rights for the best products.

That’s an exciting and attractive term for consumers: exclusive.

When people have access to exclusivity of any type, they feel special. That is a story worth telling.

Leaders’ Expertise:

The Qualifirst leaders each have something very special to contribute to the stories that we will tell the world.

Yves’s Expertise:

Yves Farges has been involved in gourmet foods since childhood.

He was more or less born into gourmet foods. Far-Met Importers, founded by his father Michel Farges is one of Canada’s pioneers in gourmet Foods. Far-Met introduced Foie Gras, Perrier, Bonne Maman Jam, and Boursin Gourmet Vinegars to Canadian kitchens.

Yves has traveled the world, visiting factories since he was a child, and he has attended many of the top gourmet foods trade shows around the world for over 30 years.

Yves is considered one of the specialty food experts in Canada.

Ray’s Expertise:

I, myself, have dual expertise, both in management and thorough product knowledge.

When I started with Qualifirst over 25 years ago, I built up an encyclopedic knowledge of our products. I knew every single product, the product code, price, how much we had on hand and how much we had on order.

I got to know every single customer and what they purchased. Although I have now passed this responsibility onto others, I maintain a thorough understanding of what we do, and of how the company runs on both a technological side and in day-to-day operations.

I also am constantly looking for ways to improve how we run the company to stay ahead of the competition.

Brigitte’s Expertise:

Brigitte also has dual expertise, both in product knowledge as well as in organizing and pushing our service level to ever higher plateaus of achievement in our warehouse, operations and our accounting.

Brigitte started with Qualifirst in 1993 right after we were married. She has a complete knowledge of our products and helps in the testing and selection process.

Our back-office process allows us to keep a golden reputation with our suppliers with regards to our accounting and payments. Treating suppliers with respect and paying them promptly is important in acquiring and keeping access to the best of the best.

Jodi’s Expertise:

Jodi brings market knowledge, innovative ideas, a constant search for the next trend and thorough product knowledge.

Jodi started with Qualifirst in 2006 in the warehouse. From there she moved to accounting, and then transferred to Vancouver to run our operations there.

She is now in charge of purchasing, marketing, sales management and overseeing operations in both Vancouver and Toronto. Grouping all these functions into one gives Jodi a 360-degree view of the product chain from selection all the way through to sale – a perspective that no one in a company our size normally has.

This gives us a further advantage since it eliminates conflicting agendas and allows us to react quickly in the company’s best interest.

Jodi’s versatility, experience and high standards has helped us lower costs while maintaining top quality, as well as helping us land olive oil contracts with major restaurant chains, launch 2 successful new lines of bitters, and acquire our two “passion” customers in Vancouver, Beta 5 and Bella Gelateria.

Telling Our Stories to the World:

Moving forward we will tell our stories, through social media. Our video delivers a clean, precise and attractive testament to our passion and commitment to excellence.

Yves will continue to communicate his expertise in person, by blog and by newsletter. Yves can write about food in a way that truly reflects our extensive expertise.

This is valuable information for our customers. His writings are not only thorough, but they include stories that cannot be found anywhere else. This gives us a true and unmatchable advantage over the competition.

Yves’s blog is called World of Quality. He already has five blog posts done (as of June 2014), and he intends to post one article a week.

Yves will also be making presentations and speeches so as to continue to deliver his expertise in person, and we intend to make additional videos with him, each of which will tell a story about one of our products.

Jodi will continue communicating her expertise by blog and by newsletter. Her investigations into food market trends will be communicated in a monthly Jodi’s Market Report, and it will include an “Ask Jodi” button to maximize engagement and to deliver answers to readers’ questions.

I will be connecting with people in a way that goes beyond our passion for food, and instead will talk about who we are in an authentic way, so that we can attract the right partners:

  • Suppliers who think like we do, and who like how we work;
  • Customers who understand who we are and why we do what we do;
  • Future employees whose talents and attitudes match what we are seeking as we plan our growth.

My goal is to publish blog posts both about who Qualifirst is, based on our weekly Employee Contact emails and also about leadership insights that I have gained from being part of Qualifirst’s executive team, as well as from the books I read.

I already have 8 posts and plan to post one of each once a per week under the title Ray’s Blog.

Raising awareness with Baskets:

Another way in which we plan to communicate our stories is through two types of sample baskets: our WoW Discovery Basket and the Monthly Basket.

Wow Discovery Basket:

Qualifirst's woow discovery baskets to raise awareness on our productsWe have created a WoW Discovery Basket to allow people to try our products. This is a small box with $10.00 to $20.00 worth of product that will allow people to discover who we are and the types of great products we provide.

This basket is intended to start building awareness and trust, from which business relationships can be built.

Monthly Deal Basket:

We will also create a monthly basket where people can get a deal on a group of products so they can try out new products that they might not otherwise notice. This again will contain items that we select, and that we are able to provide on a special offer basis, with the objective of getting them to try to taste the difference and become hooked on us.

I believe strongly that we will gain even greater market share by reaching out to people in a way that will genuinely affect them.

These will be our stories: in video, in blogs, in presentaions, and as real samples – connecting with people and helping them become part of the world of excellent food, which is where we live. ??? not too sure about this one

Weekly Quote:

“Picture your brain forming new connections as you meet the challenge and learn. Keep on going.”

― Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

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