Modern marketing ? Watch the sushi cook !

At Sony Germany we were using the metaphor of the Japanese restaurant to picture the ideal work relationship between marketing and sales teams.

From there I started realising the Japanese restaurant, cook, and sushis offer lots of interesting analogies to articulate modern business concepts in easy words that anyone would understand.

I’ve used such analogies a lot when addressing international audiences on topics relating to marketing, value proposition and business design, or digital transformation. Here are some of them.

Unique flavours

Each product or service should have a unique flavour, nicely differ from others. It should have a daring personality to stand out.

Modular design

Like sushis, products or services should be thought through with modular design and complement the others, articulate into a consistent menu to match customers hunger as it grows (options, cross and up-selling).

Mass customisation

Always give the impression to deliver something that is unique to the receiving person, even if it’s a one fits all. Digital technology, automation, is here to help.


Each sushi should address a well identified group of individuals with common tastes and habits, it should bring them full satisfaction. Deep understanding is key, picture them.


Like in the sushi restaurant, agility to adapt to customers wishes and rythm requires a good mastery of empathy, testing, quick iterations. Agile governance and tech is key.

Customer experience

Customers should feel in control, deciding on the what when and how, in their own way, in a seamless experience. The chief cook and server should care without being intrusive.

Quick testing

Continuous testing helps confirm assumptions before investing, leads to scaling, adjusting or stopping fast. It’s all about small bites first (prototyping).


Good marketing tech is the essential conveyor belt that helps deliver the seamless user experience; that helps instantly measure and adjust.

Open kitchen

Being in direct contact with their customers, chief cooks get their immediate voice to iterate, stop or create new flavours. Customers get involved in a co-creation.

Contextual selling

There’s no better moment to introduce an additional dish than when the first one is consumed: you liked this one, should consider that one.

Closed loop

Marketers and sales should work hand in hand into a customer-centric closed loop; like the cooks with the customer-facing servers in the restaurant.

Inspiring menu

Marketers and sales should work hand in hand into a customer-centric closed loop; like the cooks with the customer-facing servers in the restaurant.

Social talks

Not the product itself but all the small talks around the table get the attention of the audience and finally lead to to the dish. It’s all about story telling & sharing first.

Word of mouth

Like for the sushi restaurant, recommendation should be facilitated by various physical and digital mechanisms that include sharing, testimonials and rewards.


Customer’s the boss, the obsession. All employees deserve full attention too. Turn the restaurant into a fantastic place where all gather into great new experiences.