This is a transcript for an episode of Branding Love Letters, which is available wherever you listen to podcasts.

Find your platform by clicking the love letter:

"Instant Pot: Recipe For Building Brand Loyalty" — Amy Lawrence, Food Blogger

Amy Lawrence (00:00): Hello, I am Amy and I create healthy gourmet recipes. And this is my love letter to Instant Pot.

Sam Thorogood (00:21): Welcome to Branding Love Letters, exploring the emotions brands evoke and the journeys they take us on. I'm Sam Thorogood, a graphic designer and your host. In each episode, I invite a guest to pick their favourite brand and unpack why it means so much to them. This podcast is a celebration of the branding that informs, impacts and inspires us. So, without further ado...

Amy Lawrence (01:05): Well, I met, I first met Instant Pot. I had to look back because I couldn't remember how long it'd been. Um, but I bought my first Instant Pot in December of 2015. I didn't realise it was that, that long ago. And since then I've bought like nine because I've given 'em away as gifts. I didn't realise I did that either. So, um, but I don't really know how I heard about it. Um, I had, I had, um, heard stories of pressure cookers blowing up as a kid. Um, my grandmother loved to cook, but she never used a pressure cooker. And I was always a little nervous about it. I did have one, but I just always was a little nervous about it, the old-fashioned pressure cooker. Um, but I went to India also in 2015 and I noticed they were using a lot of pressure cookers and they were using it actually with solar energy. They were doing it outside. And so it was very intriguing to me. And then when I heard about Instant Pot, I guess, I guess that's why I decided I wanted to get, get involved. And that's when I, um, bought my first one.

Sam Thorogood (01:59): Wow. Has, has food always been a big part of your story? You know, you talk about childhood and growing up with, do you have a lot of happy memories attached to food?

Amy Lawrence (02:07): Oh, yes. Yeah. So I was very, I was actually lucky. My mum did not like to cook and my grandmother did. And so I learned to cook at an early age and it ended up being, um, my passion and my profession. So I owned a restaurant, um, long time ago and now I'm a healthy food blogger and I love, I love to cook and I love to write cookbooks so,

Sam Thorogood (02:29): And tell me more about this trip to India and seeing the people cook with pressure cookers there.

Amy Lawrence (02:33): Oh yeah. So the India, so before I, when I had my restaurant, it was a tea room and, um, so I went to India to visit all the tea regions and we stayed in little small villages. We had no electricity, a lot of places. And so it was very interesting to see how the Indian, um, people lived. We, we saw a different side of India than a lot of people. Um, see. And so it was really interesting to see how they, you know, how they cook and how they do all their food. So, and yeah, I love Indian food. Yum.

Sam Thorogood (03:02): And what was it about this particular brand that initially drew you in?

Amy Lawrence (03:06): You know, I think because they made it easy. I hadn't really heard of an, like an electric pressure cooker before. That was the first one. I mean, since then there's been other brands, but, um, I'm very, I'm very, um, loyal and I, I love my Instant Pot and I have actually two that I regularly use all the time, a six quart and an eight quart. Um, because I use it seriously all the time. I have, I have certain recipes that I love when company comes that are super easy to make and I make those, you know, when, when they're here and I, it makes a lot and it's just, I love, I love it. So great.

Sam Thorogood (03:42): And what is it about, is it because it's, it's making the cooking experience that bit easier, you can sort of chuck it all in one pot and is it the speed aspect? What, what is it about?

Amy Lawrence (03:52): Yeah, well, you know, and it's funny because I'm a cook and I love to do everything the hard way. Like, you know, I make my own bone broth. I do, I make my own tortillas. I do all sorts of stuff, but, um, the Instant Pot really surprised me because, you know, it's kind of a quick, quick fix kind of thing, but I love it because you can sauté right in the pot. And also, um, you know, it goes right into the dishwasher. So you sauté it, you cook your meat, it cooks the meat or beans or whatever, super quick. And then you can just put it in the, in the dishwasher. And it doesn't use a lot of power, um, which is really great right now with, you know, everything being so expensive. You don't have to heat up the house and it's just, it's a, just a fabulous invention and it does a million little things.

(04:33): Um, I don't even use everything that it does to tell you the truth. It's got yogurt maker, dehydrater, rice cooker, slow cooker. People are confused about it. I think a lot too, a lot of people think it's like a slow cooker, which it can, you can use it on that setting. But the pressure cooker is really, for me, the, my favourite setting, because it cooks meat super fast, you know, I mean, seriously chicken, like you especially cut up chicken and like three or four minutes. I mean, it is, it's super fast when you pressure cook things, but, but there's like a million little options on there. And, and seriously, I only use really sauté Instant Pot and, uh, I did use slow cooker the other day. I'm not, I'm not a fan of slow cook food, but, um, but I love it. It's just great.

Sam Thorogood (05:15): You can make yogurt with it?

Amy Lawrence (05:17): Yes, I haven't done it, but I, but I, I have some of my readers have done that. So yeah, you can do all sorts of things and it's a great rice cooker too, which is nice. So you don't have to have all different pots, um, which is great, um, or appliances.

Sam Thorogood (05:31): So it is kind of an all in one solution, I guess, to a lot of different things. Yes. What is the most crazy thing you've ever cooked in it?

Amy Lawrence (05:39): You know, I, I haven't cooked anything super crazy. I don't think, I think I tend to stick to normal things. Yeah. I don't, oh no, I do have one thing, a turkey, um, which I is a little bit different, but you have to find the, I have an Instant Pot turkey recipe that's really popular and, but you have to find the right size turkey. That's the trick. And so you need like a seven pound turkey that you can stuff in the pot and it cooks it super fast and, you know, you can make your gravy all right. In the pot. And so, so for me, I guess that's a little crazy, cuz I normally would never cook a turkey in the Instant Pot. I would do that in the oven. So yeah, I think that's probably my most crazy thing.

Sam Thorogood (06:18): You, you said that you were quite brand loyal. I mean, when you were exploring the, the, you know, slow cookers and, and um, uh, these kind of pressure cookers, these sorts of appliances. Were there other brands that you were considering or was it

Amy Lawrence (06:30): Not at the time? No, not really because, um, Instant Pot was kind of the revolution for, um, the pressure cooker. And so I know I have a good food blogger friend who, um, does, um, uh, well she does vegan food, but she uses the, the Ninja Foodi and she loves it and you know, she loves everything about it, but I don't know. I don't even try it because I love, I just love the Instant Pot. It's, it's worked great for me and I haven't had any issues with it and I just, you know, it just, so yeah, I'm very brand loyal once something works and is easy to use and it's so, you know, dishwasher-friendly then I don't, I don't usually switch brands, um, when I'm loyal, I'm loyal. So

Sam Thorogood (07:09): And, and talking about the branding in terms of, I mean, I'm a I'm graphic designer, so I come at it from that kind of perspective. Um, what is it about this, the visual identity, the way that they sell themselves in terms of their logo, their colours, that, that, yeah, compels you.

Amy Lawrence (07:23): I, I haven't paid, I have to say I haven't paid that much attention to it. I'm a function person. So if it works, it works. But I do like the fact that they're, um, branding is very simple, very clean. Um, you know, it stands out. Um, but as far as that goes, I'm more of a, if I used it and it worked that's, that's what I care about. So that's, for me, that's, that's important. Yeah.

Sam Thorogood (07:46): Um, yeah. Yeah. And that kind of word of mouth, I guess, as well, you know?

Amy Lawrence (07:49): Yeah. And word of mouth. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah,

Sam Thorogood (07:51): Yeah. Yeah. And I noticed, you know, I went on your website and a lot of you, you've got a whole section devoted to Instant Pot, which is, I know I was amazed. Some of the recipes look absolutely incredible.

Amy Lawrence (08:02): Thank you. Well, it's funny cuz my friends joke, I have one friend who is not, she doesn't have an Instant Pot and she's like, could you do something else besides the Instant Pot, we're gonna call you, you know, gourmet done skinny à la Instant Pot, cuz that's all I like, cuz really that's all I like to use when I'm cooking, you know, meat and things like that. So yes, I do have a lot.

Sam Thorogood (08:23): That's fantastic. Um, is there anything that this brand has done that has surprised you?

Amy Lawrence (08:29): Well actually the way they've innovated, um, they they've done now and I don't have it, but um, they have like an air fryer lid. Um, so you can air fry in it, which I haven't tried. I, I actually have another oven, a toaster oven that air fries and I like that. So

Sam Thorogood (08:44): You're gonna have to, I'm a complete layman to these. What is air frying? Can you explain that to me?

Amy Lawrence (08:49): So air yeah. No air frying is um, instead of deep, you know what deep fat frying is? Right. You put it all in the oil and you fry it, which is great. Tastes wonderful, but lots of calories, but air frying, it's like convection air, I guess that goes around. And so you might lightly like I have a little sprayer and you lightly spray it with oil and then the air fries, um, the food. And so Instant Pot has created this air fryer lid that you can put on top and it will air fry, whatever, you know, whatever you're cooking. But I haven't, I have to say, I haven't tried that yet. I've just heard great things about it. Um, one thing I really like the fact that they do have is this non-stick, um, liner that goes in the pan in the, in the pot.

(09:31): Um, most of the time I use the stainless steel because I like to sauté, but for rice and things that I don't want to stick, I use the non-stick, um, liner that I put in. And then also they have, um, different seals, um, that go on the, um, Instant Pot. And so, you know, if you're making something like say Indian food, it's very spicy. Um, maybe I'll just show you the, the lid has a little seal in it. And after a while, you know, this seal picks up flavors, but, and you don't like if you're gonna make rice pudding say in it and you just made Indian food, you don't wanna use this seal because it might taste like Indian food. Sure. So the great thing is you can pull this out and then put a new seal in. So I have a couple seals, one kind of for desserts and one for spicy, you know, spicy foods that I don't want, um, the flavors to be picked up for. So yeah. So it's great.

Sam Thorogood (10:22): So they have lots of, kind of add-ons and things that you can

Amy Lawrence (10:25): Yes. Yes. And those are like the, the liners and the, or the, the non-stick liner and the seal. Those are, those are the things I use. I haven't, like I said, I haven't tried the, um, air fryer, but, um, but I'm sure it's great. I, I would trust it for sure.

Sam Thorogood (10:42): We'll be back with today's guests in a short moment. I wanted to just jump in to say thank you. Thank you for, for listening, for choosing to listen to this podcast, um, above all of the other ones that you could be listening to right now. And also wanted to say that the podcast is released on the 14th of every month. There's a new episode that goes out on the 14th of the month. And normally it's just one episode, but this month there is more than one episode. So do check out what else has been released today. Um, if you're enjoying this one, listen to the others and, um, and, and do share the podcast with, with friends, with family, with colleagues, with cats and dogs and people in the street that you wander past, just, you know, spread the word about Branding Love Letters. Okay. Let's get back to the conversation.

(11:38): Um, have there been any times where it's been maybe more difficult to love this brand?

Amy Lawrence (11:43): Yes.

Sam Thorogood (11:45): Tell me about those experiences.

Amy Lawrence (11:46): Only one, only one time. And it's biggie for me. Let me just tell you. So, uh, I, I recently launched and wrote a new book, 'The Power of Food Prep', and I reached out to Instant Pot and I wanted to do some kind of collaboration with them because I have so many recipes in the book and on my website about Instant Pot and I wanted to do a collaboration and I had a contact and we were kind of, you know, going back and forth, but they never got back to me, my book launched, which was great. It became number one bestseller on Amazon and international in 18 categories. And still I reached out again and I still have not heard. So, so yes, I am a little disappointed because I'm a number one fan, but I will still support 'em because I just love their brand. So I will, but that is a little ding on, you know, on the brand

Sam Thorogood (12:32): Yeah, it would be nice for them to, you know.

Amy Lawrence (12:35): Yeah. Just, you know, promote me a little bit or at least share it or like it or something. So that would be great. So, but, but I'm not gonna I'm not gonna, you know, I'm not gonna go to somewhere anybody else because I love them. So I won't

Sam Thorogood (12:49): That's it, you clearly have that brand loyalty, you know?

Amy Lawrence (12:51): Yeah. Oh yeah, definitely. And once you have the brand loyalty, you know, oh,

Sam Thorogood (12:55): It's a very strong thing, isn't it very, very strong thing.

Amy Lawrence (12:58): Yes.

Sam Thorogood (12:59): How, how would you describe this brand if, say I'd never heard of, um, Instant Pot or I'd never even heard of what they offer as a brand. How would, how would you describe that brand?

Amy Lawrence (13:09): So I would describe it as a multicooker pot. Um, it can do, depending on which model you buy, but most of the models have at least, um, I think seven different settings. So you can sauté, you can pressure cook, you can slow cook. It's a rice cooker. Um, it's a soup cooker. Um, and actually for, um, like when I had my tea room, um, it, in the US, it costs more, you have to have for a commercial kitchen, you have to have like a hood and all this, if you have a stove and I, when I had my tea room, I didn't have a stove. I just had a little cook plate that we probably weren't even supposed to have back then. But if I would've had this Instant Pot, then that, you know, I could've done a lot of great things, um, in the tea room. So it does all this stuff and it doesn't, you know, require a lot of electricity, which is great. Um, doesn't heat up the house. Um, but yeah, it's oh, it's also, I, now mine doesn't have it, but some of them are a dehydrator as well. So that's another, um, little feature that it has. Um, but it's, it's just, it's a great... And it's great because you don't have to have, you know, all these different appliances in your kitchen, you can just have the one, so that's why it's great.

Sam Thorogood (14:15): And do you think, cause obviously your blog is all about healthy eating and using really healthy ingredients. Do you think something like Instant Pot helps people to cook in a more healthy way?

Amy Lawrence (14:26): Oh, definitely. Yeah. Definitely. Because you can get all the flavour, it keeps all the flavour in when you pressurise meat and, or, you know, whatever you like beans you can, if you're, you know, even like my mum is, uh, vegan and she does a lot of beans and, you know, dry beans are pretty, uh, inexpensive, which is great, but they take a long time to cook. And a lot of times you have to, um, soak 'em overnight and all that well with the Instant Pot, you actually don't have to soak 'em overnight. So it saves people a lot of time and, and it is you, you can make a lot of healthy, great recipes. You can make a lot of fattening recipes in it too, though. Let me just say

Sam Thorogood (14:58): Best of both worlds. Best of both

Amy Lawrence (15:00): Yeah. Both.

Sam Thorogood (15:02): So how would you kind of summarise your, your journey as a whole with this brand, if you were going to tell it as a story?

Amy Lawrence (15:08): So, yeah, you know, it was interesting thinking about this podcast because I didn't realise how much it has played into the story of my, my, my brand and my blog. And it really, it got me really popular on Google, cuz my, I made this, um, homemade, um, Instant Pot tomato sauce. I wanted to make a tomato sauce that didn't, you didn't have to core it, peel or deseed the, or you know, seed the tomatoes. I just wanted to be able to throw the tomatoes in and make a tomato sauce and not have to cook it on the stove all day. And so anyway, so I really practised and played around with all making, putting special ingredients in there. So it would be sweet and, and everything. And the, the Instant Pot just did a great job and I wrote a nice post about it and it was number one on Google for a long time.

(15:56): And so that helped my traffic and so Instant, and then all, like you said, a lot of my recipes are Instant Pot just because I like it. And so it's made my blog very popular and it's also, I I'm into, um, food prepping now. And that's what my, my book is about. And really, I tell my, I have a membership and I tell my members, you need these certain items. And Instant Pot is the first thing because you can cook a lot at one time in a quick amount of time. And so it's, it makes it so easy to do food prep. Um, so that, so my, so it's, it's gone from the blog to the book, to the membership and, and Instant Pot has been there along, you know, the entire journey and it's, it was just very interesting thinking about all this, um, before this interview, how, how it really has, you know, played a huge part of my success. So yes.

Sam Thorogood (16:46): Who'd have known when you were back in India, that it would be such a big part of your future?

Amy Lawrence (16:50): I know. Incredible. I know it's kind of crazy.

Sam Thorogood (16:53): Do you kind of wish retrospectively, like you talked about the cafe that you, you ran, that you, you had been aware of it, you know, 20, 30 years ago?

Amy Lawrence (17:00): Oh, it, it would've. Yeah. My tea room I started it 19 years ago, I was figuring that out today. Um, it would've definitely, it would've. Yeah, it would've made things a lot easier for sure. I can't, you know, I can't even tell you how a lot easier cuz we used to bake all this chicken and oven and we wouldn't even, we could do it all in the Instant Pot. It would've just been great. So yeah, it would've been wonderful, but I have it now, so that's all that's important. Yeah,

Sam Thorogood (17:25): That's it. That's it. So, um, tell, tell me more about you and where people can, can find you and connect with, with what you are, what you're doing with me.

Amy Lawrence (17:34): Sure, sure. My blog is, um, and um, you can find me there. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, all the normal places. Um, and then I have a food prep membership called Food Prep for Foodies. And then my, um, recent book is called, um, 'The Power of Food Prep' and that's on Amazon. So you can find that and you should be able to you're in the UK. Correct? Yeah. You could, you could find it there too.

Sam Thorogood (17:59): Even in the UK?

Amy Lawrence (18:01): Even in the UK. Yes and you can find, oh, here's another great story for you. So my son went to the UK, um, a year and a half ago and he had to cook in his little apartment and he didn't, you know, have much money or much space. And I joined Amazon UK and I sent him an Instant Pot so he could make his food and, and that's the only thing he had to cook with. And he used, he'd made a whole bunch of stuff in there. So

Sam Thorogood (18:26): I, I was thinking when I was sort of preparing for this chat, you know, I was thinking when I went to university for the first time and I was suddenly having to cook, you know, meals and it was all quite new. I, I just think Instant Pot would've been such a blessing for me.

Amy Lawrence (18:41): Oh yeah. It was for him

Sam Thorogood (18:43): Just to be able to put stuff all in, you know, leave it. Go to some lectures and come back and have a delicious stew or something.

Amy Lawrence (18:48): Right. He, he made rice and he made short ribs. I mean, those were his two things that he really made all the time were the rice and the short ribs. So yeah, he, he cooked a lot and he wasn't really a cook much before, so, and now he's, he's branched out now he's grilling and doing other stuff, but that really got him started really? So

Sam Thorogood (19:04): Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Amy Lawrence (19:05): In his little apartment.

Sam Thorogood (19:07): Well, thank you for sharing. So the final thing I just want to ask you is to share your love letter that you've written to Instant Pot.

Amy Lawrence (19:15): Sure, sure. I would love to. So, all right. Dear Instant Pot, little did I know when I purchased your Instant Pot back in December of 2015, how much I would love you. I'm a cook who loves to create and make dishes the old-fashioned way. Meaning I love to take my time with my recipes. Everything I make is from scratch. I don't often take shortcuts. However, your Instant Pot has revolutionised my cooking. Now I create my own bone broths, chicken broths, and meals in much less time. Even my famous homemade chicken noodle soup is now made in your pot. I use it all the time for food prepping and I encourage my members to buy one as it's such a great tool. I absolutely love being able to sauté right into the pot. And I really love the fact that it goes straight into the dishwasher. Little did I know after buying your fabulous pot, that I would go on to create healthy Instant Pot recipes, create a food blog called Gourmet Done Skinny and a number one bestseller book, 'The Power of Food Prep'. Your Instant Pot has really changed my life. Thank you so much, Amy.

Sam Thorogood (20:13): Well, Amy, thank you very much for letting us hear your branding love letter.

Amy Lawrence (20:17): You're welcome.

Sam Thorogood (20:20): You've been listening to Branding Love Letters and I've been Sam Thorogood. I'm on a mission: equip pioneers like you to bring others onto your journey. Come and find out more at Thanks for listening. Oh, and big thanks to Thomas Thorogood for the music. Take it away, Tommy boy.

Sam Thorogood | Pilgrimage Design