Our first post in this series talked about the seemingly illogical way we all form emotional connections with brands (even if it is a brand of one). This is a fantastic place for any business to get to; to have loyal followers rather than merely customers.
I also made a bold claim; that we can engineer this emotional connection between a customer and a brand (or a restaurant).
So, how might we do this?
You might think this is an activity reserved for gap-year students, or someone in the midst of a mid-life crisis. But, as a restaurant, you need to understand who you are. What is your passion? What are the things that make you uniquely you, that no one else has? It’s your point of difference; but it’s also the very thing that drives you to do this. You need to try and distil all of the emotional drivers behind what you do, so that you can extract something that will make sense to your customer.
It might be that you already have a clear idea of what drives you. If so, the next question is this: are these values embodied in everything you do?
From your decor to your flatware, your staff uniforms to the design of your website; translating your aspirations and passions into a cohesive message is a challenge that, in our experience, many restaurants struggle with.
We don’t mean literally of course. Please don’t do that.
What we do mean is, in the same way you found your own emotional drivers, you need to understand your customers’. The simple act of getting to know your customers better will give you insight into what makes them tick – so that you can communicate with them in the right way.
Take a sampling of typical customers; maybe invite them to a special ‘meet the chef’ event, or just take time out to have a bit of a chat and get to know them. The information you will glean from this simple act will be invaluable.
Sounds simple, and in principle, it is.
By understanding why you do what you do, you can communicate this ‘higher purpose’ to your audience. Once you develop a more effective dialogue with your customers, you will naturally find your common ground and shared values, allowing you to connect with them on a deeper, more emotional level.
And once you achieve this, you will begin to see your customers develop a sense of connection to your restaurant. They will feel as if it is ‘theirs’ and they ‘belong’ there – becoming loyal followers of your brand, rather than just customers.