May 19, 2017

BRANDING: IT’S EMOTIONAL

A brand is the most important asset you’ll own. It is the reason why a customer will drive three extra blocks on their morning commute and choose Starbucks over Dunkin’ Donuts, or why they’ll spend $100 more of their hard-earned paycheck on a Canon camera, even though a Sony model offers all of the same features.

That said, I see it over and over that a “brand” does not answer the difficult questions before jumping into building a website or a brand revamp. There is a vision, a mindfulness, and an underlying force that makes successful brands stand out and connect in a crowded marketplace.

I always apply one key rule to all brands that I work with when creating new brand assets.

THE RULE: GREAT BRANDS APPEAL TO THE HEART

Simply put, people buy feelings, not things. In fact, researcher Nielsen tells us that 90 percent of decisions are made in the subconscious, emotional part of the brain. Great brands know that to create a deeper connection you need to move beyond functional benefits and get to the root of why people care, the badge of identity they want to wear, and the heartstrings they want pulled.

Take, for example, car megabrand Jeep. This company appeals to people’s sense of adventure, creating a world in which they are a catalyst for discovery and freedom. Now, the reality is that most Jeeps that leave the car lot will never in fact cruise the trails of Machu Picchu. They’ll be used to drive up to the local CVS, but for their drivers, they’ll have an identity that says, “I could be the next Bear Grylls.” The list goes on and on.  Appeal to the heart, and you’ll be able to win over customers’ minds—and their wallets!

Here are the questions that I use when trying to dig beyond surface level to identify a brand and their connection to the consumer.

  1. Do you know what you stand for?
  2. Do you know who you you serve?
  3. Do you know what your customer’s problem is?
  4. Do you help them overcome that problem?
  5. Why should people believe you?
  6. Do you have a brand story people can get behind?
  7. Do you have a brand identity that correctly reflects who you are?
  8. What’s your brand’s tone of voice?
  9. What’s your competitive advantage?
  10. Do you have a strategy for how you’ll build demand and connection?

May 8, 2017

AUSTIN, TX. IN BLACK AND WHITE

I’m lucky. I found a career I love. This took some time and many missteps along the way, but I am lucky to be one of the fortunate ones that love Monday mornings!

Even with my love for the daily grind, I need my time out of the office. Time to think, reset the batteries, and play. I love the feel of black and white photos so I decided to take a few snap shots from my recent trip to Austin, TX.

I went to school in Austin and have very fond memories of this place. This photo essay is dedicated to my love for the city, the culture, the food and the endless roads to ride.

March 30, 2017

5 UNEXPECTED BENEFITS OF OFFERING FREE WIFI

The WiFi revolution has taken the world by storm in recent years. Free customer WiFi was once a perk offered only by coffee shops. Today, restaurants of all types offer free WiFi, from fast food joints to sit-down eateries. Virtually any business benefits from having free WiFi, but it’s especially true in the case of bars and restaurants. Here are five ways offering free WiFi to your customers can significantly improve not only the customer experience, but your business’s bottom line.

See my Case Study Here

Email Marketing

The benefits of free WiFi go well beyond the doors of your restaurant. Companies like Zenreach specialize in offering WiFi through custom portals, which offer your guests promotional info in exchange for their email address.. Not only do you get a new avenue to promote your restaurant, but you can then use the email to send exclusive coupons and promo codes. You can also send periodic emails to simply thank customers for their business or to wish them the best on certain holidays.

Increased Spend

You might not think WiFi has anything to do with encouraging people to spend more money. However, studies show that 62 percent of customers spent more time in establishments once they added WiFi . Furthermore, 50 percent said they spent more money as a result of the extra time they were in these establishments. Hear that bars and pubs? That one’s for you!

Customer Tracking

WiFi isn’t just a tool that helps customers–it can actually be a major coup for your backend operations as well. Free WiFi gives you the opportunity to track the visits of your customers. You’ll be able to see how frequently people come into your restaurant and how long they stay. It’s a much more comprehensive and passive way to get to know your customers than loyalty cards, and can help turn casual guests into loyal customers.

Promotion Analysis

How do you know if your promotional efforts work? Sure, you may be able to see an increase in your total receipts for a given night, but do you really understand why it worked or with what audience? Using WiFi-powered customer tracking, you can see how many more people you brought back with a promo or coupon. You can also keep an eye on any changes in customer behavior as a result of your promotions. This is a level of analysis you could only dream about without the implementation of free WiFi.

Improved Customer Service

The ability to personalize your marketing increases drastically with the information you learn from your WiFi system. Since you can track each customer’s visit, you’ll be able to issue unique promotional materials, either by email, text message, or in-person. For instance, you can congratulate a customer on their 10th visit by rewarding them them with a free appetizer or entree. You can even reach out to customers who haven’t visited in a while, offering them a discount or coupon to bring them back through your door. The sky’s the limit with this type of promotion, and it’s one that will make your customers even more loyal to your establishment.

As a bar or restaurant owner, WiFi shouldn’t be a sunk cost. Turn WiFi from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a cornerstone of your business. Who knew that free WiFi could be so powerful?

March 28, 2017

SETH’S BLOG: LIKE RIDING A BIKE

People talk about bike riding when they want to remind us that some things, once learned, are not forgotten.

What they don’t mention is how we learned. No one learns to ride a bike from a book, or even a video.

You learn by doing it.

Actually, by not doing it. You learn by doing it wrong, by falling off, by getting back on, by doing it again.

PS this approach works for lots of things, not just bikes. Most things, in fact.

You can find his articles here.