Creative Strategist, Eat + Drink
As hospitality consultants, one of the top questions we get asked is “in today’s digital world, how do we translate the spirit of our restaurant online?!” As we know, so much of what determines a great restaurant or bar is what you can physically touch, feel, smell and of course, taste. However, we also know that today more than ever, an online presence weighs into a consumer’s decision to spend money (or not!) at any given business, restaurant, or otherwise. So how do we marry the two aspects – physical and digital- to form a complete brand experience? Like everything else in life, it comes down to communication – and there are 3 keys to communicating efficiently online: Be Accurate, Be Accessible, Be Authentic
With so many digital platforms, information is everywhere and all of that information must match up. A piece of information as simple as open hours could be listed on upwards of a dozen platforms and if any of them are stated differently or inaccurately, it not only causes consumer confusion but your business loses credibility. We suggest a periodic audit of everywhere your business may be listed from your own website to Google and Yelp, to all social media and delivery platforms. Make sure links click through to correct landing pages, and make sure phone numbers, email addresses, etc. are correct. It sounds simple but little miss-matches on your digital storefront can turn a consumer off before they ever visit your physical storefront.
Another aspect that comes with everyone being connected 24 hours a day (uh, thanks smart phones?!) is there is not only an expectation of response (that’s a given!) but there is an expectation of a quick response at that. We are not saying you must respond to comments and questions that come in in the middle of the night, right then and there BUT we do recommend setting a parameter for yourself, communicating that expectation (i.e., an automatic response to emails acknowledging this has been received and will be responded to within 24 hours) AND sticking to that parameter. Consistency is key. Along these same lines is responding to all reviews, even and perhaps most importantly, the not-so-great ones. Acknowledging your customer’s concerns is a great way to show your brand is “human” and that while there may have been a mistake made, you’ll work towards correcting it. Letting others see online that that wrong has been right-ed only helps the cause.
The final piece of what really allows a brand to become more than an abstract online presence, is the piece that makes it the most complete or the most “human” – is being authentic. The best way to explain this practice is to act as if your brand was a person; what would this person be passionate about? How would this person react to certain situations? With that, what would this person post online? This concept comes into play both in day-to-day interactions but also in times of crisis, say during a natural disaster. Would this “person” donate to local charities and post a heartfelt message to those suffering? Sometimes, the pieces that make your brand authentic are not necessarily related to your business but simply what you feel compelled to do.
If all 3 of these aspects are communicated consistently online, and backed up with your actions off-line, it will be very clear to your consumer who you are as a brand, even if they only have had the chance to get to know you from afar…thus far.BACK TO LATEST