I recently had some beers and a meal at a place called Little Creatures dinning hall in Melbourne Australia.
For the uninitiated, Little Creatures is a craft beer which has it’s origins in Australia and has recently opened a flagship ‘dinning hall’ – seen below.
They’ve simply taken this to a new level. I’m not taking about the fact that they have weird and groovy beer flavours, all naturally brewed. I’m talking about the way they take you on a personal journey with their service.
My favourtie was the beer education programme. They have a ‘pony show’ – I don’t think it’s called that, but it is what I’ll call it for this post.
You get a taste in little groovy pony glasses of all their different beers, then choose one you like. One of their ‘Little Creatures Beer Experts’ comes and sits down on your table with you and they explain all the different types of beers. A real sit down for 10 minutes. A rare treat when the usual sitiation is waiting 10 minutes for crappy service in bars and restuarants. They teach you how to taste each beer and the slight nuances of each. They even provide an idea what type of people generally like the different types.
It’s really nice and fun. I even heard the word “sessionable” to describe a beer – They invent some nice jargon to make you feel part of a tribe. Cool.
No need to advertise this little venture. We’ll do that for them….
And this is what cool startups are doing in retail.
I took this quote from Seth Godins latest micro book Tribes:
“Do you beleive in what you do? Every day? It turns out that belief happens to be a brilliant strategy”
This resonates with me because it will motivate us to find solutions that ‘non believers’ will be too inept, apathetic or bored to uncover.
Entrepreneurs ought launch something they beleive in conceptually, not just financially.
In order to be in love we need to feel loved. Often we mistake love for other intense emotions such as lust, obsession and even fear.
So if we were to translate this to business parlance it might read like this:
If we want people to love our brand or company, we simply have to make our audience ‘feel loved’.
So then the next questions we should be asking are:
- Will they love this product?
- Will they love our value equation?
- Will they love our guarantee?
- Will they love our designs?
- Will love our ‘contact us’ policy or phone staff?
In fact, let’s just start every audience related question with the words ‘Will they love….”
If we do this and focus on being more than good, more than liked and only accept moving towards stuff people will love. Then one day, they may just love our brand.
Entrepreneurs must build all types of relationships.
- Relationships with our suppliers and the value chain
- Relationships with our buyers & resellers
- Relationships with our staff and business partners / investors
- Relationships with our audience & evangelists
In fact, when we are small have little or no revenue, the only thing we can do is have conversations and build relationships. These will lead to action and revenue. While having dinner with a colleague the other night, John Colbert of Corporate Edge training he gave me his view on relationships.
There are two important factors in relationships – frequency & proximity.
How frequently are we engaging the other person? Where frequency, is any type of conversation, communication or interaction.
And what is our proximity to this person? Where proximity pertains to the physical closeness and real world interactions we have together. Do we meet in person? Are we getting to know each other without the use of technology? Simply meeting in the same location?
The more of the above two things we have the stronger our relationships come. If we for a moment think of who we have strong relationships with, we’ll see we have both Frequency and Proximity.
The reality is humans want to deal with people they like, trust and know. This is what relationships build.
So if one of our important business relationships (those listed above) is flagging, maybe we should have more frequent interactions, get closer or do both.
In advertising parlance we talk about depth and frequency. Depth being how many people we reach on each occasion. Frequency being how often we reach them.
It’s great to let zillions of people know about our start up as quickly as we can. We may even be lucky enough to get some kind of viral campaign working for our startup, we may be featured in the newspaper, on techcrunch or we might even be lucky enough get a TV spot.
After the event here’s what happens: People cook dinner, pick up the kids from school, pay the bills, kick the dog and get on with life. They have a life to live and they get on with it. Our start up doesn’t really matter to them… straight away.
Consumer awareness goes something like this:
Exposure 1: “That’s a cool idea / product / concept”
Exposure 2: “Oh, yeh, I must remember to check that out”
Exposure 3: “There it is again, might be worth having a look”
Exposure 4: “hmm, Ok – I’ll look when I’m shopping next / on line next”
Exposure 5: ….They finally act, and go look at, investigate, touch, feel, try….”
After many exposures we have “a chance’ of selling to them.
Sure some people check it out first time, some buy straight away, but the large majority need reminded, over and over again. It doesn’t mean – go out and spam them or do terrible interruption marketing. It means this; “have frequent and relevant marketing communications to the people who might care”.
It’s a lot like never noticing a car advertisement until we are in the market to buy one. They’re always there, we just have selective perception.
This is why Advertising frequency is king. No point having a big launch campaign if our prospective new customers aren’t looking on that occasion. For entrepreneurs, the big launch concept is a hoax – It’s unsustainable. Like an exercise regime- it’s far better to do an hour workout everyday, than to do a 5 hour gym session on a Saturday.
The good news is we don’t need the superbowl budget of a large conglomerate to have the frequency we need. We just need to start a conversation which continues indefinitely.
“It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?”
Brands are the personification of things and services. In fact they are the amalgamation of a group of people, which creates an organizational culture and eventually, a set of brand values. Values which in real terms are like those of a person.
In the spirit of the reasoning above here’s an interesting question:
Does your brand have good manners?
That’s actually what we’ve been getting at during this Business 2.0 Post Industrial Complex Devolution. We’ve been getting back to basics. The basics of acceptable behaviour. Moving away from the school yard bully – (read here – large inconsiderate conglomerate) – to something which deserves our attention.
In case we happened to forget – here’s a ready reckoner of ‘Good Manners’
- Listen to others
- Have patience
- Wait your turn to talk
- Never interrupt
- Ask for permission
- Always say ‘please’ and ‘thankyou’
- Be honest, truthful and pure
- Be punctual
- Be tidy
- Never be rude to anyone – older, younger, richer, poorer
- Keep out of bad company
- Be kind to those around you
- Don’t be selfish, but share your good things
- Don’t cheat
- Be polite at all times
Here’s the ironic thing…. some of these sentiments and ideals came directly from the Children’s National Guild of Courtesy - a Good Manners chart which was distributed to elementary / primary schools in UK and Australia from 1898 until approx 1950.
You can download the PDF here: goodmanners
And yet it’s akin to the language we are now hearing from business re-inventionists. In real terms, we’ve just realized that often with success comes bad manners and attitude. Then after the bad manners and attitude comes the inevitable decline. This is why the new world brands are winning – they simply have good manners.
Startups – if we personify our brands, then let’s ensure they have ‘Brand Manners’.
So we’ve all heard about UGC and the virtues of having your brand hijacked by passionate users. The truth is most brands ‘just got lucky’ when it happens to them. The real trick is knowing what to do when it does happen. How to leverage it without destroying the organic evolution which allowed it in the first place.
Chupa chups is a recent example in Australia of a Brand Hijack. It’s been a bit of a darling within various youth culture subsets – including the rave and hip hop scenes. The cool thing here is that Chupa chups (which incidently is licensed to Cadbury in Australia) hasn’t stuffed it up. Instead they’ve had the wisdom to embrace it – create a canvas for the brand to further ensconce itself in ‘their world’. The brand has ‘got involved with’ the laneway art scene in Melbourne – by creating an event for ‘them’.
The event is being held AC DC lane (apropos) where all street artists can display their talents – free. The lane will have bands, drinks and food open for all and free Chupa chups! They’ve even minimised the awareness campaign one which requires a certain level of self discovery only using street posters and limited street press to communicate the event. They’ve kept it all relatively ‘low key’. In fact, even the art commissioned by Chupa Chups to start the festival doesn’t have any branding. Wow – a brand that gets it.
The visual has already hit the wall as seen below…
You’ll notice the lollipop parachutes and the small chupa chups logo (sans branding) – which incidently was orginally designed by Salvadore Dali . Nice.
If you’re in Melbourne this weekend it’d be worth checking out – I’ll be there.
Start up lesson - Cool brands do cool stuff.
Silicon Beach Australia [siliconbeachaustralia.org] was formed with no plan, just a question:
“How can we bring the Australian technology community together?”
“Silicon Valley has a supporting ecosystem that makes Internet innovation thrive, so what can Australia do? How can our big island with the best beaches in the world, harness the passionate, intelligent individuals who care to do more?”
It’s a very cool initiative and hopefully something which will harness the intellectual capital our country is renounced for. Instead of losing it to countries who appreciate and embrace innovation.
One thing is for sure – it all starts with conversations. I was fortunate enough to be invited into the conversation yesterday for their 3rd Podcast to discuss a bit about rentoid, and all things entrepreneurship…
I was fairly candid with things like my corporate exit, business philosophy, the financial crisis and just the way I like to go about things. You can check it out by clicking here.
Really the title should say “people” – we don’t do business with customers, it’s the greatest lie of all time. People trade with people. But I just gave it that title so I could teach people this who stumbled upon this blog entry…
So here’s how we do it at rentoid.com
We have a live chat session with our people. Answer all their questions, assess their concerns and just get to know them. Tonight we are doing it at 7.30pm Aust Syd / Melbourne time.
Go here to log on: http://rentoid.com/live
You can see the startup blog author in action live and see if he (me) can deliver it all live. So tune in, tell your friends and get a shout out!