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Have a Strong Brand Promise: Be Brave…

Do your employees deliver the brand promise?

Knowing what your brand stands for and delivering your brand promise consistently is the key to creating loyal, committed customers. Consumer preferences are the strongest when a brand promise is unique and delivered through an outstanding customer experience. Since your employees are responsible for delivering this experience, how can you be sure your brand promise is consistently delivered to your customers?

A few years ago, we were involved in a project for a Top Restaurant in Connecticut. Our task was to build the early dinner market to help balance the restaurant’s activity throughout the evening. Located on the water, the restaurant was finished with two dining rooms, a rustic pub, an outdoor dining area and private function rooms throughout. Due to its size, it was intimidating for some diners who weren’t sure where to go when they entered the building. Employee communication and employee presence were important for a complete dining experience.

Our promotion included a special menu for early diners, cost effective but creative. We added a loyalty program for repeat visitors as well as invitation only events to drive loyalty.

A unique differentiator for Bridge Marketing is that we measure reactions for our promotions and brand strategies by being on site to witness them in action. We were assured by the owner and management that the employees were well aware of the promotion and were ready to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Here is what we observed:

  1. Guest arrived for early dining. Most were not greeted at the door as we set in the protocol. This was to eliminate the confusion of which room to dine in. Many guests left without being approached.
  2. Those guests who made it passed the doorway were met by an unruly host behind the podium who never took her attention away from a personal phone call. Most guests were told to “Just sit wherever you want!”
  3. Servers were unaware of the special menu, loyalty program or list of invitation only events.
  4. A member of the management team was nowhere to be found.

What happened? Management had communicated with the team the details of the promotion, but never established any buy-in. The lack of supervision led to more confusion which allowed for potential customers to leave and new customers to never return. All of this could have been avoided with training, buy-in, and a better understanding to the restaurants’ brand promise.

How did management get the employees on track?

  1. Reinforced the brand promise through pre-shift meetings with the team conducted by the owner of the restaurant.
  2. Built an employee incentive around the increase in covers and revenue gained through the early dining promotion.
  3. Stationed a member of the management team at the door to deliver a proper greeting and to remove any confusion.
  4. Implemented a Comment Card Program with benchmarks to provide immediate feedback to the team regarding the guest experience.
  5. Provided supervision and reinforcement on how to anticipate the needs of this new diner, what they meant to the restaurant’s future and how delivering an outstanding customer experience would lead to more loyal customers and increased revenue.
  6. Oh…they fired that unruly host as well…moved the podium, and removed the phone…

Don’t assume your employees are ready to deliver on your brand promise. Spend time getting them to buy-in and continually reinforce the uniqueness of your brand through your own actions and presence. Be Brave…Your Brand Is Everything…You Should Live and Die By It…

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