Tuesday, March 9

Restaurants Are Brands Too

Your favorite local restaurant -- you may not have ever thought about it, but it's a brand too. It's got a name, a personality, a "product", and you've come to expect certain things from it. Same as any other brand in your life.

Like many other brands, the economy has taken its toll on the local restaurant. I think the chains may still be doing ok, particularly the more value-oriented ones, but our favorite local watering holes and dining establishments have gotten hit hard. With people watching their expenses like never before, "eating out" is one of the first things to go.

So many local restaurants, like brands, are getting more aggressive about their marketing. They are adopting some of the same techniques as large consumer brands to attract and retain customers.

They are building websites, using social media, offering special deals and promotions, and creating relationship marketing programs -- all to build their business. It's fascinating to see. Restaurants that not too long ago could thrive soley on word-of-mouth are now executing pretty complicated marketing programs.

Crain's New York ran an article about it this week and gave some advice to restaurateurs on how to build their businesses in a tough economy. And they quoted me! http://tinyurl.com/yerht56

So this weekend, if you can, support your local restaurant brand. They'll appreciate your business, now more than ever.

What's your experience? Jim.

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