So my wife, Patricia told me to stop writing about marketing stuff. "Write more about the coffee" she says. "Tell chef stories" and "talk about customer service"
Like all wives, she's right...and wrong.
My buddy Andy Eltzroth-CUSP Conference founder likes to say that everything is design and we're all designers, and I tend to agree. Everything is also marketing (at least in growing a brand) Whatever the narrative you're spinning, driving revenue, attracting the best employees, collecting market data, or enhancing customer experience.
As much of a retro-grouch I am, I must admit social media is a powerful (and free) tool. Used correctly, or even half-assed in my case, we can get our narrative out there to a larger audience of promoters that happily endorse and share our brand with their friends.
Used as a recruiting tool, it gives potential employees a snapshot of what it would be like to work at Big Shoulders. We're aligning ourselves with and speaking the same language as our future peers through pictures and quick bursts that share our culture. We also invite them to join the conversation, not simply passively stand on the sidelines, just like if you're working with us on the team.
Like it or not its also a way for dis-satisfied customers and guests to express themselves very publicly. That is an interesting situation. We choose to keep our response right there out in the open too. It looks shady when I witness other brands take that conversation off-line. Kinda looks like they're hiding something. Negative stuff could so quickly spread that you have to respond equally quick. Put yourself in that position, when you feel your'e being ignored you tend to get pissy. We work hard to try to use those negatives as an opportunity to win the customer. It would be so easy to allow ego to take over and get defensive, to "educate" the customer or worse yet ignore it altogether and hope the problem goes away. Abraham Lincoln famously would pen angry letters to bumbling Generals and even friends that pissed him off. He would put all his anger into the letter, sign it, seal it and put it in his desk drawer, never to be sent. It's a great example of one; ridding yourself of the toxic energy and two; focusing on a positive outcome for the guest. How we handle ourselves in the worst of situations allows us to shine in the best and easiest of situations. Retreating to our comfort zone isn't where we learn. It's the action we take, the holding of ourselves accountable, that's where we learn and grow and engage deeper with our guests...and it's all marketing.