Stop Marketing Your Restaurant Like a Political Campaign

Before you read the word "politics" and close out, hear me out. 

This is not a political post. To be perfectly honest, this is my least favorite time of year because the news cycle is extremely repetitive. I'm not here to sell you on Donald or Hillary; I'm here to talk about you and your business, and how you should stop marketing it like a politician, or whatever it is Donald Trump is trying to be. #MakeMarketingGreatAgain

With as much distrust and hatred that politicians can breed, there's no need to model your marketing strategy after one. Here are my tips for stopping and focusing on a more important platform, authenticity. 

Don't Preach Empty Promises.

During election years, political speeches are full of empty promises that don't really say anything. Each sentence is stuffed with sentiment, but they usually don't really outline how something will happen. In fear or swaying too far in one direction on a topic, politicians walk the neutral line on specifics and promise "better lives for everyone."

Think about your restaurant. Are you saying a lot without really saying anything at all? Are you afraid to take a real stance on something? Are you promising empty ideas instead of concrete action? 

Examine your messaging. Sketch out a real, tangible promise that you can offer your customers. State it and deliver it again and again. 

Want an example? Let's say you have a great photo to share of your dinner special tonight. Instead of posting the photo calling it something vague like "delicious," focus on tangible facts. Not saying that isn't true, but try describing concrete clues to lead one to deduce that it's delicious: was it made from scratch? Did the chicken come from a local farmer? Did you sell out of it last night? 

Give people what they want. Honest facts, not fluff. 

Don't bash the competition.

Nothing, and I do mean nothing, good comes from talking smack about your competitors. There's no need to detail the mudslinging that goes on in the political arena, so let them keep it.

Instead, focus on ways that you can stand out and what makes you different from your competitors. Spread that message endlessly without mentioning your competition. Talking about them just invites them into a conversation that wasn't meant for them in the first place. This is about you and your potential customer, no one else. 

For example, let's say I'm a restaurant that sells burgers and fries. Restaurant B down the street does too, but our meat is fresh and purchased from a farmer just outside of the city. 

Don't waste your time talking about Restaurant B's frozen meat patties. Talk about your great beef! (Concretely, of courses.) Post an interview with your meat supplier. Share photos of the cows. Document the process of #buildingabetterburger because yours is, not because theirs isn't. 

Don't tell customers how to feel. 

People don't like being told what to do or how to feel. They also don't like being told they are wrong. The fastest way to alienate a crowd is to insult them, and implying they're not informed enough to make their own decisions is the fastest way to do it. 

I'm tired of hearing speech after speech telling me what's right and wrong. What's good and bad. What's worthy and not. 

Don't tell people what to do. Instead, offer compelling information that allows them to make their own informed decision.

If you're a vegetarian restaurant, don't tell people to stop eating meat. Tell them the benefits of eating vegetables and let them decide. 

If you're a family restaurant, don't tell people to put down their phones and connect with their loved ones. Show them stats about the value of connecting over a meal and let them decide. 

This election year, leave the politics to the politicians and #MakeMarketingGreatAgain. Have questions on how this applies to your brand? Shoot me an email and let's chat.