It was almost Valentine’s Day when area Food and Beverage marketers gathered once again to share ideas and conversation around common concerns and challenges in the food marketing world. Netplus hosted the second Philly Supper Club event at Fork restaurant, kicking off the evening with a short keynote by Chris Malone – noted author and marketing executive. Chris shared his research around the importance of warmth and true empathy to brand perception and loyalty then shared a quick story about how Panera got it right. This was a perfect segue into table topics that included rich discussions on varied topics including:
- How to Create Brand Ambassadors For a Fortune 500 Company
- How to Turn Customers Into Lifelong Guests
- How Does a Legacy Brand Grow the Love with Loyal and New Customers
- How to Build a Community at the Heart of Your Brand
Our group of senior marketers ranged from restaurant chains to Fortune 500 CPG leaders, food distribution companies to innovation centers, and everything in between. We all agreed that human brands were represented by the people that interact with customers every day, and that clear expectations and training are critical for any customer-focused business but, may not be sufficient alone to stand out in a competitive industry. An important take away from the evening? Reinforcing the idea that authentic brands that leverage what people already love about them are in the best position to find and keep loyal customers.
“Hire for character and goodness. You can train for everything else.”
— Ben Fileccia, Director of Operations, PA Restaurant and Lodging Association
Finding and keeping those brand loyalists can be accomplished through a variety of efforts appropriate to a brands’ size and reach. Smaller businesses with regular customer interaction can keep that personal feeling with personalized gestures, including handwritten thank you notes and other one-to-one tactics. Larger businesses can leverage data in one-to-many strategies to strengthen brand loyalty and connection.
“Larger companies have to really work to maintain authenticity, but the effort can pay off.”
— Marilyn Candeloro: Founding Partner Dock Street Brewing Co.