Leading with purpose and building connected experiences for hospitality brands.
The world is not the same place it was 12 months ago and the hospitality industry seems a long way away from getting back to operating how it once did. However for hospitality brands it’s important to not sit around and wait for the old normal to come back around to come into your own again, but to adapt and to grow with the new normal everyone will face this year. The impacts of Covid-19 have been huge on bars, restaurants and cafes in particular however it is time to reflect on your brand and look forward towards growth in 2021.
While the hospitality and entertainment industries are starting to emerge again it’s the perfect time to build trust and instill confidence in your customers and to encourage them to connect with your brand both online and in person. We have seen a shift in customer behavior that has been accelerated by the events in the last year, people are striving for trust and transparency. Customers are expecting brands to act responsibly, to adapt quickly and to provide reassurance for when hospitality opens up entirely over the summer. Authenticity and agility are key considerations for brands wanting to bounce back successfully with full support from their band community this year.
Brand purpose must come first.
Now is the prime opportunity to align your brand purpose, values and vision to ensure you provide consistency and clarity to customers in a time of uncertainty. Identifying or reconnecting with your brand’s core values and purpose is the first and most important step to make, most of your customers will know what you do and how you do it, but not not necessarily why… and this what they will connect with most. Positioning your brand to lead with ‘why’ will allow your customers to connect with you in a more meaningful way, businesses that lead with ‘why’ opposed to what or how, present a higher level of transparency. Authentic brands whose behavior and communication across all brand touch points is true to the overall purpose are rewarded with customer loyalty and growth. Building customer relationships on shared values, trust and positive experiences means that the connection people have with your brand is much more heartfelt, loyal and long lasting.
Your customers will no doubt engage your brand in many different ways across your brand’s touchpoints, and each one of these interactions are what we call a brand experience. As brands grow and expand their business it becomes harder to keep these experiences consistent and true to the brand’s core purpose/vision and this is most commonly where brands experience a disconnect within their business or between their customer and brand.
Connected Brand Experience.
We are all shaped by experiences and connected brand experience needs to be another key consideration for businesses this year. Every customer interaction with your brand is a chance to create an amazing and memorable experience, that lasts way beyond the moment.
When brands have a clear purpose they can then start to build cohesion between all of their touchpoints and across all assets of their brand both the tangible and intangible. With brand purpose comes greater clarity. Clarity and consistency across all of your brand touchpoints is what will help to build better connected brand experiences, which provides brand familiarity, which inturn builds trust with your customers.
Stay present, it’s important that brands are seen and are active. Your brand communication and messaging should be led with purpose and clarity, make sure you aren’t just posting or communicating for the sake of staying present. Customers are overwhelmed with meaningless marketing so stay authentic to your brand and this will resonate much more, tone of voice should be ‘on brand’ and more importantly purposeful.
Ensure your brand’s online experience is aligned with the offline customer experience too, customers are understandably apprehensive of the new normal in hospitality but providing a consistent and connected brand experperiences can change this. Adapt, take action and provide transparency. Bars, Restaurants and cafes need to prepare for reopening and put measures in place that go above and beyond to make the customer feel safe, but don’t do this behind the scenes. Reassure customers that they are at the heart of everything you are doing, but don’t just ‘talk the talk’, make sure this is replicated and they feel this within the interior experience. Building connected brand experiences now will ultimately build trust and encourage footfall for reopening.
Make a Positive Brand Impact.
Brand purpose and brand strategy will guide your connected brand experiences in the right direction, however it’s important to stay engaged with this process and to continuously work on these key areas of your brand. More than ever hospitality brands need to be agile and adapt to the changing circumstances, but this doesn’t mean their message or core purpose will be compromised. In fact you should revert to your purpose and values in challenging times and ensure everything you are doing as a brand encompasses your why, people will resonate with this much more and especially in times of crisis.
Be the positive guide your customers are looking for and inspire people to want to be a part of the brand community you are building.