As we move closer to the launch of the Foundation Coffee House, the strategic positioning of the new brand becomes paramount. We’re beginning to shape relationships with our target audience through social media and releasing staged announcements through traditional press to convey our key messages. We’re promoting the brand in a physical space by installing a temporary hoarding to shield the currently empty unit from public eyes as well as capturing vital data through a website holding page.
A great deal of focus has moved towards operational tasks such as sourcing food and drink suppliers, recruiting staff and establishing the day-to-day running of the coffee house. Ultimately, there’s no point in designing and implementing the most amazing space if you have no staff to run it. Great staff are the key to any business success and all of these seemingly mundane tasks can be made easier by recruiting the right staff. Not only do they bring knowledge from previous positions but their level of enthusiasm can help to drive the business forwards.
Yet many organisations admit that finding the right person for the job can be a daunting and often drawn-out process. A recruitment campaign can be aided by knowing who it is you’d like to attract and, of course, good design.
How did we know who to look for? It’s obvious. The work that was completed in the initial naming sessions supplied us with a plethora of words to describe a potential employee. If you like, it provided the business with a series of guiding principles and brand values that a future employee would share.
How did we attract them? Again, the job was made simple as we’d already defined the look and feel of the brand through the creation of an identity, colour palette, typographic and illustration styles. We simply articulated what Foundation Coffee House stood for in order to find like-minded individuals who shared our vision of what a coffee shop should be.
Initially, the advertisement for the key position of Operations Manager was distributed through a sizeable network of contacts, associated businesses, social media followers, friends and family. This eliminated the need to employ recruitment agents who invariably charge commission and potentially reduce the first years salary of the chosen employee.
You’d expect that a potential employee attending an interview would be smartly dressed and speak in a polite and professional manner. Why would the employer not do the same? Portraying the brand image and values at this point helps to attract the right kind of staff which in turn saves vital time and complicated decision making.
When promoting a brand, it is entirely possible to talk to potential employees at the same time as developing relationships with future customers. The messages may be very similar but the vehicle for delivering those messages and the visual style may be entirely different.
It used to be the case that the only visible part of a company’s brand used to be their logo, sitting front and centre of their shop front. In order to interact with that brand, you’d have to travel to the shop. Everyone who interacted with that brand would travel to the same place, see the same beautifully crafted sign and experience the brand in a similar way. To a certain extent, the brand experience could be controlled although the opportunities to capture new audiences were limited.
In the current climate, a brand is in constant flux, being continually re-interpreted and shaped by experience, interaction, social sharing. As a result, the brand is subsequently open to harsh criticism but this process allows businesses to gather instant and honest feedback.
If a brand element generates a positive effect, you’ll know about it almost instantly by reading your Twitter or Facebook account. Conversely, if something isn’t working; if it causes offence; you’ll know about it. But this can only be a good thing. If it is obvious that there’s a problem with something you’re saying, it can be weeded out and replaced quickly, limiting the damage it can do to your brand.
Which ever way you look at it, people see they’ve had a direct influence on your brand and respect the company for listening to them.
To summarise, when promoting the coffee house from a strategic point of view we’ve considered the following:
• Develop the brand, release a website holding page, brand up social media pages, start the conversation
• Atrract social media follows and start to build a fan base
• Don’t waste time. Get something in the public domain as quickly as possible to start gaining feedback
• Allow people the freedom to interact with the brand from an early stage
• Encourage early adopters to become brand ambassadors
• ‘Turn that frown upside down’. Work with your social media followers to turn a negative experience into a positive
• Gauge opinion, more importantly, react to opinion. Give future customers ownership and allow them to shape the future of the brand
• Don’t be afraid to change your approach. A brand should be an agile device made of many components that will communicate a wide range of messages. If one of the components is failing, replace it sooner rather than later.
With all of the above, it’s important to point out that all communications should be produced to the highest standard possible. But don’t sit on an idea wondering if it will work or not, get it out into the open and see if it get’s shot down. If it does, move on. If not, bonus, it worked.
Next time round, we’ll take a look at what new and existing brands can do to promote themselves.