Italy bar
LoolaPaloosa in Milan, Italy

How far are you willing to go to get what you need to survive as a business (legally of course)? Would you be willing to step outside of your industry’s norm to achieve your business goals? Would you do it if there’s a chance your desired company image could completely change?

Let me start by providing this background…

In my beloved USA, it can be a pain to party. You can spend an hour getting dressed, putting on your warpaint (makeup), and hyping yourself up with party music, only to end up in a crazy long line (VIP included) that won’t move.  A lot of nightlife providers in the US aim to create a “you wish you were here” image which can be desirable until you get there. I’m not an expert clubber, but I do like to have a good time with crazy loud music periodically. When I do plan to spend my money to go out, I don’t want to worry about simply getting in somewhere that may be a SNORE once inside.

Now, let’s take the party overseas….

It’s my first time in Italy, and I was visiting Milan and Venice. In Milan, we were roaming the Corso Como area and promoters would just come up to us on the street and literally sell their bar’s/club’s experience → telling us what type of music they play, the type of crowd in attendance and if there were any specials. Wait… so you want me to come party with you, you’re upfront about the crowd and I don’t have to wait in line just to pay premium club prices? Are you swindling me sir or mam? No, they weren’t and I had a blast!

We know bars and clubs are just like any other business and require creating an image and experience that entice customers. I’ve witnessed some bars and clubs struggle to stay “the hot spot” and consistently deliver on great experiences in multiple cities. Sometimes being a new spot, creating cool social media campaigns, having a great DJ, marketing cool theme nights or bringing in celebrity guests isn’t enough; it sounds like it would be enough but that’s not always the case.

When you fall into the exception to the “doing everything right” rule, what do you do? You change it up. You literally have to say “Forget what my competitors are doing because it’s not working for me. Forget trying to convince people I’m different. I’ve got to go be different in an OBVIOUS way”. It is tough going outside of what has proven to work for so many because it hasn’t worked for you. Unfortunately, you may not always be able to problem solve why certain things didn’t work. Fortunately, you can analyze your previous methods and campaigns to decide what key information you should move forward with in your new approach. 

How do you essentially start over? You come up with a new way of doing things.. and bring it to the people. The beauty of my Italian experience is that they weren’t acting as if I was lucky to get in, and that in itself made me feel valuable because I know the alternative. So when i say BRING IT to the people, I mean you take it to them and not just through traditional marketing. Before you can be known as “The Best”, “Most Fun” or “The Most Elite”, you have to be LIKED on a consistent basis.

The bright side is, once people know the alternative, you going against the grain can be an easy competitive advantage. Some quick tips on ways to get your creative juices thinking in a different way are below.

  • Study marketing and PR for products/services that have nothing to do with your business. What do they do? Seeing how different successful companies approach their audiences and marketing can help you understand how many practices can be transferred to your needs. Studying different industries will keep you from comparing yourself in every little way and focus on birthing genius ideas.
  • Start with a list of what you don’t do and why. If something on this list seems outlandish and was crossed out due to resource constraints, you should consider if something impactful can be done on a smaller scale. If something wasn’t done because it wasn’t seen as competitive, consider if you can make it competitive and “that special thing you do”.
  • Do research. You can start by simply asking willing customers or prospective customers a few questions:
    • What do you like about this business?
    • What made you do business/not do business with me?
    • Who else provides you with this type of service?
    • Who do you consider my competitors?
    • What could make this experience or product better?
    • If you could design your own [insert service/product here], what would that look like?

Time is money and wasting time on ineffective initiatives is costly! Even when times get hard and you have to cry it out in the back closet, remember that some of the best companies have reinvented themselves more times than you can count.

~CTaylorGo for your Brand and Product Marketing Strategy Needs.

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