I’ve been speaking on this topic for a while now & subsequently been misinterpreted more times than not. I feel obligated to go a little deeper than I may of done on this in the past, more so because I’ve seen people take what i’ve said quite literally and without real understanding. I have never encouraged people or businesses to make their offerings “instagrammable” purely for the sake of it. And certainly, as an extension of that, communicate to their customers that it’s what they’re purposefully doing!
I have spoken about creating my restaurants with social media in mind. What I actually mean, is that I have created them with people in mind. I don’t want people to take a photo of another neon Pinterest quote for the sake of it, I want to wow people so they feel compelled to share their experience with others. It’s the intention, and resulting authenticity behind it, that builds real experience.
When we create interior, food or serves with the aim of getting people to photograph it, there is a subtle difference. It comes from an ever-so-slightly emptier place than that which seeks to entertain the person with the camera. The need to capture the experience is the result, and I see recently so many people focus on this empty result, which ultimately manifests as a self-serving action & actually pushes people away from doing the very action the brand desires. It’s becomes “cliche.”
Customers sharing their experience of visiting your restaurant are great. When it’s an experience of YOUR restaurant. If it could be mistaken for any one of 10 recent “Instagram” spots that have popped up, you’ve missed the point. You’re not building brand through unique experience, you’re hacking empty follows from people who don’t really care. And this speeds up the shelf life.
Longevity is achieved by focusing on brand. If it’s a quote, make it one that has synergy with what your business stands for. If it’s a particular way you offer the bill, engineer it to fit in with your companies mission. If you’re sustainably focused, this night be a recycled box in your colours, for example. Let’s get back to thinking about experience first, and giving people permission to share theirs as a result. Experience comes first, everything else is about how we communicate it.
How to build experience? Start with bigger questions. What am i trying to achieve? What do i want people to feel when they eat here? As a result, how do we communicate this in such a way that it resonates to the degree the customers wants to join our narrative, and further, share it with their world online. For someone to adopt your message as theirs, its needs to be a well thought-out message that stands for something. Once you know what you stand for, you can set about communicating it in a way that inspires or entertains. The message is key, the experience is born here, and everything else is what you see online.