Are You Memorable?

By Tom McDermott

Are you memorable? Is your business memorable? Are your employees memorable? You may very well be memorable, but unfortunately the memory may be negative. The way a customer remembers you is either positive, negative or indifferent. Which type of memory your customer has is entirely up to you. Some businesses have taken memory-making very seriously. For example, the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle has made a name for itself by creating a fun and energetic ambiance, where employees throw fish back and forth. Disney has created a model where memories are key to their success.

On a recent trip, I had an early morning flight and was hoping to find something to eat at the airport prior to my departure. It was during the covid pandemic, and as a result of that, most restaurants were closed. The only restaurant open was a bagel shop called Bruegger’s Bagels. My assumption was that it would be less than desirable but it would perhaps satisfy my hunger. I lined up with the other early morning travelers waiting to place my order for fast food.

What I expected to receive and what I received were two completely different things. Keep in mind, this was a fast food bagel shop in an airport. I ordered the Farmhouse breakfast bagel, an orange juice, and after a quick sales presentation by the clerk on the quality of the hash browns, I ordered those too.

Five minutes later, an employee called my name. I eagerly opened the bag to eat what I expected to be not-so-great food. To my surprise, the bagel was very good. It was obvious that quality ingredients were used to construct this work of bagel art. The hash browns were delightful and lived up to the sales pitch I received earlier. Then came the first sip of my juice. I am by no means an expert, but would consider myself an o.j. snob, living around orange groves and loving freshly squeezed juice. The orange juice was fantastic and was definitely freshly squeezed! All of this at a fast food bagel shop!

Somewhere at some place in time, in Bruegger’s headquarters, there was a meeting discussing how to make Bruegger’s Bagels memorable by providing quality products that make consumers want to come back. After a little research, I discovered that Bruegger’s was founded in 1983 by Nordahl Brue. It is now owned by JAB, who also owns Krispy Kreme and Panera, both of which are well-known franchises. Krispy Kreme is an anomaly that defies all logic. When the craze started, people would line up in the middle of the night awaiting their chance to buy a fresh donut. Krispy Kreme created perceived value.

Upon arriving at my destination, I took a 30- minute Lyft ride to my meeting. I started chatting with the driver and learned that he was a former executive with a large pizza chain. I immediately engaged in a very interesting conversation about the highly competitive pizza business.

I asked him what was the biggest reason that some restaurants fail. His answer was full of common sense - common sense that is lacking in so many businesses. He said that the biggest reason for failure is when management starts cutting corners on ingredients in an attempt to save cost. What a ridiculous move that is. Consumers are not naïve to quality. Cutting corners on products or services to increase profitability is the beginning of a slow death.

He went on to say that some stores would cut ingredients by 25% thinking the customer wouldn’t notice. Those restaurants would eventually fail. Why? They were memorable, but memorable in a negative way.

Perceived value is the analysis a consumer makes on a product or service related to cost. Perceived value is directly related to revenue. The higher perceived value, the higher consumers will pay for a product or service. What type of memories you create in your business will affect perceived value. Creating negative memories will precipitate a low perceived value, which translates into declining revenue and eroding profits. Making yourself memorable in a positive way is dependent upon your branding strategy. Do you have one? Are you the same, better or worse than your competitors? Lavinia Capital Partners has a branding department that can assist you in creating a positive brand that will set you apart from your competitors and drive revenue growth to new levels.

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