Whenever I watch Gordon Ramsay tearing the throat out of a hapless head chef or muddle-headed restaurant owner, I wish I was in the food business.
Every restaurateur with even half a brain must surely be spending at least part of every working day down on bended knee, giving heartfelt thanks for the f***ing marketing opportunity this foul-mouthed and charismatic Brit has provided.
What Ramsay has done is focus the attention of millions of restaurant-goers on the stuff most restaurants would hate them to know – what goes on in the kitchen. And for the smart ones, that spells opportunity.
Now, what has this got to do with your salon business? Think outside the square for a moment.
Here’s how I would use the ‘Ramsay Factor’ in my restaurant business.
First, I would identify what it is about restaurants that – thanks to Ramsay’s TV show – makes people lie awake at 3am, staring at the ceiling….and thanks to Ramsay, that’s pretty easy. Has the food been prepared days earlier? Is the kitchen crawling with cockroaches? Do the chefs wash their hands every time they go to the bathroom? Are the ingredients fresh? Is there mold growing over the food?
THEN…I would create a new marketing message, based on those fears and anxieties. The DUMB thing would be to attempt to bury your head in the sand and ignore the Ramsay factor. In fact, I would HIGHLIGHT the negatives, and turn them into positives. E.g.,
How to Be Gordon Ramsay for a Day!
“You know what its like when you go to a restaurant and you have no idea what’s going on in the kitchen? Well at Greg’s Culinary Emporium, our kitchen is so clean our own chefs eat their dinner off the floor! We have CCTV cameras watching our staff to make sure they wash their hands every time they leave the bathroom. Pest inspectors regularly ensure that not a single bug gets anywhere near our food. In fact, we invite YOU to be Gordon Ramsay for a day.
“Come to Greg’s Culinary Emporium for your next night out. If you can find a single cause for complaint, you have our permission to swear at our f***ing chef. PLUS, your meal is FREE!”
Can you see how that statement would set my restaurant apart from any of my competitors? This technique is called
Making the Invisible Visible
It does TWO clearly distinct things.
a) By capitalizing on highly-public information, it enters the conversation that’s already going on in your customers’ heads. Do that, and you become a Welcome Guest… instead of an Unwelcome Pest. They are already talking about what you want them to talk about.
b) It highlights the process. Most businesses assume their customers are only interested in the result, the final product. But there is magic in the detail….there is MONEY in the story of how you deliver what your customers are buying.
Now, if you haven’t done so already, replace restaurant with salon. What can YOU do to tell the story of your process – a story that addresses what your customers are fearful and anxious about when making a decision about whether to do business with you?
Are your products sourced using a suddenly rediscovered formula developed by primitive tribes in the steamy jungles of Burma? Does one of your treatments originate from the desert rituals of Bedouin tribes in ancient Mesopotamia? (I exaggerate for effect, but you get the picture.)