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Why Native Foods Has Mad (Social Media) Skills

In a recent post, I discussed why social media is important for restaurants.  I mentioned companies — like Taco Bell and Red Lobster — that realize the marketing potential of social media and how they’re using it to their advantage.

The other day I came across this Facebook post from Native Foods Cafe — yet another example of a restaurant putting social media to good use.

Caption reads: “CONTEST!! Our talented Chef Alex created a delicious concoction of mushrooms, Native chicken, roasted red peppers and herbs and spices wrapped in vibrant collard greens. We are asking our friends to help us name this dish, the winner will receive a $25 Native Foods gift card, contest ends Saturday at noon. Happy naming!”

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There are so many things I love about this.  In no particular order, here’s what I think really works…

  • Describing their customers as ‘friends’ — creates an intimacy and feeling of community rather than the detached feeling of marketing to the masses
  • Making it about the consumer and not Native Foods — fans get to demonstrate their creativity and feel like their opinion really matters
  • Asking their brand enthusiasts to name the product for them – freeing up Native Foods’ internal resources/marketing team and probably their budget too
  • Seizing an opportunity to offer a product  in the language of their consumer — many companies don’t ask, try to brainstorm internally and guess the vernacular of their market (unfortunately, quite often, corporate category-speak doesn’t feel authentic to the consumer and does an inferior job of telling them what the product actually is)
  • Showcasing a new item in an interactive forum and building interest in it (which supports likelihood to try it)
  • Keeping customers engaged and thinking about the Native Foods brand — staying relevant, in a sea of choices, is an ongoing challenge for most marketers
  • Offering fans an incentive that is highly desirable and relevant to them (restaurant gift card) – and that gets customers into their store, trying their products…with very little cost to Native Foods

There are probably more benefits (feel free to post them below in the comments section) but these are the ones that stood out to me.  I will continue to keep an eye out for you restaurant marketers out there.  Stay tuned for more helpful insights and trend scouting from your friends at Erickson Research.

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About the Author

At Erickson Research, a Chicago market research consulting firm, I specialize in probing the minds of consumers and professionals -- revealing what truly matters to them...and why. Find me on LinkedIn.

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