Five nuggets of building reputation and brand identity
In today’s day and age, where minds are impressionable, and reputations are often held hostage by irate social media users, creating and maintaining your brand name can be a difficult proposition. Expounding on this is PR expert Nikhila Palat, CEO, Katalyst Reputation Management. With 15 years of experience in the luxury industry, Harvard-educated Nikhila spoke at the Home Chef Matters event
In a world where reputations are volatile and loyalties are fickle, brand identity matters as much as the food and service It takes a long time to build reputation; but only a minute’s indiscretion to lose it all. “What happens in Vegas is now all over YouTube and what you ate for dinner has taken over Snapchat,” said Nikhila, explaining the scope and reach of social media. She uses a series of anecdotes to guide aspiring home chefs through the nuts and bolts of building one’s brand:
Prove your customers right!
Which is exactly what Zodiac Grill, Mumbai’s first fine dining restaurant, did. For six months, their menu card featured no pricing, giving the customer the upper hand in deciding the value of the dining experience. A valuable tip for home chefs would be to give greater control to the customers to pique their interest and get them to be more invested in your brand.
Tell a Story
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel’s legacy took more than a century to build but only a day to bring it crashing to the ground. The 2008 terrorist attack was a PR apocalypse that could have spelt doom for the brand; however, good story telling through effective public relations that helped the Tata group rebuild the brand. Word to the home chefs: Guard your brand reputation with your life.
An unhappy customer is the biggest source of learning
A bandicoot sitting on a freshly made bed at one of India’s super luxurious safari hotels sent a guest shrieking. Instead of being disheartened by this faux pas, the management converted this embarrassing incident into their biggest lesson in brand building. They went all out to turn the unpleasant ordeal into an unforgettable experience for the guest. In a lighter vein, the staff also placed a toy bandicoot on the bed with an apology letter. Remember, everybody makes mistakes; how you rectify them is effective PR.
Think on your feet
Interflora, a flower delivery network, has a group of professionals who would scour social networking sites for people having a bad day. Their team of ‘angels’ would then send out complementary bouquets to these sad souls thereby putting smiles across their faces and turning their bad day around. Crucial take away from home chefs: don’t be afraid to innovate when it comes to showing your customers that you care.
Salesperson first; CEO later
Ultimately, the services and products aside, what one really sells is a promise. This promise is actually an extension of oneself. In the light of this thought, it is important to call yourself a salesperson above everything else when it comes to branding your product. As home chefs, the most important thing you are selling is not your food, but yourself. So stand out, try to be different, look as good as you can, do what you say you will and really live your brand promise.