Don’t Promote If You’re Not Prepared

This is very true, however if you promote, you need to make sure that you can make it happen!!

I recently had a business dinner at a “chain” restaurant that was running a promotion to attract more business mid week. I didn’t go to the restaurant because of the promotion, but once there, I was pleased to see that I could take advantage of the advertised specials. I was seated quickly and within a few minutes the waiter approached the table to take my drink order.

The first words out of his mouth were “ if you’re ordering wine, we’re all out of the Malbec”. Not a great start. His next line was “ let me tell you about our specials this evening…but we’re all out of the first two.”

It was 6:30pm…and they were “out” of two of the three dishes that the restaurant was promoting to encourage mid week diners!

Someone was not prepared. Whether it was a miscommunication from head office regarding the national promotion…or there was a lack of planning and preparation at the store level….something fell apart.

The waiter certainly didn’t handle the situation well and whether he was feeling ill prepared for the shortage of “specials” or not, he did nothing to make amends. He didn’t recommend another dish, or offer an apology. He was just matter of fact…too bad, so sad! This restaurant chain had spent a lot of money promoting themselves on radio and tv. There were huge banners on the outside of the restaurant to attract passerby’s and yet, the most important part of the promotion…the delivery, fell flat.

As a business owner, you may have the best intentions…great ideas…and the budget to promote yourself, but if you can’t execute your plan….don’t bother. The customers that were attracted to the restaurant and the promoted “specials” were left not only disappointed but upset that they were “duped” by the advertising. They came expecting one thing and were told…sorry what you want …we can’t provide. Customers were not only let down by this experience, they were let down by the “brand”. An effective brand embodies a certain personality and image that makes customers feel good about spending their money with you and frequenting your business. Think of your brand as a relationship that builds over time with current and potential customers. Brands build trust and loyalty. When a brand doesn’t live up to its personality and promise, a customer feels cheated. It takes time to build customer confidence and loyalty and one bad experience can destroy that connection permanently.

So even if you have the best intentions to provide customers with a “deal” a “special” that you think they’d enjoy and value, remember, if you can’t deliver on the promotion…don’t promote it. A promotion is a promise. Break that promise and it reflects badly on your brand. Deliver on that promise and you will build brand loyalty.