What would you think of a menu that only had one dish on it ? Or a venue that only offered one option.
Well that's exactly what happens at Bubbledogs who serve the unlikely combination of grower champagne and gourmet hotdogs.
So why would anyone in their right mind provide such a limited offering. Well lots of reasons……
Firstly you're only going to attract customers who want like and want champagne and/or hot dogs!
But from a marketing perspective it makes it so much easier to stand out. You get known for one thing, and one thing that you do really well. And suddenly you've cut down on all that competition. Now you're no longer competing with any restaurant or wine bar, only being compared to other champagne bars. And how many of them serve hot dogs? None. So your USP is obvious.
And by only focusing on one offering you have a chance to get it right…. Source the finest ingredients; practice it day in day out to perfection. You become the go to place for whatever it is you specialise in.
Look at it this way: If you had a problem with your heart your doctor would refer you to a heart specialist. If you wanted a top of the range mountain bike you'd go to a specialist mountain bike shop rather than Amazon or Halfords. If you need some advice on employment law you wouldn't just go to any solicitor, you'd go to one who specialises in employment law.
I know this idea makes some people nervous. "Well, what about all the people who don't want champagne or hotdogs? That means I'll lose all their business!" Yes, that's right, you will. But do you want these people anyway? We all know how draining it is to have customers who don't appreciate what you offer. Keep them away and focus on those who do want what you offer.
Being all things to all men doesn't work. It dilutes what you do. And it means you end up with such a diverse range of customers that it becomes impossible to appeal to every one of them. If your customers are incompatible with one another you run the risk of losing them all.
In the example of Bubbledogs what they're famous for is the product. And there are any number of products you may become famous for: your cream teas, your extensive wine list, a specific tour, ride, exhibit or activity, an unusual treatment, the best golf course in the county, the place to go to see giraffes, learn how to grow grasses or buy gorgeous gifts.
The list is endless.
But it doesn't have to be the product itself. It could be centred on yours (and your customers') interests: local history, gardening (which for anyone who knows me, gets my attention every time!), classic cars, fashion, or photography.
All these provide an opportunity to share your interest and passions, as well as providing a theme, which can be built on.
What you become famous for might be the emotions you create: the fun factor, amazing memories, adrenaline and excitement, calm and relaxation.
It might be centred on what else people do when they visit you. Are you used as a base for wild and windy coastal walks, sailing or surfing, motor racing, quad biking, horse racing.
And once you're famous for one thing you'll not only attract the attention of your perfect customers, it becomes considerably easier to attract the attention of potential joint venture partners who already have access to the customers you'd love to get known to (and vice versa) and choose where to promote yourself.
Once you have identified what it is that you have that others don't, make sure you share this at every opportunity. Tell and show your customers how you incorporate these into your business. Show your customers in as much detail as possible what you do that is different, so they can see all this before they choose you. It could be why they choose you.
"Oh, I've heard of them. Isn't that the place that does ……."
It's very easy to be enthusiastic and passionate about something that interests you, and this enthusiasm will translate into business if managed smartly. It means you are more likely to attract the type of customers with whom you can build up a good rapport and a better prospect of repeat business.
Unless you have a USP or some point of differentiation, you're in danger of ending up with price being the only point of differentiation. And hands up, who wants to be competing on price alone?Caroline Cooper is founder of Naturally Loyal who helps businesses to get more sales through their existing customers. Caroline specialises in working with hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses, helping them build loyalty through giving customers outstanding experiences and staying on their radar to trigger repeat business. She is author of the ‘Hotel Success Handbook'.