How can you put together better beverage promotions?
When planning, don’t chase fads. Not unless you can hook them back to your brand or concept, says Lou Trop, president of restaurant/beverage consultancy LJ Trope & Co. Trope outlined several strategies in his Nightclub & Bar show session, “Don’t Go Chasing Unicorns.”
The title refers to the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino limited-time offer of spring 2017. After the initial buzz wore off, the coffee chain was widely criticized for the rainbow-colored concoction. The made-for-Instagram beverage looked better than it tasted to many guests, plus it seemed a departure from the Starbucks brand.
How can you avoid the “unicorn” trap? Here are a few of Trope’s tips for successful promos.
1) Be Interesting
Too many companies fail to deliver promotions that capture consumers’ attention. Why should they come to your bar or seek out your cocktails?
Do something unexpected, timely and unique, Trope said, citing Game of Thrones pop-up bars as one example, and a 2017 cherry blossom pop-up pub in Washington, DC, with a Super Mario Bros. theme. Be original: “If someone else has done it, it’s probably not a good idea for your business.”
2) Understand the Calendar Cycles for PR
Magazines are looking for summer cocktail ideas in March or sooner, so you have to be prepared with your pitches, Trope said.
Ideally, you need to be about four months ahead of a holiday period for promotions.
3) Be Articulate With Your Media Message
If you’re pitching fall cider cocktails, what’s different about yours?
Concise descriptions such as “made with fresh, whole-pressed apples, cinnamon-infused bourbon…etc.” can make your cocktails stand out and get picked up by the press.
4) Perfect Your Drink Recipes
Any recipes you plan to share should be well tested and perfectly documented, Trope said.
Make sure that recipes and photos can be downloaded in multiple formats.
5) Invest in Good Photography
Especially with food and drinks, high-quality photos are a must. Too many people take pictures for products and promotions with their cell phones, Trope said. You need professional photos—and should have the rights to them.
6) Define and Measure Your Success
The goal not always just about money, Trope said. You may be looking to build a reputation, showcase your team’s talent, gain national media coverage or 1,000 Instagram likes. Whatever your goal is, have clear metrics and measure the results.
While you should align campaigns with your core business in terms of concept, customer and price, you also need to step out of your comfort zone when thinking up promotions. Embrace the unknown and be “unapologetically reckless,” Trope said. And keep in mind: “You always have to be better than your competitors,” he noted.