Monday, August 10, 2009

The best seafood in the world

A few weeks ago I took a drive through 11 states on my way to South Carolina to visit some friends. As I made my way down the East Coast the changing scenery provided plenty of entertainment for my 26 hour drive. Beyond the changing scenery, the outdoor advertising and retail signs were equally entertaining.

I was on some back road in Maine, trying to shave a few hours of my trip (unsuccessfully) and passed a small shack restaurant. It was tucked in the side of the road just outside my line of site. It had one of those back lit movable signs that allow the owner to change out the letters. You know the ones that have the arrow at the top that points towards whatever it's advertising?

On the sign it reads "Best seafood in the world". Perfect. A bold statement that could not be more clear. If it wasn't 8:00 in the morning I may have stopped in to find out what the best seafood in the world tasted like. What I love about this type of situation is that we clearly have a small business making a serious effort to market its product. This restaurant has gone out and made the greatest claim a seafood restaurant could possibly make. As a result, I'm sure they get more patrons, but more importantly, I bet they work harder to deliver on that promise. It could be argued that there just setting people up for disappointment, but I didn't try the food so I can't comment.

Side Note - this picture is not from the restaurant I'm referring to. The best seafood in the world restaurant is obviously better.

Lesson 1 from the Best Seafood Restaurant in the World:
It takes a lot of courage to actually try to be a better business than what people expect from you.

Usually making some over-the-top claim isn't the way to do it, but at least it's something. Good advertising and marketing is as much about telling a story and entertaining as it is about what you're selling. Companies reach a point where they focus so much on what they know, that they forget what makes people actually care about them. If you're in business, have customers and are actually making money - the story that captured your current customers is probably a great place to start when looking for new ones.

Lesson 2 from the Best Seafood Restaurant in the World:
Don't be so afraid to be impressive or to say something truly and unbelievably bold. In the right context and market it can be done honestly and can drastically shift the way people (customers and employees) think about your business.