Know Who You Are

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“Despite whatever gets thrown at you, continue to correctly capture the customer’s impression of you and just stick with that,” urges Jordan Ruemler, marketing director of Splash Bar in Portland and consultant at

Capturing that impression comes down to defining who your guest is, defining who you intend to attack and how you’ll accomplish that, defining your brand and branding your venue.

When it comes to defining your guests, avoid the misconception that you get to choose who they are. Instead, realize that your brand is defined by your guests and not your venue. Identify your guests’ comfort zones and ensure that they become loyal to your business. Also realize that your guests have likely traveled about 9 miles to visit your bar, so making them comfortable is crucial.

Ask yourself the following when observing your guests: Are my guests comfortable? Do my guests receive a great customer experience? Does my bar offer my guests instant gratification? Keep the 2 and 12 Rule in mind when observing your guests: If you fail to satisfy one male guest, he’ll tell 2 of his friends; fail to satisfy a female guest and she’ll tell twelve. The same goes for delivering a fantastic experience. Since we all want to attract at least 60% women to our bars and nightclubs, fawn all over your female guests and make them feel comfortable.

Getting guests through your door comes down to your attack. Attacking is attracting and attraction is accomplished through an excellent first impression; in our industry, image is everything. What type of service are you going to provide to your guests? Will your bartenders be dancing on the bar? Will your bar offer white linen service? Is your venue clean? It doesn’t matter if you’re a dive bar or a high-end wine bar – your business must be clean. Sticking with the word “clean,” does your venue clearly speak to your concept instantly or does it confuse your guests? If it’s the latter, you have a problem that needs to be addressed.

Finally, you need to know what type of marketing best communicates to your target demographic. Do they respond best to social media, radio ads, paper advertisements, flyers? Do they need you to walk through the crowd shaking hands? You’ll know what strategy to implement know who you’re targeting. It’s important to know that the easiest demographic to please with your first bar is the 21 to 24 year olds, while your second venue should aim at 25 to 34 year olds. Yes – you should always be planning on opening a second venue.

Defining your brand needs to communicate your message simply. Your brand is you; it defines you. Make sure your venue’s name is easy to spell and pronounce. An easy way to test this is to gather a group of people together (staff, friends, family) and perform a retention test. Write all the potential names on a piece of paper or cards, give everyone 60 seconds to read the names and then ask them which they remember. Your name should also Google well and speak to your demographic while defining your mission statement. Once you’ve decided on your name and logo, brand everything: napkins, coasters, menu, glassware, uniforms, walls, etc. Communicate specials and events in your bathrooms and on table tents. Brand externally through social media, radio, flyers, external signs, vehicles, banners and flags. Branding is, after all, marketing.

Learn more about defining your business and targeting your guests correctly during the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show. Registration opens in October!

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