I spent two days at the Transition Percolate marketing conference in New York City, and one of the most insightful panels was titled, How to Build an Inspired Customer Community. Nikki Rappaport, director of brand and marketing at Cava Grill, has helped grow a local restaurant into a national chain with an engaged social community. Her tactics may be easier to execute within a small organization, but that’s no excuse. Here’s what we learned:
Be nimble. When Nikki started at Cava Grill, the social photography was less than stellar. She went beyond styling better food photos and actually changed the way the restaurants were presenting food. By making a few small tweaks in how the kitchen added garnish and sauces, she was able to inspire the brand’s advocates to post more pictures on social.
Follow-through is key. Cava Grill keeps track of each user asking for new restaurant locations, then follows up with them on social when they launch in the requested city. They’ve done the same with specific product requests—tagging vegetarians in social posts announcing new meat-free menu items.
These are just a few of the simple concepts presented at Transition Percolate that have a huge impact, which big brands should be executing. Changing an organization’s process is not an easy task, but if you’re nimble and you follow through, you can build an inspired customer community.
It's time for the @WaPoExpress Best Of 2016 list! We hope you'll vote: https://t.co/KWqgs74ZWV #BestQuickLunch pic.twitter.com/UYsKnfCFrU
— Cava Grill (@CavaGrill) September 12, 2016