Last week, Mark Bittman wrote about his favorite lunch place in Manhattan but he didn’t reveal its name. It’s his and he wants to keep it that way. In the September issue of bon appetit, editor in chief Adam Rapoport extols the virtues of his favorite dinner place in the West Village, name withheld to keep the place free of foodie riff-raff. Or maybe free of you and me.
The point of both stories, which were published around the same time, is that sometimes it’s good to get away from the trendy, the highfalutin, the celebrity and blogger and amuse-bouche-fueled ceremony that makes restaurants cool and expensive and instead enjoy something that’s simple, delicious and welcoming.
Bittman’s and Rapoport’s desire to eat well without ceremony and paparazzi is a useful notion for PR folks to consider, not just those in the food business. Often, we are asked to figure out how to insert our clients into a conversation where influencers are and our first instinct is to ask how we can make our brands stand out and be cool. Reese’s as the official candy of the 2011 CES show comes to mind. It was positioned as a tech brand and executed through a lot of fun tactics but at the end of the day … really? I’m sure there are numerous brands at Fashion Week right this minute that have no business spending a dime near the tents because they’re trying too hard.
To take a lesson from Bittman and Rapoport maybe it’s better to figure out how your brand can make influencers feel as if it is their “regular” spot, their best kept secret. A go-to place that offers a cornucopia of pleasures absent from the newest hot-spot but makes them feel that all is right with the world and that they are being taken care of.
What would your brand be like if it were a best-kept secret for someone who has seen it all, done it all and has an expense account for it all? Here are some characteristics that best-kept secrets share:
- Specially located.
- Intimately sized.
- Unspoiled by commercialization.
- Available in limited quantities; scarce.
- Authentic and genuine, untouched by trends.
- Welcoming and personal.
Imagine your brand having all of those characteristics. If it were specially located, where would it be? How few people can it accommodate at once? What if you didn’t care about making tons of money, but rather, you’re just making enough. How little of you is there to go around? What might that be? What is the very most authentic thing about you? How can you show it? How can your brand connect on a truly personal level?
You may manage a huge brand, but this exercise is worthwhile. People, even people who have access to the best of everything, love their best-kept secrets. That’s why they keep them secret.
Let me know what you uncover. I promise I won’t tell.