Form Is Nothing Without Consistency

Revenues and customers continue to decline for the umpteenth consecutive year? Have you already set up an appointment with an architect to renovate your shop, restaurant, pizzeria, bar and to solve your problems concretely?  Prevention is better than cure, especially in business, you know?

You are about to invest a lot of money to open or modernize your business, spend thousands of euros or kroner in newer furnishings and more efficient equipment. You’ve probably got a new lease from your bank and asked for an amount above your real possibilities to mark a turning point for your business, and make your premises more trendy. You have also ordered new uniforms for your employees, someone told you they might make a difference.

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not changing the facade of your place that will boost your business and even if a renewal might be an opportunity to attract new customers, you should at least answer some of these questions before throwing out your money. In fact, many more but we will discover it along the way!

Who do you want to become? Do not forget that you cannot be everything and you must choose where you want to place your business in people’s minds compared to competitors. Who do you want to address? Are you thinking of renewing to regain a part of customers lost over time or because you want to address a new target of customers? Remember that orienting yourself to a new category of people could make you lose the current ones not in line with the new concept of activity you have in mind.

Which feature will differentiate you compared to competitors? In which way this expense of energy and money will make you think different, unique and, I would add, necessary for the market? What will be your Unique Selling Proposition, after this renewal so much desired? U.S.P. which is also the fulcrum around which you should rotate the way you want to introduce yourself to your customers, promote your services, build your new business and renewal ideas.

Since I’ve been living in Oslo, I confess I’ve lost a taste for appreciating activities from an aesthetic point of view or design details. And for everything that concerns communication, promotion part of the operative marketing. In Norway, I understand even more clearly that if a good taste is not consistent with the context, the target of reference and, above all, the business idea you want to accomplish, it’s just a smoke to the eyes, a banal exercise of style.

Here in Norway, for example, marketing specialists are, in my opinion, extraordinary, among the best in the world in designing and making the box, business packaging, promoting it through original communication strategies, but often incoherent when it comes to combine the form with the substance.

I still remember the payoff, Pronto e Perfetto, of Spuntino at Aker Brygge, a cosy pizzeria serving pizza slices in the most crowded tourist area in Oslo that closed the doors after just two years of activity. Also, and not only, because its marketing wizards had created a conceptually take-away pizzeria in which, however, in the high season (the reason why this business was in that particular area) the waiting times for a simple slice of Margherita, could also be of 50 minutes. And things did not improve much in more quiet periods, because at Spuntino, of Pronto e Perfetto was only the slogan.

A local example of business in which much money had been invested, but it was not enough to be in the coolest part of the city, to set up an attractive location, to have a good team of employees, to create an original slogan, because obviously its managers had no idea who and what Spuntino should be, which customers it should address, what type of products and services they should offered to differentiate, in positive, from aggressive competitors, and how to remain consistent with Spuntino brand message, pronto e perfetto!

Because you should always remember that it is not necessary to build expectations on illusions, but it is vital to act with awareness, clarity and consistency, whether you want to turn words into facts, turn a good idea into a successful reality, and thus convert money in value.