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Disruptive approaches to location as word of mouth promotion

This week I’m sharing a simple insight about “place” (one of the marketing 4Ps) and how having a unique location can become a strong element of marketing if it is word of mouth, mouse and mobile worthy. I’ve pulled a couple examples from my recent travels through Australia in Melbourne and Perth. A picture is worth a thousand words, so have a look at these below and I’ll fill you in on the details…

Could there be anything more bizarre then dining in the corner of a parking garage? Agreed, but when you’re a guest of food and wine critic, and they say “we must go here”, you simply follow. This Thai restaurant is unique in several ways. It’s not only in an unlikely location, it is also run by two different companies – one does the Thai food lunch crowd, then the staff change over for the dinner and late-night crowd. It’s authentic Thai street food at its finest, served up with cheap tin spoons on plastic plates at metal card tables and plastic stools. It’s always packed, and the entrance is literally down a ramp off an alley, around the parking control arm, and through a line of people paying their parking for the night. Obviously, you can’t pull this off unless you’re serving up amazing food, but the location is so unlikely it becomes instantly shareable – and it seems almost in a secret location, making it even more appealing.

Melbourne is a city where food, art, music and culture come to life in the alleyways. Borne of visionary urban planning renewal in the 90s, life literally brims over in the most unlikely hidden spots. This trailer jammed in an alley serves as a restaurant hub for diners on bistro tables amidst the hustle of people “just passing through” on their way somewhere else in the middle of the dining experience. It’s cute, totally memorable and most importantly instantly photo worthy and shareable.

We passed by this pretty as a picture pastel pink shipping container while walking through the arts district on my final evening in Perth. It’s a take away restaurant specializing in giant fresh pretzels. I of course took out my phone immediately to capture it. My friends explained that it was the brainchild of the daughter of one of their friends, who had opened it after coming up with the idea in a business class at Uni. They are now at their third location and taking Perth by storm. What makes it so unique is that officially it is “pop up retail” and not a permanent location, so they were able to get licensing to put it in a perfect high traffic area – and because it adds to the whole arts/culture vibe in the area, they have been welcome to stay much longer than their initial temporary permit.

The learning in all these is of course becoming word of mouth worthy. In an age where customers control over 66% of your marketing through social media sharing, and online reviews, making your “place” or location unique enough to become a promotional tool is brilliant. Plus, often unique means off the beaten path which can come with less cost (at least initially) since nobody else has seen the potential.

Might there be something in all this that stirs your creativity and how you approach your marketing, especially as it relates to “place” and location? I hope so! If you’ve visited a restaurant (or any retail location for that matter) that was memorable simply because of its bizarre location, I’d love to hear about it. And I’ll give you credit in a future newsletter and blog post if it’s something I end up featuring. Leave a comment below!

Mary Charleson

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