Tuesday 2¢: Give Them the Other Thing They Like

I could be going horribly provincial with this week’s Tuesday 2¢, as my inspiration is a chain of UK restaurants and a podcast they produced. You might need to bear with me on this one…  

I’ve only recently made time to really get into podcasts, mostly I listen to all the normal stuff on marketing, but I’ve been listening to Reggae 45, a podcast about the history of Reggae, sponsored by Turtle Bay, a chain of Caribbean restaurants in the UK.

Aside from enjoying these restaurants, my wife’s family are Caribbean, and I have liked the food and music since working in the diverse environment of a government job when I left school at 17.

But this isn’t about me – it’s about the simple genius that is a Caribbean restaurant chain engaging Don Letts, a DJ legend and reggae authority to host a podcast about the music that is so much a part of Caribbean culture. You listen to it and you can almost smell the food.

Turtle Bay is a simple pleasure, but like any successful restaurant, being a chain could take the shine off the authenticity of the claim of a genuine Caribbean experience that the brand story suggests, a culture that is not normally associated with restaurant commercialism.  

Plus, dig a little deeper and you discover that this authentic Caribbean experience (I have it on good authority that it is authentic) was conceived by an immigrant, not from the West Indies, but the East – Sri Lanka (Ajith Jayawickrema) in Milton Keynes. A place not noted for its Afro-Caribbean community or as the first port of call for the people from the Windrush.  

I’m not suggesting that anyone, apart from some dude doing his research before writing a blog post, researches the founders of restaurants before they eat in them and being from Sri Lanka shouldn’t matter to anyone (me, I’d thank the man), but it’s slightly at odds with the brand promise that conjures up an image of home cooking that has spilled out into the street.  

However, they’ve not only nailed the brand experience while you are in the restaurant, with the décor, food, and music but this association with Letts, as a cultural influencer, instills trust and credibility into the brand story.

Recognizing the importance of music as an association with the food extends the reach and relationship with the brand beyond the restaurant, that most of all, feels natural, relevant and appropriate.

Not just that, the Letts podcast is about the history of reggae. A successful chain of restaurants is not going to be able to rely on serving a core audience who already understand the vibe, but nurturing people to get into it. As a history, it’s also a reminder or a celebration for the current generation of the music they listened to at home. I have no idea if this was intentional, I could be over thinking this, but it works.

I know, this is not the case study of Henry Ford or Chick-Fil-A and it’s not exactly an Oreos moment – but I like the way in its own small way, it all clicked into place.

The lesson for us folks in B2B marketing, that don’t have this idealised vision of sunshine, beaches and rum to sprinkle over our brand story, is that we can extend our reach and engagement with content marketing that is not just about our core topic (the thing we sell or the problem we solve), but provides the audience with a broader experience, addressing adjacent topics that would be useful, entertaining, relevant and of interest to them and keeps them engaged.

Then carefully pick influencers that will lend credibility and authority to our brand, the story we are telling and why we are straying into these adjacent themes.

The important point is that this has to click into place, it has to feel natural, relevant and appropriate.

One love 🙂