Friday, January 15, 2010

Cliff Divers, Pirate Caves, and Gorillas… Inside a Mexican Restaurant

The Beautiful House
Casa Bonita is a Mexican restaurant outside of Denver, Colorado. It claims to be North America's largest restaurant at 52,000 square feet and seating for up to 1,100 people. Inside the restaurant is a 30-foot tall cliff that towers above a pool of water. Every few minutes, someone climbs up the cliff and dives into the water below.

The restaurant also features:
  • An "escaped" gorilla named Chiquita that runs throughout the restaurant
  • Black Bart's secret hideout caves
  • Magic shows
  • Puppet shows
  • A strolling Mariachi band
  • Flame jugglers
Everybody who goes to Casa Bonita knows that they're going to be entertained. The restaurant was even featured in an episode of South Park.

Great Expectations

People expect an over-the-top dining experience at Casa Bonita. Want a fun night out with the whole family? Head to Casa Bonita -- that's what it's known for.

What do people expect from your products or services? You don't need the country's largest restaurant to set great expectations and deliver on them. Just become the restaurant that gives a balloon to every child who comes in, or the deli that asks a trivia question every lunch hour and gives out a free pastry to the person who gets it right. Become known for something, set people's expectations, and then deliver on them.

Add This to Your To-Do List
I'll bet you can think of five things that your business, product, or service can "become known for" right now. Keep it simple -- start with the basics. Is it a color? A phrase? An attitude? Build on that and soon enough, you'll have something great. Then, deliver on what you're known for over and over. Soon, your customers will come to expect it and they'll tell their friends about it.

Just dive right in.

There's never a lack of ideas.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Two Thumbs Up — Have More Fun During Movie Previews

What's In It for Us?
If we're going to be subjected to 20 minutes of movie previews every time we go to the theater, shouldn't we get something good out of that time? The movie producers get our attention, but what do we get in return? I propose a new way to get movie-goers more involved with movie previews in a way that will both entertain fans and increase box office sales.

Imagine This
I recently saw about eight movie previews in a theater before watching Avatar. One of the movies looked good, but after watching a two and a half hour movie, I couldn't remember the name of it. I'll bet you've had a similar experience.

I think that movie theaters should install small video screens in each of its theater seats and allow movie-goers the chance to request more information about a movie preview that appeals to them. Imagine if you could tap "I like it, tell me more" on a video screen after seeing the latest Tom Cruise movie preview. You would then type in your name and email address on the screen and on your way out, a theater employee would call out your name and hand you a refrigerator magnet featuring Tom Cruise and the website and release date of his newest movie.

A few weeks later, you would receive a "save the date" email to remind you when the movie debuts. A week before the movie, you would get another email about the film with the chance to pre-purchase your tickets online. If you're willing to type your mailing address into the video screen at your seat, the movie company would mail you a save the date postcard "signed" by Tom Cruise and maybe even a movie poster. The postcard could include a coupon for savings on a snack at the theater.

Theaters would pay for the seat screens by charging movie production companies fees to use their services. Movie companies would be allowed to tastefully remind customers who express interest in a movie about its upcoming release. They'd be able to build databases of their customers to find out their likes and dislikes. Theaters would build relationships with their most loyal customers by tracking which previews succeed and which ones fail -- and ultimately they'd be able to screen movies that their customers most want to see.

It's fun and it's profitable -- everybody wins.

Add This to Your To-Do List

How do you keep your customers' attention? You need to constantly give customers reasons to talk about you and ways in which to remember you. Put a magnet with your logo on it into every package that you ship. Send a corporate calendar to your best customers. Send "save the date" cards to your loyal customers before a big sale. Give them fun reasons to talk, and they will.

There's never a lack of ideas.