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Next-Gen CX: #HTREST Keynote Shakes Up Biz as Usual

Would you tattoo your favorite restaurant’s logo on your body? Would you camp out to be the first to try a new flavor of ice cream? Do you have customers who do either of those things with your company? If you don’t, you might want to take a few pointers from Johnny Earle, “Johnny Cupcakes,” because he has. Earle started a t-shirt business and transformed it into a multi-million dollar entity that has fans camping outside to the be first to get new designs and getting tattoos of the Johnny Cupcakes insignia.
Anyone who inspires such rabid brand loyalty and excitement surely knows a thing or two about creating an experience that keeps customers coming back and becoming brand ambassadors.
Earle will be kicking off the 2016 Restaurant Executive Summit with an opening keynote address “Surprise, Delight, Sell: Making the Brand the Experience.” Leading up to the event, HT had a chance to check in and get a little preview of what attendees can expect from his session.
HT: What would you say are three key components of a memorable customer experience?
JE: First, the element of surprise. Second, unique packaging that tells a story and enhances the brand. Third, keeping it personal through hand written notes and great customer service.
HT: How do you think restaurants need to rethink the service experience?
JE: There's always room for improvement and reinventing ideas.  Service can be improved by better training, incentives, having a higher purpose, monthly events which encourage new people to come out and helps build a community -- these also help better break the ice with service.  During my talk, I'll be sharing more than 50 other tips and tricks which could be applied.
HT: Taking experience even further -- is creating a brand. How must marketers and other management (including IT) work together to create this cohesive brand image?
JE: Consistently reinvent what you do. Creative thinking can be applied everywhere in your business, to help build your brand into something one of a kind.  Give magazine writers something to write about.  Give strangers a reason to be curious and want to support you.  When creating and/or re-building your brand, have a purpose, a story, transparency, typography, a mascot, a personality, and a calendar of what needs to happen when.  From marketing and management, to social  media and IT. Create a dozen reasons why you're different from others, and don't just stop there.  People have so many options, so you'll need many reasons why they'd take a risk with you.  
HT: What companies do you think are killing it with brand experience? Why?
JE: Upward Projects in Phoenix and any of Steven Starr's restaurants in and around Philly.  These restaurant groups don't mess around.  Quality of food, service, different themes with top notch design.  For instance, when you're in Steven Starr's sushi restaurant Morimoto, you feel like you're in a space ship.  The minimalistic yet over the top design and ambiance heightens your senses and dining experience.  
     When you are creating unique experiences, if you play your cards right, your customers will do the talking and marketing for you, which is advertising that money can't buy.
Don’t miss your chance to see Johnny in person! Register today to attend the 2016 Restaurant Executive Summit at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio, November 7-9.
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