In part one of Pizza Branding 101, “Tagline to Table”, we gave you the lowdown not only on what branding is, but its importance, even to the small pizza shop on the corner that’s been there since 1954. Now that you have a better idea of branding, and have thought through whether or not your brand matches your “za”, let’s talk customer base. Does your brand meet their needs, expectations, and mindsets?
What Really is a “Customer Base”?
You may think your customers are simply the people that enter your shop, sit down, and eat your pizza. And you’re right – they are. But your customers aren’t just who sits down in your shop. There are actually many different types of customers that you may not even be aware of. For example, those who visit your site, hear about your pizza via word of mouth and plan to get it this week, or those who have visited your shop but haven’t returned. There are loyal and engaged customers (the regulars you see twice a week), and there are those you don’t see (who like your social media photos or have ordered your pizza for delivery but have not yet entered your store). Customers and potential customers come in all degrees, and it’s important you think about all of them no matter what type of business you run.
A customer base, on the other hand, is the group of people who are loyal to your shop – your pie lovers and za enthusiasts! They’re engaged in your happenings and come back again and again for your pizza. “These shoppers may be loyal to your brand for a number of reasons…you offer them a product they want or need, your brand’s messaging resonates with them, or they enjoy being involved in your brand community.”
When it comes to your brand, you also don’t want to forget about those you communicate with on a daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis. The wholesalers, retailers, and vendors you work with should all get a good sense of your brand as well, whether that be by how you speak to them over the phone, the tone you use in your emails, or the branding materials you send them online or in the mail.
And, although it’s easy to pass by the importance of learning about your customer base, as well as understanding this base and catering to it, it’s essential for your shop and your brand. In a recent study of 1,900+ business professionals, 45.9% said their #1 priority for the next 5 years was customer experience (even over pricing and product). And consumers agree with this notion. Statistically, “76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs.”
But first…before you dive too deep into the customer base you have and want, and ensuring your brand matches this base and their needs – take a look at the overall meaning of your business and the goals you’re looking to achieve.
Know Your Dough
A pizza is nothing without its dough. Without the dough, it’s simply a hot bowl of sauce, cheese, and toppings. Think of the meaning behind your business – the “why” – as the dough. You need this as a foundation to decide on all other aspects, such as your goals, your ideal customer base, and inevitably, your brand. Ask yourself questions about your shop, like:
Once you’ve answered all of these questions, you’ll have the tools you need to determine your ideal customer base and make other valuable decisions for your business.
Getting to Know Your Za Enthusiasts
Once you have a better idea of your target audience, the rest comes together fairly smoothly. The better your understanding of this base, the easier it is to retain them. Here are four simple steps to further identify your target za lovers:
Understanding your customers’ wants, needs, personalities, and actions, and thinking through how your za can relate to these, will ultimately facilitate to great success for your shop.
Catering to Customers
What you find in your research of your ideal customer base will contribute heavily to how you define your brand. Is your target audience wealthy, with high expectations? Do they demand exceptional service? Brand your shop to be high class, with pizza that uses the best and rarest ingredients. Oppositely, maybe you find your shop to be a mom’s quick stop before heading home to feed her family of 5. Market your pizza as family and budget-friendly, fast paced, and understanding of large household chaos. Another example? Your shop is the trendiest za stop in town – where skateboarders enter with board in one hand and leave with a slice in the other. Sometimes they’ll have time to take a seat, and other times, they’ll be on the go. Use bright colors, flashy signage, and current music to make them feel intrigued and excited. You get the picture. Meet them where they are, where they’re going, and where they want to be…hopefully in your booth!
From Knowing to Growing
Like we said, knowing your customer base is imperative to maintaining a great shop, but also to growing your shop. Add loyal za lovers to your adamant customer base by engaging with them beyond the first purchase, and showing them consistent, inviting brand messaging. Don’t just sell them a slice with a smile, but remind them again and again of your friendly service, delicious pizza, and great atmosphere. Implement strategies and services, such as loyalty programs, social media campaigns, and exemplary customer service, to turn strangers to visitors, visitors to customers, and customers to promoters – who will promote your brand for free through word of mouth and gatherings at your shop.
Speaking of, word of mouth marketing (better known as WOMM) is one of the most effective and reliable types of marketing. A customer you get from WOMM has a 16-25% higher lifetime value than those acquired through other marketing. Additionally, “84% of consumers all over the world trust recommendations from friends and loved ones.” Give your customers experiences and stories, through great branding and personalized service, that stick with them and cause them to tell others about your shop. Make sure you and your staff are authentic, transparent, and give value to customers during interactions and throughout marketing messaging.
Identifying your customer base from their lifestyles, to their situations, problems, implications, and needs, is the best way to build a brand that meets them where they are, and where they’re going.
Looking to spice up or streamline your pizza branding? Contact us to send out on-brand messaging to attract new and returning customers.