I recently had a sit-down interview with Jon, one of the owners of b.good, to get the inside scoop on b.good’s content strategy. For those of you that haven’t experienced b.good, it’s a growing Boston-based burger chain, that specializes in making “good food, fast”. They offer a handful of juicy speciality burgers, killer salads, oven baked fries, and milkshakes to die for. The cherry on top of their heavenly milkshakes is that they’re socially responsible. They source most of their ingredients from local businesses, often featuring the farmers themselves on the walls. All of these wonderful things aside, what helped draw me into to want to learn more about the company was its great content oriented and customer-centric marketing. Most of which is done by email, but they’re also branching out into the mobile space with a recently launched mobile customer loyalty application(ripe for a follow-up blog post). So after thinking long and hard about what makes b.good so darn amazing, I came up with the following five top reasons I fell in love with b.good.
Customer-centric — similar to the way Zappos approaches selling shoes online, Jon and Anthony aim to make you part of the family. This is evident not only in the branding around their loyalty program, focusing on “b.good Kin” but also in the way they resolve mistakes and bring the WOW factor in social media. Tweet about loving their food, get retweeted or @replied; accidentally pick up the wrong order – they’ll happily add a sorry burger to your “kin” account. It’s this extra effort that delights those Bostonians lucky enough to enjoy b.good regularly.
They weave their customers into the brand story with and annual contests where they name the b.good champion. Allowing customers to vote on who they think is the most deserving of the title, they create a community of loyal brand advocates.
Authentic — b.good is one of the most approachable and fun-loving brands that I’ve had the pleasure of encountering.
Their newsletters and promotional emails are informative and also entertaining, making it seem as if you’re part of the story rather than a customer they’d like to upsell. They like to poke fun at themselves and clue you in on the challenges and triumphs of their labor of love.
Approachable — In their monthly email newsletters they often ask for feedback on things you love, and are open to suggestions. A great example is how they embraced the gluten-free community in Boston, by offering gluten-free buns. While many businesses are adverse to trying new things or taking risks, Jon felt that doing so really helped the business because it made his customers extremely happy. He recalled one customer was over the moon, because he could go out and grab burgers AND fries with his buddies and simply feel ‘normal’.
In addition to offering things most fast food businesses won’t, it’s note-able that they have a great crew of employees and I’d say probably some of the best retention of any food business in Boston. I’ve been a customer of one location for over two years and there has been very little turnover. Jon attributes this to treating their employees with respect, encouraging them to build rapport with customers, and working hard to make the work environment fun. Even though the business sees hundreds of customers a day, I can tell that many of the employees can spot a regular. One particular employee, has a knack for saving me from accidentally ordering items on the menu that aren’t gluten-free. It’s this kind of relationship that turns your deep like for a restaurant, company, or brand from like to love.
Responsible — they attempt to create a connection between the food you’re eating and the people behind making that happen. By sourcing locally they keep more dollars in the local economy and fresh food just plain tastes better!
They feature pictures of the farmers prominently in the store, with the names of the towns and what they produce proudly displayed below. Including the farmers that raise the beef in the burgers, the potatoes that make the fries, and the cheese on their sandwiches. So that customers can get a visual of real people, helping create the real food that they’re eating. If you look at the long list of ingredients in burgers at most fast food restaurants, there will likely be at least a few unpronounceable words listed.
Environmentally conscious — All b.good food consumed in-house is served on stainless steel pizza plates and bowls, depending on what you order lined with a thin parchment, cutting waste down considerably. For those that need to-go orders they use bio-degradable recycled cardboard boxes and paper bags, because sometimes you need to grab food and go.
In addition, to supporting local farmers they source their beef from family farms in Maine that never use antibiotics or growth hormones and are fed a strict vegetarian diet. In warmer New England months they source most of their veggies from Dick’s Market Garden and over the past three years have growing a few veggies with the help of Green City Growers. Check out the video below to see what they grew this past season.
These five components of b.good’s killer content strategy aren’t just items on a checklist, they are the foundation of what they’re all about. It’s one thing to declare as an organization what you’d like to be, but it’s another to commit to walking the walk. For me it was my experience with catering that caused brand awareness, but it was their food and their honest fun-loving storytelling style marketing that made me a brand advocate. While this may not work for every business, I’m certain that at least one of the five keys can be adopted into your marketing or maybe even your company culture and garner a positive affect.
Lindsey Mark works in Client Relations at Compete and is responsible for the strategic development of client retention and support policies for compete.com, with a focus on education and training efforts. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY so she's a certified technology junkie and open source advocate. When she's not thinking about marketing or training digital 007's at compete, she's doing yoga & blogging about gluten-free diet and lifestyle. Find Lindsey on Twitter as @linji, Google Plus as Lindsey Mark or connect with her via LinkedIn.