marketing differentiation salt bae

Would You Spend $1000 on an “Okay” Steak?

Most reviews I’ve seen on Salt Bae’s steaks say that the steaks they ordered, while cost an arm and a leg, was only mediocre in taste and quality. So why are people lining up, with cash in their hands just to get the “Salt Bae” experience?

When you really break it down, the product offering is as simple as it can get…cooked steak with a sprinkle of salt. But what makes it so special that people are willing to pay premium price for it? THAT, is the beauty of differentiation. In a saturated market, you can see ten other people sell the same thing as you do. With prices lower than yours, with better location, or with features that you don’t have. The only way to beat your competitors is when you separate yourself from the herd and offer something the others can’t. In Salt Bae’s case, it’s the EXPERIENCE.

While his restaurant offers a multitude of dishes, and even steaks that are lower than $1000, the only time he graces your table is when you order the golden tomahawk, or the other steaks that are above $1000. The question now is, is he worth the $1000? The beauty of his branding is that the “VALUE” of his presence is subject to the person who is willing to get the full “salt-bae” experience. If it’s important for that person to post online that they have finally checked off being served by Salt Bae in their bucket list, then yes, it may be worth it. The value goes beyond the price tag now, as people now think “experience is priceless. Here are 5 Tips for brand for adding the element of “experience” into their marketing strategy.

Think of a unique experience people can have when they visit your store.

Stop doing the same old campaigns over and over again, think of something fun, innovative and involve the customer in the experience. Some restaurants add vodka to a pizza crust and light it on fire, some pour melted cheese on top of nachos in front of the customers, some restaurants let the customers pour the sauce over the dish. Try to see what tasks you can let them do so they can be a part of the food preparation experience.

Mix it up, think long term.

No one likes a one trick pony. Make sure your campaigns are always followed by another one. Plan in monthly, quarterly, bi-annual and yearly increments, not just what you will be posting tomorrow. This will make sure your campaigns will always have a follow through and your customers will always have something to look forward to.

Show the item being used or applied in real world settings.

Don’t tell them, show them. People are visual learners, so instead of telling them how juicy a burger is, take a video of someone biting into it, or squeezing the hell out of it to show how much juice comes out. If you are selling a vacuum cleaner for example, show how it cleans different services and even compare it to other brands. People want to see REAL, organic results and not hyper photoshopped or studio-produced photos.

Allow users to post their own experience using a branded hashtag.

When users post on their socials, you want to be able to track how much your campaign has succeeded in earned media. Encouraging them to use a hashtag is the best way to do that. With a hashtag campaign to support your efforts, you can comment on their posts for more brand visibility, repost their experiences, and build a virtual community out of people who have used the hashtags so they can interact with each other. Not only is it good for your brand’s reach, but it will also foster a sense of community among your followers.

Highlight your customers’ experience on your feed.

No one wants to see you all the time, a brand should make the customers the hero of their story. Instead of posting food photos with amazing flatlays and styled shots, post photos of your customers in your store, or videos of someone using your product. They should be the highlight of your feed as you are trying to paint a picture to someone who has not been there, to see what their experience will be like when they go there, or when they use the product themselves. Authenticity is key and someone will believe their friends over what a brand says.

When you work your brand, your image, your “one thing that you want to be known for”, you instantly remove yourself from the marketplace and set yourself apart from competitors. You dictate your own price, you set your own limits and you won’t even remember to look at what your competitors are doing in the first place. So it really depends on you, the consumer, on how much are you willing to pay for the “Salt Bae” experience.

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