Simple online search to a memorable offline experience

“At the core of every organisation is the product that outlines what the organisation does, and at the core of every product is the consumer who decides what he/she/it prefers”.

Isn’t this what every enterprise small, medium or large is aspiring to achieve? How often do we get to experience the “ah!” brand moment ourselves? I am sure, we all do. Well, here is an experience of my own, unexpectedly in a small, elegant fine dine restaurant in the beautiful area of Erlangen in Germany, located just a few kilometers from the city of Nuremberg.

The online experience

Few days prior to my anniversary, I was in search of a fine dine restaurant. Being on the move, I performed a quick mobile Google search – “Fine dining in Erlangen” and the relevant recommendations popped up in top half of the search page. Using the coordinates listed on the search page, I reviewed few of them online, and later called this restaurant to reserve a place for two.

The offline experience

On the eve of the anniversary, as we settled down at our table, the headwaiter greeted us with a pleasing smile. After exchanging pleasantries we turned for the menu, and were surprised to hear that the restaurant didn’t have any. Instead they preferred that the Chef is introduced to the guests first hand and prepare something delicious to suit the palate of the guests. The Chef went on to ask us “what do you feel like having today?” (In German). They spoke German or Italian, and very little English, and we somehow managed to communicate with each other. As he continued he faced a challenge in front of him (evident when he said “Mamma Mia!”) – What to serve a vegetarian, in the 4-course menu? I could understand the difficulty of the task — being Germany, and intending to eat in a fine dine Italian restaurant, without meat, a staple in diets of both these regions. They took a few minutes to get to know my palate and my likes, and said I am in for a great night. I was hoping it wasn’t sarcastic.

That “ah!” moment

The rest of the evening, I was served with 3-course vegetarian dishes at the right time followed by a dessert that were scrumptious. One of the dishes was not to my satisfaction, but I was offered an extra desert at no additional cost to compensate. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular, but dining at this restaurant turned out to be more than just a meal for me. It was a very memorable experience for a perfect date!

The repeat mode

Hoping it wasn’t a onetime wonder, I repeated my visits on two other occasions, and unexpectedly returned with a positive experience every time. Later, I went on to share my recommendations with my friends and colleagues.

Key learning’s

This was a personal experience on how a simple mobile search led me to the right content and reviews that drove me to the right restaurant which delivered the right product and unexpectedly an excellent customer service.
Despite being a local brand, the experience this small restaurant generated has left quite an impression on me to recommend this eating place to anyone visiting Erlangen. Isn’t this what we are trying to achieve within the offline and online space today? The message from our day to day being is simple – the content that your consumers want is out there in various channels, namely the web, social, retail stores, wholesale, TV etc. – you name it! Now, imagine only if your brand could take the locally relevant contents to the remotest regions that helps generate a personalized experienced for your consumers, so they could take informed decisions and experience something amazing and exhilarating. Wouldn’t keeping the person in the personalized and customized experience be like achieving nirvana for your brand? That’s exactly what this little Italian restaurant nestled in a corner of Erlangen did.
Engage with Anand Rao via twitter @anands_rao
Readings also available at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/simple-online-search-memorable-offline-experience-anand-rao
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