How does a company get to the point where they’re teeming with happy, loyal customers who sing their praises (otherwise known as brand evangelists)? Hear from upcoming Austin AMA speaker, Steve Basile of B.D. Riley’s Pub & Restaurant, about how he works to build brand evangelism and word-of-mouth marketing within the Austin pub scene.
To hear more from Steve, register for Why Every Company Needs Brand Evangelists, Austin AMA’s August happy hour held at B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub & Restaurant on August 20th.
When looking at building brand evangelists, where’s the divide between online and offline relationship-building—or is there one?
In this business (hospitality) it’s more about relationship building in person, and reputation building/management online. Online we are fortunate to have an active social media presence, and a pretty stellar reputation after 15 years in the same location, hence our avoidance of advertising. In person, if we don’t delight every guest and truly make them feel welcome and ensure they have a great visit, we are well aware they can obtain the basics of what we offer by going 20 feet in any direction from our door. So it’s essential.
What is your favorite blog or resource for marketing news, industry insights or just plain old inspiration?
I read Restaurant Startup & Growth magazine from RestaurantOwner.com, which also offers many marketing and operational resources, and also a daily blog called Restaurant Business. Unrelated to my industry, I read things like Wired, Fast Company, TechCrunch and Business Insider, because I still enjoy technology and some ideas are universal, or at least adaptable.
What are some ways you’ve encouraged and nurtured brand evangelism at B.D. Riley’s?
When I started with the pub, it was new, beautiful and empty—an anomaly on 6th Street without a following. As a marketing guy, I set out to create and reinforce an identity that set it apart—the authenticity and Irish character, the fine pub food and most of all the adult crowd. “6th Street for Grown Ups” was the tagline, and it took. We reinforce that in every way, striving to be a uniquely Irish oasis for adults in a sea of “college shot bars,” and to attract a business and convention traveler that they seem to ignore.
So—without giving the whole event way, why does every company need brand evangelists?
If you don’t have a significant number of people who are truly passionate about your company and/or brand, it’s going to die—and perhaps it should. Passion is what fuels every aspect of a company’s success and growth and without evangelism, it’s hard to sustain.
So, we hear that you’re also a Master of Ceremonies. How did that come about, and what have been some of your favorite events?
I had a variety of business cards at Tivoli, including “Chief Technology Evangelist” and VP of Marketing/Americas, but my favorite, and one that gave IBM Human Resources fits after we were acquired, read “Corporate Mouthpiece.” They had no idea where to place that in their simple hierarchy. Four years in college radio and a love for the stage led me to host nearly every major customer conference and partner event around the world, including Paris, Rome, Athens, Maui, Monte Carlo, Sydney and Tokyo, and many in the U.S. I got to introduce and share the stage with wonderful people like comic Paula Poundstone, IBM CEO Lou Gerstner, Interviewer/TV Host David Frost, Secretary of State James Baker, Sun CEO Scott McNealy, plus Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, The Beach Boys, Charo!, Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, and a personal favorite – just last year – Nate Silver.
Steve Basile spent nineteen years in a variety of technology and technology marketing positions and now remains in marketing but in the pub sector of the service industry–a welcome change. Steve’s specialties range from technology marketing programs, branding and identity, and customer programs, to online reputation management, platform performance training/presenter coaching, and voiceover work.
He’s also a professional Master of Ceremonies. Steve has led marketing for Tivoli (an IBM company) and currently is a managing partner for BD Riley’s Pub, leading their marketing efforts. You can find him on LinkedIn.