Toronto has been experiencing a Foodie craze. Distinctive restaurants, pubs, gastro-pubs, taverns and bars have been popping out of every available store front. The distinguishing feature of most of these gastro-adventures lies in the unconcerned ambiance, mixed with up-and-coming young chefs cooking up “cool” dishes. Increasing the cool factor, these restaurants vow to cater to their immediate neighbourhood, becoming part of the community.
Super Fans & Matt Basile
This revolution has served well for aspiring chefs, such as Matt Basile, who is best known for his successful food truck Fidel Gastro’s. Matt was the chef without the kitchen. The uber-success of Fidel Gastro’s lead to his Rebel Without a Kitchen TV Show on the Travel & Escape Channel, which ultimately lead him to his brick and mortar location, Lisa Marie, where he serves dishes much like the ones served on his truck that people have come to love. Lisa Marie has no website, or advertising. What it does have are fans that have made a case big enough for the newly opened dig to be featured on every local food blog. By carefully building his Brand Community, he was able to open Lisa Marie within two years.
Lisa Marie is not the only note worthy new joint working its magic with the Toronto Social Media and community. All over Toronto, local fooderies are popping up, looking to serve their immediate neighbourhood and creating armies of Super Fans who live and breathe the experience of eating food made by community members. They check in through Social Media upon every visit, and their friends and families are bound to see their dinner on Instagram. Never mind the filters; the images are mouth watering enough to replace any elaborate advertising campaign, or the need for a website or online menu.
Super Fans & Nutella
The exact worth of a Super Fan for a Brand is still not fully determined, but it is safe for us to assume that cultivating your Brand’s relationship with its most passionate Brand Community members is crucial. The most noteworthy example of a Super Fan, however, is Sara Rosso. Sara loves Nutella so much, that in 2007 she founded World Nutella Day. She has tweeted and shared everything Nutella, including 700+ recipes. Even one Super Fan within your Brand Community could make a tremendous difference.
Foodies in your Brand Community
We could go as far as to say that over the past couple of years, entire neighbourhoods have been revitalized due to the foodie movement and the involvement of Brand Communities in keeping small restaurant doors open. The main reason these places are loved is because of their ties with the immediate community. Many pride themselves in using local ingredients, serving local beer and wine, and mostly, it seems that they are independent small businesses that are here simply because of the love of food. And the foodies are buying it, loving it, and sharing it.
How to treat a Super Fan
Reward: Give them reason to share and talk about your brand
Content: Provide great content they will want to share with their friends
Exclusivity: Give them perks and exclusive content
Fun: Make sure being a Super Fan is a fun experience
Learn: Collect feedback from them in order to see where your brand needs to improve
These are exciting times for foodies. We could probably decide to dine out every night of the week, and never have to return to two of the same spots. But this summer, I have vowed to do it a little differently. I am kissing the franchises good-bye, and opting for the small, must-have-heard-about-it from my neighbour’s-barber’s-brother-in-law eateries. What are your thoughts on Super Fans? Should brands find their super fans and give them extra tools to promote their brand? Or would that completely tarnish the organic passion Super Fans have? Let us know what you think, and maybe tell us what your favourite little Toronto spot is!