Inspiration Everywhere

Some of us visited a new cheese and sandwich shop the other day. And, all of us were inspired by it. We had some good cheese, accoutrement, and a well-crafted artisan experience of course. But more than that, it was what they didn’t have that struck us. They don’t have a website. They don’t have menus. They don’t have seats. And they certainly don’t have a loyalty card, rewards program, or any gimmicky promotions. 

This got our wheels turning. Keen observations of the designed experiences around us can change the way we all think. Inspiration can truly come from anywhere.

Let’s start with the no website thing. While we assumed that this was some hipster, Gen-X exclusionary act, the strategy behind it is to push people to their daily-updated social networks -- Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook -- for the sake of community building. They’re not getting caught in the trap of explaining their offering and why people should choose it. Instead, they’re posting all day long, organically sharing the fun being had. You can’t help but want to be there and share the comradery. And what better way to create community than social networks. Moreover, digital word-of-mouth is much more of a serendipitous discovery than just Google-ing a website.

Are your digital touchpoints creating a hub of activity? Creating community? Are these touchpoints telling people that they are choosing the best or rather, showing them?

And why no menus? It’s because they make their items fresh each morning. This means they’re creating scarcity; once items are gone, they’re gone. More importantly, it’s a new experience every time you visit. You never know what kind of sandwich, charcuterie, pastry, or more accurately, beautiful creation you’re going to get. You’re at the mercy of the artist.

Is your brand offering a fresh experience? Does it strike the right balance between consistency and delightful surprises? Are you treating your vertical with the craftsmanship that it deserves?

On to the seating thing. Rather than seats, there’s one long communal table. No private conversations. No reservations. No waiting for a seat – just scooch and get cozy. The table isn’t just for nomming it up either; in the evenings, they hold tasting and teaching sessions. From parm-cracking lessons to meet-the-maker nights, people are being brought together for fun and learning.

 Is your brand offering more than a service? Does your brand communicate that your people simply love their craft? Are you being intentional about physical space?

Rather than tired loyalty and rewards programs, they supply nicely-designed weekly recipe cards at the end of your experience to help you learn how to make new dishes at home and host others with your new creations. Put simply, the experience doesn’t stop at the store.

What does post-purchase look like for your brand? Are you leaving a memorable experience? A visual cue for next time?

You get the picture. Observation can lead to inspiration. We hope this encourages you to look all around you. That, and you just have to check out MilkfarmLA.