Kogi is the latest phenomenon in LA dining. Chef, at world famous restaurant, decides to forgo glitz and glamour and create a unique fusion of Korean and Mexican food and serves up these delectable concoctions in roving catering vans all over LA.
I’m not making this up folks, and it’s the stuff that Hollywood is made of. I’m sure the food network is already doing a show on it. While I’m a foodie at heart, the real story is one of a relatively unknown (until recently) mobile catering truck that used Twitter and awesome food, to create a following, and help lubricate word of mouth in America’s 2nd largest city and now the world.
As Kogi is a mobile business, and a small one at that, it needed a way to tap into the following that it had created, and who was already talking about Kogi on Facebook, other social networking sites and blogs. Kogi’s brand director, in a recent Reuters article, stated that they decided to use Twitter as a way to communicate with their “tribe” and facilitate gathering places based on the trucks location. Kogi turned to Twitter. Today you and Kogi’s 23,000 followers can be found on Twitter at twitter.com/kogibbq.
This shows the amazing capability of utilizing a social media tool to facilitate a small business with a large following, and an excellent product. So let’s look at Kogi’s ingredients for success:
1. Great Product: Kogi obviously has a tremendous product. Social media success and for that matter any business, starts with an amazing product or service.
2. The Tribe of Kogi: Kogi’s customers wanted to talk about their experience, and in fact had became a tribe. Seth Godin writes that “a tribe is any group of people connected to each other through an idea or experience”. In this case, Kogi’s customers had become a tribe, but we’re missing a leader. When Kogi stepped in, and utilized social tools Kogi become the leader of its own tribe. A place where a brand wants to be at the end of the day.
3. Honesty: The social community in this case is honest. Kogi delivers an amazing product, people want to talk about, and others want to experience it and Kogi facilitates this. Kogi’s goal is not about selling or hyping, at least not yet, and let’s hopes it stays that way.
4. Word of Mouth: WOM is the best advertising around. This is as old, as the hills, and still true. Kogi couldn’t buy the brand awareness it has now, and is getting through the facilitation of communication across its tribe. Social Media can help any small business if the intent is to converse with the community of customers and prospects; not sales or advertising.
5. With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility: Kogi must now realize the importance of its brand experience, and promise that its customers have come to expect. Any degradation in service and experience will travel at the speed of light in Kogi’s social universe.
6. Innovation: While Kogi’s responsibility to its brand experience is now much greater it has an amazing community of people to listen to, and engage with, and in doing that develop new innovation in its business.
This story shows how small businesses can take advantage of building and tapping into their community. Today, McDonalds and Burger King do not have Twitter accounts and Domino’s only recently started one to help combat the recent wave of bad publicity. Why haven’t the brands, with all the resources in the world, tapped into the tools that help them engage with their customers? Probably because they are still strategizing, and trying to figure out the ROI of a conversation. Nuff said.