OpenTable has become ubiquitous among busy professionals who want a personal valet to make reservations for us, check menus for gluten-free options, find out what other like-minded diners had to say about food, service, atmosphere and noise - and to fundamentally make our lives easier. The promise they make is food and drink of my choosing at a time that's convenient for me. And that is high on my list of rewards at the end of a long day.
What you may not have stopped to consider, though, is that OpenTable is a brand that has to be created, designed, maintained, extended and protected - just like the brand of any other business.
OpenTable launched a new brand this week. The brand story on the website says, "The table is just the start." Here is the entire story (I think it's concise, smart, moving, human):
At OpenTable, we love what happens around the restaurant table. We exist to power great dining experiences worldwide. We do so by connecting restaurants, people and communities around the table, enabling them to share some of life’s most enriching moments.
Our brand is based on a simple thought: The table is just the start… It’s the start of a new idea, renewed friendship, healthy debate, a cuisine first tasted, a great night out or the year ahead. There are so many universal, shared experiences that we create, capture and celebrate. And they all begin around the restaurant table.
The table IS just the start. Think of the deals literally inked on tablecloths, women in love who said "yes," new ventures born over a second bottle of Stag's Leap Cabernet, a blind date who should have remained blind - but who made for a crazy story afterward - the table is just the beginning.
What can law firms learn from this - in my view - brilliant new brand launch by OpenTable?
- They have chosen a positioning strategy and tagline that speaks to its clientele - they make a captivating promise to us that is filled with possibility. What promise is your law firm making to its clients? Or, is it all about you? Walk away from your mirror and look out at your various constituents. When they look at you, what do they see?
- OpenTable promises the world, but they also promise one dinner on one evening in one city. The scalability of this brand promise is remarkable. It reaches millions and it reaches one. How far does your brand promise reach - if you have one?
- OpenTable is creating an experience that they don't have to sustain. They are facilitating the perfect hand-off to me as a target consumer. They provide the table - but I have to create my own experience after that. Law firms with an elevating position that addresses its audiences are also doing a hand-off. Prospects are attracted by the "promise," and they are sold by being convinced that these particular lawyers can help them solve a problem or seize an opportunity. Lawyers can be brilliant facilitators, setting the perfect stage for a company, business owner or other enterprise to succeed. And then they hand the reins back to the executives who must carry on. Does your position or brand promise preview this for your target client?
The key for your law firm is to put that stake in the ground and know what you stand for. And don't forget to book your next reservation on OpenTable.com - and see what happens next.