“It is better to risk starving to death then surrender. If you give up on your dreams, what’s left?” – Jim Carrey
If you missed the introduction last week I suggest you read that first by clicking here.
Maor Levy is living out his dream. 20 years ago he moved his wife and three young children to Canada from Israel. Having little money and being the sole provider at the time he was forced to work in construction.
Like many immigrants Maor was a hard worker. He made enough to support his family in a predominantly Jewish suburb of Toronto named Thornhill. Before long they were assimilated into a strong community of hard-working immigrant families.
As the years went by Maor’s children grew up and finances stabilized. Representing an immigrant success story wasn’t enough — Maor was just getting started.
You see he had a dream that had taken a back seat to providing for his family. His dream was that one-day he would be able to bring joy to more than his family. This was his hope and what drove him. This was the dream that would offer him fulfillment; it is what he felt he was put on this earth to do.
For years he worked a job he hated. The first time I met with him was on a beautiful summer day. I arrived first and chose a seat outside on the coffee shop patio in the sun. Seeming embarrassed to ask he requested that we move to the shade. Years of working in the sun had taken its toll.
His dream that had been ruminating inside of him dated back to his childhood. It was from a time long ago and a country that has since changed names.
Maor wanted to open a restaurant. And he was about to realize that dream.
Why a Restaurant?
Maor and I were introduced through his daughter. He was looking for somebody to help him develop his web presence and write sales copy to help bring people to his new restaurant.
I was so taken aback by his story that we ended up spending 3 hours talking. The passion that he exuded speaking about his homeland and childhood led him to this point gripped me.
Growing up in pre-Israel Palestine Maor was surrounded by development. The Jerusalem stone (a type of limestone) houses lined the street as the city rose out of the dessert like a giant oasis.
His mother often asked him to pick up the challah (bread) on his rusty red bike. As he looked at the basket on the front of his bike Maor would beg his legs to peddle faster. He couldn’t get to the local baker’s store fast enough.
The intoxicating smell was overwhelming.
The closer he got the stronger the smell became. Maor would turn the final corner and the image of the baker out of his shop would appear. As the bike slowed the baker would shoot Maor a smile and continue to bake in the outdoors.
Bread in basket Maor admits he could never help himself. The ride home always included sneaking a couple bites of the fresh bread. Needless to say his mother wasn’t happy.
This is just one of the stories that Maor told me when we spoke. The imagery is vivid and something that anybody living in the area at that time would associate with. What was amazing to me was how passionate Maor was telling the story 45+ years after. He actually started to waft the air to his nose as we spoke. It was as if he still smelled the dough all these years later.
Why is the Restaurant so Special?
Aptly named Broyt (yiddish word for bread) the restaurant is unique. Upon entering you’re given a glass of fresh lemonade from the unique revolving bowl reminiscent of Maor’s youth. He features free falafel ball workshops for the children of the neighborhood on weekends and traditional humus plates. Best of all Maor is the life of the restaurant. If you’re new he makes a point to introduce himself and sit and chat. If you’re a repeat customer you can expect a hearty hello paired with a larger than life smile.
Broyt is different. It’s unique. It’s special. Most of all it appeals to people like Maor who want desperately to connect with their homeland even in a small way.
In Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why he describes a concept he dubs the Golden Circle. Most companies tell you what they sell, and then they extol the benefits of that product followed with a proposition to buy.
Sinek’s golden circle theory shows that the best companies work from the inside out. They first tell you what the company stands for and why it’s important. This is followed with how the features of the product align with that vision. The specific product itself is only mentioned after the reason why the product was developed is communicated.
Sinek uses the example of Apple. Their why is that they believe in challenging the status quo and thinking differently. The way they challenge the status quo is by making their products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. It’s only then that they communicate how great their computers are. *1*1
What this simple reverse of the golden circle does is enable Apple to sell all kinds of products. Consumers associate with Apple, not the computer. So iPods sell well as do iPads. Even if other comparable products are technically better in terms of specs Apple still continues to create massive line ups for every product update. It’s because consumers love the company, not the individual product.
Good Food, Fair Prices, Nice People
Yep. Broyt has it all. Everything you would want in a restaurant.
But it’s not alone in that regard.
Maybe the food is a little better or a little worse than the competition. Maor is a special guy, there’s no debating that. The prices are more than fair for what you get. None of this will attract people into the restaurant and none of it is powerful enough to get people talking about it either online or offline.
I wanted to see how many restaurants advertise some variation of good food at fair prices so I just came back from a walk. (I often bring a notepad with me and go for walks in the middle of writing. Spending every day in a coffee shop isn’t exactly the most inspiring endeavor. Listening to the birds and taking notes on all the different symbols in the outdoors helps me think. More on bird noises and how you can use that seemingly abstract example later.)
In 4 blocks there were 23 restaurants:
• Of those 23, 17 of them had decals on the front windows with claims of good food and/or fair prices.
• 3 of the 23 had A frames (those boards that stand up on the sidewalk). All 3 had bullet point lists and at least 1 of the points on each was about good food or fair prices.
• I walked into 15 of them and asked why I should eat there. Generally the person answering my question was caught off guard. Every one of the 15 responses had to do with good food and fair prices.
Ignore my terrible study design for a minute and assume that all these 23 restaurants were telling the truth. They all probably did have good food and fair prices. So why then is the bankruptcy rate for new restaurants so high?
Probably because people don’t buy food, they buy restaurants.
Broyt is a Middle Eastern restaurant run by a hard working immigrant who moved to Canada to give his children a better life. He is Jewish and proud of his heritage and his restaurant reflects that.
Maor also has good food at fair prices but that won’t attract his customers. There are too many options to eat already. What he gives them is an experience and, more than anything else, a chance to reconnect with their heritage.
That heritage is one shared by a lot of the older generation in the suburb Thornhill. Largely hard working immigrant families from Israel and pre-Israel Palestine settled in the community. Many of these people desperately cling to their heritage and are looking for ways to teach their children about their homeland.
This is what makes Broyt special.
Grandparents need a place to take their grandchildren for dinner. They can a) take the kids for good food at a fair price or b) take the kids for good food at a fair price AND teach them about their culture while simultaneously having a great time.
Getting a message to spread about Broyt in the mass media might be possible but is difficult and costly. Anyway what’s the point in getting people talking about Broyt who live in the United States or even on the other side of Canada?
So Broyt changed its marketing structure. It no longer went out and advertised good food at a fair price. That was assumed. Instead Maor identified that his target audience were people just like him that would identify with his story. His goal was never to make millions. It was to run Broyt – his dream. There was desperation in the community to stay connected with the culture due to the worry of it being lost among the youth.
Maor dug deep and found his why. From there he identified his audience and recognized that the product was secondary. He also hosts Middle Eastern baking and cooking classes for both adults and youth on weekends as a way to supplement his income. He has become the expert.
Finding your audience and figuring out what it is that will make them care about you is what Viralnomics is all about. The social networks online just facilitate the process.
Features vs. Benefits
“Features speak to the head. Benefits speak to the heart.” – Robert G. Allen *1*2 (Click to tweet this quote)
Benefits are emotional and emotion drives action. Always work to uncover the benefits of your service.
In Maor’s case the features were good food at a fair price. In my completely unscientific study everybody claimed the same feature. It didn’t make him stand out and would never drive action.
The benefit however was a connection to tradition. A tradition that had been lost over time and a tradition that the community was desperately trying to hold on to. Maor could have sold anything as long as it had the same benefits. It just so happened that the restaurant was his passion. The message he created to advertise the restaurant conveyed the benefit and that’s what made it so special.
Think for a second about the features you or your company offers. It probably took 2 seconds. Features are extolled in sales meetings and on both direct response and email advertisements. Features can be measured and things that are measured are generally over-valued.
Now think of the benefits you offer. Hard isn’t it? This takes a bit more introspection into both you and your company.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Lant there are 10 ultimate benefits that drive consumer action. *1*3 Make a note of this list and ensure that your marketing emphasizes one if not more of these. They are:
- Financial stability
- Community and peer recognition
- Sexual fulfillment
- Beauty/desirability/personal attractiveness
In order to help you figure out the benefits of your business I put together a template to help you organize your thoughts. To download the form put your email in the box below. Once you do I’ll send it directly to you for free. (Note that there will be more templates and worksheets put together as the book goes on. You will also get immediate access to these when they come out as well.)
Note that if you’re already subscribed to the email list you should have been sent a page that this form is already on. The form will not let you subscribe again. That one page is where I will put all of the forms.
Making content go viral starts with you, your reasons, your background, and your personality. There’s no way around it. Now that you understand your own “why” and the benefits of your product the fun part starts. I’m going to teach you how to use those benefits to find your audience, create your message, get it shared, and begin your ascent to the top of your industry.
Next up on Viralnomics I’ll be talking about how you can find people who have the same why as you and start your movement.
1 – Simon Sinek. (2009). Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. New York: Penguin Group.
2 – Robert G. Allen ( 2005). Multiple Streams of Income: How to Generate a Lifetime of Unlimited Wealth!. New Jersey: Wiley.
3 – Jeffrey Lant (1993). How to Make a Whole Lot More Than 1,000,000 Writing, Commissioning, Publishing, and Selling How to Information. Jeffrey Lant Assocs.
photo credit: michalska1
Download the .pdf here ==> Chapter 1.