A visit to a restaurant on a recent trip to Istanbul demonstrated one of the rules of retail marketing; people associate a busy business with better quality.
I was walking down a long strip of restaurants, deciding where I wanted to have lunch. It was fairly early for lunch, so I had the opportunity to witness an excellent marketing strategy in action. I chose a restaurant which seemed fairly busy already without really thinking about why, it was instinct. I was seated downstairs in a room with plate glass windows looking out on the street, where passers by could also look in.
When the downstairs area was nearly full a team of waiters went out into the street to chat with passers by. If someone expressed an interest in having lunch the waiter would explain that they were nearly full but that they could fit the diners in upstairs, where there was a large space. This was all done in a very charming and engaging way, but the clever part was that they were creating a situation where they appeared to be giving the potential client special treatment in a high demand restaurant.
The service was extremely relaxed, they were in no hurry to empty the lower floor because there was plenty of room upstairs and they wanted to keep their game in play. Too many empty seats downstairs and it would no longer have the same effect. This restaurant was creating a lot of interest, people were stopping to see what the buzz was all about, and was the most popular in that strip of restaurants. It was a very clever marketing strategy.
Sometimes this strategy can be found behind unique businesses. Studio 54 in New York in the late 70s had a notorious door policy and was one of the most successful nightclubs at the time. They created an air of exclusivity that was extremenly attractive. This is a slightly different strategy, but the result is the same - the creation of a buzz.
This brings up the question of who is responsible for the creation of a buzz around a business. Many businesses would dearly like to have that sort of excitement around their brand but have no idea how to create it. The example of the busy restaurant in Istanbul demonstrates that creating brand excitement is not something that just happens but something that needs a well thought through and brilliantly exercised strategy.