When I told my family I was going to Florida, in January, to a beach resort, there were a lot of assumptions and expectations that came with it. As we all know, though, perception and reality don’t always mix.
After all, how could they have known an economist would stand in front of the entire MAFSI body and talk about websites, content, and SEO?!
Yes, that actually happened.
At the end of the week, though, why did we all go down to Naples? What were those things we’ll take away that we can apply, right now, to our businesses and in our lives? What stuck?
Here's what stuck for me:
MILLENNIALS ARE ALREADY HAVING AN ENORMOUS IMPACT.
Right after the Boomers screw us over in the Great Depression of 2030, the Millennials will apparently save us. I would argue that’s already happening to some degree, even now. In just about every aspect of life, we’re reexamining the ways we communicate, the ways we buy, sell, learn, laugh, and conduct our foodservice businesses.
Are there negatives? Sure. I certainly got a lump in my throat thinking about the times I had my face in my phone as I pushed my son in the swing, but you know what? That’s not the complete picture.
It was that phone, that ability to check emails from anywhere at any time that allowed me to take my son to the park on a random Wednesday afternoon in the first place. It was technology that gave me that freedom to even be there with him.
With technology, our offices are always with us, no doubt, but that also means we can take our offices wherever we want to set up shop.
The Millennials understand this, and it’s reflected in their buying patterns.
WE HAVE TECHNOLOGICAL PLATFORMS, BUT WE STILL NEED THE ANCIENT ART OF STORYTELLING.
We can tell our personal and company stories on our websites, on email, with a Facebook post, using a kick ass image on Instagram, with video, or just about any way you can imagine. But we still have to tell the story.
It’s critically important to cut through the noise with authentic messages that represent who we are and what we do, and we should include these important concepts:
Meaning. Why are we doing this? What’s the message behind this email? Why are we having this meeting?
Values. Are we doing the right thing? Does this image match the purpose of our brand? Will this conference be beneficial to all concerned?
Transparency. Are we seeing the truth? Do we know what ingredients are going on our burrito? Do we have all the facts before we walk into the boardroom?
The only way we can tell a meaningful story with our companies and brands is to be authentic, regardless of the technology we use to broadcast those stories.
BEING AROUND THE RIGHT PEOPLE IS IMPORTANT.
Sure, I certainly mean this about all the great people I got to spend time with and get to know a little better in Florida. I’m blessed to work with so many fun clients and colleagues on a daily basis. But I also mean this about my own team at TMC. There is no way in hell I would be able to do the things I do without the support of my team.
Working with the right people is critical to success. That means finding, hiring, and retaining those people is even more important. In the foodservice industry, that seems like a difficult task to achieve, though, based on everything I heard.
It was great to hear people like Rudy Miick talk about innovative, data-driven ways to recruit A+ Players to our organizations. The reality is we can combine Rudy's approaches with technology and software capabilities to take our hiring processes to new heights.
Be on the lookout for more about Inbound Recruiting.
THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE INTERESTED IN VIDEO AND WAYS TO DELIVER MEANINGFUL CONTENT.
Before some companies in our industry even embrace basic blogging best practices, there are others looking full-force into video marketing and other types of content delivery.
There’s a progression here. We’re moving from print brochures that collect dust on a metal rack in the marketing closet to providing blogs and other digital content. Then we're turning our websites from libraries to virtual amusement parks as we embrace video, interactive content, virtual reality, and other content platforms.
When we create kinesthetic learning experiences on our websites, we allow our buyers to have a little fun, to see our stories, to even learn a little bit about what it might be like to work with us or buy a combi oven from us.
Listen, I come from a whole family full of teachers, and every single one of them would say you learn more, you retain more, you're engaged more when you have fun and you interact with the message. That’s exactly the point.
Unless you're talking about actually seeing the sand at a beach resort, of course.