The importance of engaging with the local community: spotlight on Pubs.
Be exceptional in a time of extinction.
It’s crucial for any business to stand out in a crowded marketplace, especially in our bustling city. The pub industry is no different – the nightlife scene here is ever-changing, competitive and staying ahead of the game isn’t easy. But it is crucial that all Brighton pubs try everything they can to buck the downward trend that appears to be engulfing the country’s drinking houses. The bleak realisation is that 25% of all UK pubs have closed since 2001 – that’s an average of 70 per month. This article comes in the week that well-loved Brighton venue The Coach House has suddenly closed, leaving any unfortunate souls hoping to have a wedding reception there deep in the quagmire.
Featured Image © Ergin Ahmet Facebook
You could be a chain pub, part of a pub-co or an independent, your aim must be to attract more customers through the doors.
There is such diversity of pub brands that punters can choose from a variety of recognisable names and offerings; from national conglomerates such as Green King and Wetherspoons, to pub companies such as Indigo and Laine, which were founded in the city, to the mass of fiercely independent brewers and free houses which jostle for position. No matter what the offering or the USP of the site, the one thing they have in common is a need to serve as many people as possible and to thrive. Simply expecting to attract a mass customer base due to reputation or familiarity is not always enough in a city that prides itself on originality, trendsetting and going against the grain (or in this case, hops).
How do pubs connect with the community they serve?
Virtual Reality (World’s End), escape rooms (Hobgoblin), top class music acts (The Hope & Ruin). These are examples of high-concept, immersive experiences on offer in just three Brighton pubs. At the other end of the spectrum there is a huge swathe of outlets who rely on more traditional interactions: top-notch customer service (The Prince George), a food menu that can’t be ignored (The Southern Belle), or an arsenal of spirits so vast that the pub becomes a legend of the city (Great Eastern). All are credible ways of not only attracting the paying customer but turning infrequent visits into repeat business; the above sites have firmly established themselves in the community and have a loyal following. They have done so by maintaining high standards through strong management, investment and innovation.
The independents and free houses should rejoice in their idiosyncrasies.
Luckily, for the independent pubs who lack the footfall of some of the aforementioned names there are still ways of surviving and thriving in turbulent times without the backing of a brand or corporate clout. A dedicated management team will empower their staff to provide the best possible customer service; they may also oversee weekly events and staples unique to that pub, such as: quizzes, games, open-mic nights, superb Sunday roasts, a cutting-edge craft beer variety, DJ nights and so on. No matter what your standing is in the marketplace, or your location in the city, there are ways of maximising your customer base and overall turnover. If your best event is running at 70%, that is encouraging, but could you make that number 95% with a touch more effort?
Publicity, stories, promotion and marketing. That’s what we do.
Here at Brighton Journal, we celebrate everything local to us. We’re inspired by everything we see around us, and we want to support and engage with new enterprise as well as established businesses. Recently, we teamed up with our neighbours The Ivy, to give them a publicity boost as we enter the summer months when people will naturally flock towards the seafront and away from the Lanes. Our Facebook post supporting a giveaway evening they had on offer garnered over 1000 interactions alone. We hope this marketing tool not only helped boost their customer base but also their sales, as well as leading to a lasting relationship between ourselves and The Ivy team. In addition to this, earlier in the year Brighton Journal reported on the North Laine Pub’s weekly bottomless brunch event, a welcome shot in the arm for them as the glowing review reached out to our monthly 40,000+ readership.
As well as our online journal we run hugely successful social media accounts to promote local companies and stories.
It’s a cut-throat world out there in our coastal city; trying to grow your business whilst swimming against the tide of business rates, overheads, nearby competition and trends in how people spend their surplus earnings. We offer bespoke copywriting and feature writing experts, and we now have on board a former publican and hospitality specialist ready to work alongside the pub community in Brighton. We will be reaching out to all of you managers and pub companies out there but in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact us if you have something you want to tell the community about or if we can help you with promotion or marketing.