Be what your clients expect you to be

I had a lovely lunch today with Wolfram and Alastair from iPilot at Jamie Oliver's new restaurant at Westfield London. Being a bit of a budding chef myself, I love Jamie's recipes; quick, easy and inexpensive - so I was really looking forward to sampling what his restaurant had to offer. Having aligned himself with Sainsbury's, Jamie has done a fantastic job at positioning himself as a wholesome, healthy family man, famed for his 'feed your family for a fiver' recipes and Jamie's School Dinners TV series. Eschewing the trend of pretentious, high end dining, Jamie is passionate about real food and his recipes are refreshingly void of impossible-to-obtain ingredients. Let's face it - we all love our Essex naked chef.

Jamie's Italian at Westfield did not disappoint. With planters overflowing with herbs, a cool minimalist feel to the furniture and quirky design features, it was everything I expected. The menu was simple, using bright contemporary colours and a modern font and a fantastic tone in the text. It was written in such a way that you could almost hear Jamie saying it - my Amazing Chicken Salad was described as 'Crispy grilled free-range chicken served with crunchy herby salad of white radish, kohlrabi, fennel and minty fregola (kinda posh couscous)'. I love how the style of the text absolutely reflects the values that we've come to expect of Jamie - passionate and serious about his food but with a playful, colloquial edge.

So what's the point? Well, through various channels of clever advertising, I'd formed my own expectations about the Jamie Oliver brand which were completely reinforced by the experience of visiting his restaurant. I went away happy (and very very full) that my visit was exactly what I'd hoped for, and ready to tell anyone who'll listen that I'd go there again. Fantastic! But imagine how I'd feel if the atmosphere at the restaurant was stuffy, the staff rude and the style pretentious. The point is that if you can give your clients what they expect, they'll go away happy and your brand (and reputation) will strengthen. Not hard really, is it? And if you need help pulling your marketing together to get the message accross to your customers - well, you have my number!