Anybody trying to create a personal brand, or working in the hospitality industry should really be paying attention to Billy Dec. Dec is the co-owner of Rockit Ranch Productions, which operates Sunda, Rockit Bar and Grill, and The Underground. Dec is arguably the person to know in the hospitality industry in Chicago.
For owners of restaurants and nightclubs, creating connections with existing and potential customers is absolutely crucial. The way Mr. Dec has engaged Chicagoans should be a textbook example in all college marketing and HRIM programs. Billy has made himself a Chicago celebrity, and is the definition of a smart marketer/business man. Here are two ways he is enhancing his personal brand/business:
1. Use of celebrities: Dec understands we have a celebrity obsessed culture. People love anything to do with celebrities, and Dec consistently gives celebs the red carpet treatment at his establishments. A celebrity in your restaurant/bar gives the venue very high credibility. Billy posts pictures of himself with celebrities on his twitter/fb page, and entices people with the chance they might meet a celeb. Dec name drops a bit too much for my taste, but I understand why he does it.
2. Use of Twitter/Facebook: Billy has used a clever social media strategy to attract people to follow him, and increase awareness of his brand. Dec will often give away tickets to all sorts of interesting events like movie premieres, concerts, sporting events etc. to people who either “like” or retweet his status updates. By using viral concepts to promote, Billy has over 19,000 twitter followers. He makes his followers feel important by giving them priority access to his venues, and being accountable to patrons who have had problems/concerns at his spots. Dec makes his accounts interesting by posting pictures of the food he eats and the locations around the world he travels to, so us mere mortals can live vicariously through him.
Overall, Dec has created a superb marketing strategy. He has created some quality venues, but the way he promotes has really pushed his brand to the next level.