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Crowdfunding: Use Your Brand + Community to Illuminate Your Campaign

Brown Hound Bistro Kickstarter

On July 12th, my good friend and inspiring business owner Trish Aser took a bold step forward: she began a 15-day Kickstarter campaign to raise $25,000 in an effort to move her bustling business from South Bristol to Canandaigua. Her goal? Serve up her next course: expand her restaurant, Brown Hound Bistro, to bring even more local Finger Lakes ingredients to the table for a greater number of diners, year round.

I call this a bold move because Trish is stepping outside her close-knit neighborhood. She’s asking for help. And she’s going after a dream. But perhaps it isn’t such a bold move. After all, Trish has two key allies on her side in this campaign: her brand and her community.

How your brand can boost your crowdfunding campaign

Trish (and yes, her dog) opened the Brown Hound Bistro in 2005 and immediately became a pioneer in sourcing local ingredients. She works with local farmers, dairy producers, winemakers, brewers, and more, to bring her diners the best that the Finger Lakes has to offer. (Seriously — I might be a bit biased, but have just one meal at the Brown Hound and you’ll be shouting it from the rooftops yourself!)

Ten years later, Trish hasn’t strayed from her mission to keep things local and has been incredibly consistent in maintaining her relaxed, approachable, Earth-inspired brand. It shines through in the Brown Hound’s ambiance, in the local art on the walls, in the presentation of the menu, in the tone of her servers, and even as she takes Brown Hound on the road via her catering services.

How does this help her when it comes to crowdfunding? Sites like Kickstarter are flooded with campaigns on a daily basis. Like any crowded marketplace, the businesses that stand out are the ones that use their brand to tell a story.

Trish’s brand is doing just that: it’s telling a story of humble beginnings, an exuberant passion for food, and a dedication to supporting local producers.

What story is your brand telling?

The importance of community in crowdfunding

In any major venture — especially for business owners — community is key. Crowdfunding is no different — in fact, at its core, it’s all about community. Fortunately, Trish has been busy at work cultivating a strong one over the last decade.

In building her restaurant, Trish has built community in the following ways:

1. Delighting customers. From her regular visitors to seasonal tourists and everything in between, Trish has served thousands of customers who’ve visited the Brown Hound to savor a meal. But beyond serving them, she’s gone out of her way to delight them with unique tastes, fresh ingredients, and impeccable service.

2. Building a family. Speaking of impeccable service, Trish has built a family at Brown Hound. Her team — in the kitchen, behind the bar, and on the floor — is a crucial part of her community and especially important to both living her brand and advocating for her mission.

3. Supporting local producers. In sourcing and supporting local, Trish has extended her reach well beyond just farmers. She works with local winemakers, brewers, and distillers to offer an impressive, local beverage menu, and she’s cultivated relationships with local artists to adorn the walls with Finger Lakes-inspired art. (I’ve been fortunate enough to have my paintings hanging there!)

Your customers are your community. Your partners and producers are your community. Your staff is your community. Catch my drift? Community is everywhere. Cultivating yours now can and will be the difference maker as you continue making your dreams come to life.

Build your brand, cultivate your community, and go after your dreams

It takes years of hard work and exploration to solidify your brand and build a loyal community. But with both at your side as a business owner, anything is possible.

Will you join me in supporting Trish in her quest for the next course? Act now! Head on over to her Kickstarter page and remember, every dollar counts!

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