What do Doubletree by Hilton, Canada's Wonderland, and Disney Theme Parks have in common?
Well, aside from the fact that all three businesses have been severely impacted by the quarantine measures implemented due to COVID-19, all three brands have recently shared proprietary dessert recipes you could previously only enjoy at their locations.
These aren't the only brands to give away their proprietary recipes in just the last few weeks.
Pret A Manger released their recipe for their Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
Burger King published an ad showing fans how to make a "Quarantine Whopper" from the comfort of their homes.
And all you need is a quick Google search to confirm this isn't an exhaustive list.
Why would all these brands give away their secret recipes?
Well, think about it...
1) Their locations are closed, so even if you did live right beside a Doubletree, a Disney Park, or Canada's Wonderland, a dish you make at home doesn't represent a lost sale for them.
2) Even if their locations were open, making it yourself at home just isn't the same experience. I know this first-hand: I worked at Starbucks for four years and was a certified barista, I currently purchase Starbucks beans and syrups for my home, and I own a fancy espresso machine. That means I have all the knowledge, ingredients, and equipment to make my Quad Venti Non-Fat Caramel Macchiato at home... and yet during "normal times" I'll still regularly pay almost $9 for Starbucks to make the beverage for me. Why? Because it's not about the beverage, it's about the experience.
And most importantly...
3) Brand fans who love these recipes enough to make them from home are going to be delighted that the company has given them this gift. They're going to make these recipes, and tell all their friends they made them... and in every post shared, they're going to tell everybody how much they love these brands.
Late last week, the Harvard Business Review published an article called "How Retailers Can Reach Customers Who Aren't Spending", which outlined nine ways retailers could continue to engage their fans during the coronavirus pandemic. (As an aside, I'd argue these nine recommendations are applicable to more than just retailers; they're useful for all brands and businesses who aren't operating "business as usual" right now.)
A beloved brand releasing a previously-closely-guarded recipe is a terrific example of the authors' seventh recommendation: don’t let your brand community wither. (Please take note, Colonel... I'll eagerly await you to confirm those 11 herbs and spices.)
The businesses who do what they can for their customers today will be in a better position to thrive tomorrow.
PS> Clicking on the red hyperlinks below each of the mouthwatering photos above will take you to each of the recipes. Enjoy!