VC Jones has been a Whitstable institution since the business was established in 1962. Serving traditional fish and chips cooked in beef dripping, they have always relied on word of mouth and reputation to build up and maintain their customer base.
With the implementation of lockdown as a result of Covid-19, it became apparent that they needed to embrace digital communications channels and to pivot their business to a delivery business (something they had never done before).
Tippy Tapping that tone
The main focus was to reach as many people as possible, as quickly as possible to keep the business earning enough to keep running and pay their staff. There was also the additional focus that they wanted to make sure that everyone in the town had an opportunity to comfort themselves with fish and chips.
- Facebook profile required updating with new information and regular posts.
- Instagram page needed strong images to pull in followers.
- Google My Business required updating.
- New mobile responsive website.
- A diverse content strategy aimed at pulling in and speaking to the local community.
What we did
We have to admit, this was a spectacularly broad brief, and the responsibility of keeping a business running by solely using digital channels was massive. Despite having regular customers, they were very reliant on passing footfall and tourism (which evaporated overnight).
Using our copywriting skills, combined with previous marketing and customer service experience, we were able to design and create a message that can be carried forward into the future.
Tone of Voice
No one knew what was going to happen with lockdown, and it quickly became apparent that there was a lot of panic and worry in the local community. It was important that customers felt relieved and calmed. We decided to opt for a calming tone, pulling in heritage and comfort, and also maintaining a high level of friendliness. This was passed through the whole business, from social media posts, through phone operators, all the way to the delivery drivers.
TippyTap has always maintained that we don’t run social media feeds (there are others who can provide a far superior service), however, desperate situations require desperate remedies so, we took over all VC Jones’ social media feeds. This allowed us to have direct access to their customer base and to control the content that was being shared.
Initially, the focus was to tell as many people within Whitstable that the business was operating a contact-free delivery service. We created paid social media ads which targetted all social media users in the town and then scaled back to targeting friends of users who liked the page. This enabled us to triple their social media following across all platforms in the space of three months.
Corporate Social Responsibility
We encouraged the business to start a ‘pay-it-forward’ service in conjunction with the local food bank. This meant that hundreds of families were able to receive a freshly cooked meal delivered to their home and helped the business connect with other likeminded organisations in the town. Additionally, we also publicised things that they were doing already but just never shouted about, such as recycling all their old cooking oils.
We also worked on ‘sharing the love’ across social media and made a point of sharing posts by other businesses who had also made dramatic pivots to stay open.
Content goes way beyond what’s put on a website or social media. TippyTap helped VC Jones to rediscover their brand and sourced branded t-shirts for all their delivery drivers. This meant that anyone not using social media would have a more substantial chance of seeing delivery phone numbers when their neighbours were delivered piping hot fish and chips.
Website and Organic SEO
VC Jones had a website, but it wasn’t mobile responsive, and an update had been on their ‘to-do’ list for a while. We passed them to Fairly Marvellous who build affordable websites that business owners can easily edit and change. In the background, we created fresh SEO friendly content designed to drive customers to call them to make an order.
The End Result
VC Jones now has an even stronger, loyal, local customer base who are still calling for deliveries despite the easing of lockdown. The business’ ‘Pay it Forward’ scheme was mentioned in a feature in The Daily Telegraph, they have been donated free bus stop advertising by Clear Channel (which should be on display in August 2020), they have the processes in place to survive a potential second lockdown, their new website received 755 hits in the first week after launching, and, despite being exhausted, the Joneses team are all exceptionally proud of everything they’ve managed to do (as are we).
What the client said
VC Jones of Whitstable