CHICAGO Billy Dec, the C.E.O. of Rockit Ranch Productions, is using a several au courant marketing efforts—including a personal blog and a viral video—to build brand awareness for Sunda, a high-end New Asian restaurant that the company will open in River North next week. Last night he gathered a group of entertainment-industry professionals at the Underground to celebrate the launch of the blog.
The idea for the marketing push came when Dec assembled a batch of photos from a research trip he took through Asia. Dec created a book of the images, and took the finished product to the office to teach his employees about the concept and inspiration behind Sunda. “It occurred to me that instead of coming up with a great logo and telling them they should love this place, they should have a way to absorb the vision,” Dec said.
Surprised by the strong positive feedback he received from staffers, Dec partnered up new brand of sake called Tyku (soon to be served at Sunda), which agreed to sponsor the book by printing 1,000 copies with the Tyku logo featured in the credits. Dec and Rockit Ranch partners Arturo Gomez and Brad Young then personally signed each copy and shipped the books out to media contacts and celebrity friends. “These are the people who have always supported us, and we thought this would be a good way to say thank you and ask them to be our cheerleaders for Sunda,” said Dec.
Next came a viral video version of the book that Dec hired Bridges Media Group to produce. The video appeared last week on Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Dec’s blog, and the Rockit Ranch Web sites—anywhere it would be exposed to Dec's client base. “The video brought the book to life in a way that would let us quickly spread it to the masses,” he said. “And Bridges was happy to partner with us because they knew that not only were we providing them with great content to work with, they’d also be exposing their talents and services to our desirable contact list.”
That talent-sharing logic is the cornerstone of Dec’s marketing philosophy, especially in a tight economy. “The blog was designed by another great Chicago company, Fig Media,” he said. “In this kind of economic atmosphere, we all have to get together with the best talent we can find to work on projects that will help us build business down the road.”
Correction: The name of Tyku sake has been corrected.