The other day I conducted a sneaky little test on my amazing friends here in Crete. I poked at a few of my Crete coffee culture gurus for a free cappuccino for a valued customer. Two out of a half dozen responded, proving (perhaps) that digital awareness is not up to snuff in Greece. Here’s a report the awareness winner and a fantastic friend who wins an honorable mention. The process also led me to a discovery, which I’ll elaborate in the summary.
Before I brag about Konstantina Tsakiraki and her family’s Crumb Healthy Living, I must mention my friend Eleni Bantouraki. At the other end of our street, the manager of Hacienda Cafe answered first, after all. The ever-popular Eleni is a professional with marvelous hair on a Vespa and more. And the cappuccino and goodies at Hacienda are appropriately good too. That reality presented, winning is many times about the follow-through. And sometimes about location.
Reciprocate or Lose
I know that Konstantina won’t mind mentioning that Crumb Healthy Living is right next door to my office. Hacienda, sadly for the owner’s profitability statements, is 100 meters uphill from this fat-man cappuccino. Yes, my wife chastises me often for spending enough to buy a car on coffee mixed with some milk. But, hey! Crumb, Hacienda, and my pal Kostas in the center, and even the Marina Cafe have the best poison made from java.
And. Much to my surprise. What Konstantina is doing with her father Giannis’ vegan cafe is not just serving gluten-free cupcakes. Listen, if an American hamburger and steak fiend like me can adopt good healthy foods, anybody can. And in a chat this morning with one of the owners of Crumb, I learned a lot more about dietary balance, on top of finding some public relations mastery. Let me explain.
In Greece, finding a business owner with an inkling about public relations or true marketing is like finding the Holy Grail. Greeks just don’t get it. No, that’s wrong. You cannot even “force” Greeks to get it. That is, how to convey to the broader world the immense value of their country and its products. Konstantina, like my friend Alexandra Manousakis in Chania, is a beautiful exception to this rule. YES! There is sugar in some Crumb recipes! Balance, get it?
One of the most challenging things for public relations professionals to convey is the somewhat nebulous value PR represents. So when somebody asks me if I can measure public relations value like marketers or ad people do their campaigns, I have to tell them I cannot. At least this was true in the past. Not even Richard Edelman, the world’s most successful PR guru, has adequately expressed the end return on investment of the industry. Today, however, I can show you in action the way a business like Crumb can get 50 thousand euros of reach for 10 euros worth of coffee beans, milk, brown sugar, and flour. Pay attention would be Cretan hotel owners and restauranteurs.
Giving More Than You Get
Let’s start with this. I like Konstantina Tsakiraki a lot. She’s not just another pretty face; it’s easy to see if you talk with her a few minutes. It’s also easy to see she believes in the business her father created. And she knows how to transfer the value proposition through every aspect of PR and marketing, from packaging to digital footprints. That said, I want to show how a free cup of “Joe” and some wonderful healthy sweet treats can evolve into a huge PR win. Good food, a big smile, and paying attention matter.
I’ll bet most of the customers at Crumb would be fascinated to know that Konstantina’s family also runs a fantastic retreat in the mountains overlooking Ierapetra and the Libyan Sea. A few close friends may be familiar, and Konstantina’s various social profiles convey this wonderful getaway, but the post you are reading will ultimately reach thousands of potential customers. Since I felt so good about this Cretan entrepreneur’s gesture, it pleases me to reveal their Mala Villa, five exquisite residences near the site of the ancient city of Malla, at the current location of picturesque Malles Village in the Dikti mountain range.
Here in Crete, the balance of life is the key to happiness at the end of the day. And in business, it’s not enough to create products and to hope the customers will come. In the end, it’s about a perfect balance of all business objectives. Now, because of a bit of genuine friendliness amplified by business acumen, the family behind Crumb, the Mala Villa concept, the Taverna KARRA that serves a la carte Cretan cuisine, and whatever else the Tsakirakis family endeavors in has “earned” media attention. It’s immeasurable monetarily since the long tail of ROI on relationships can never be defined. This is not a Phil Butler-specific rule. Ask my pal Heidi Fuller or a few dozen others who love these experiences.
Here is the lesson, had I not tweaked Konstantina to respond on social media to a quirky question, my thousands of readers and followers would have never had an inkling this stunning place existed. Humbly, I must admit, no one writing in English writes more about Crete island than I. So, the daughter of a Crete entrepreneur gets it, only in a genuine way. Our conversation on Instagram reveals this. On asking the Crumb owner about these villas, here’s her direct response about the story I told her I intended to write:
“I wholeheartedly thank you for everything! I need to clarify that it comes from inside the desire to offer you our handmade gifts for you. It’s an inner need of hospitality and experience, not a need to take something back from you!”
Now listen. I have about thirty years of experience in the field of communication. I can tell you from this experience that this kind of comprehension and reciprocity is rare. Hospitality here is in the Cretan DNA, but few understand how important media outreach is. Throughout this story, I have shared stunning images from these Mali Villa accommodations and the grounds. And because I feel like there’s a lot of value for my readers, I’ll spend some Facebook ad dollars to spread the good word.
This is reciprocity, not for pay, but just abiding by the original code my digital guru colleagues and I set twenty years ago. Digital was always supposed to be about reciprocity. It’s what can happen and what often does when we pay attention. Now, a nice lady and her excellent business will be seen by every Greek on Facebook and by a few hundred (maybe thousand) in Israel (a target market I am setting). What makes this and all our Crete adventures so defining is that our Cretan brothers and sisters get noticed, and our future friends from far away are introduced to the best, from the best travel destination in the world. This is Keftiu, the place the Egyptian pharaohs called “The nail of the world.”
How’s that for morning cappuccino and donuts? Crumb Healthy Living is showing you guys how.
Editor’s disclaimer: I received a complimentary cappuccino and two excellent vegan chocolate treats that emulate the taste of Snickers bars from Crumb Healthy Living. The $20 bucks I spent on Facebook ads and the four hours it took me to create this post are reciprocity for kindness and intelligence in a world that has lost track. :) Yeah, such people do still exist in journalism.