A brand is a promise. The best restaurant branding I have seen is when the promise of the organization is inspiring, believable and reflected at every touchpoint. The customers, employees, suppliers, investors, media, all of the stakeholders – they all see and feel the promise in a way that is authentic and visceral.
People buy brands that reflect how they see themselves in the world. Sure, millions of people buy from the Chipotle brand just because it’s a good burrito or they saw a funny billboard or they were just close by when they got hungry. But the reason the Chipotle brand is so successful is because it is not just a business but a “cause”. Their tagline “Food with Integrity” is more than a catchy restaurant slogan, it is a core belief of the company. It’s a promise that is a non-negotiable. The promise has been reflected at every touch point. The employees, the suppliers, the media, the customers – they have all bought in to the ideal of sustainability and being part of something bigger and more important than “we have the best burrito”. And the result? Chipotle is the best performing restaurant stock of 2010.
In developing new restaurant brands or facilitating improvement of established restaurant brands, we start by helping the company define its “reason for being”. We facilitate defining and articulating more authentic and inspiring brand compoents including the Brand Promise, Brand Positioning Strategy, Brand Personality and Brand Story. These elements all get wrapped up in the Brand Constitution. From there, the rollout plans are devised for how to get those brand elements inextricably connected and weaved in to the fabric of the company so it is reflected at every stakeholder touchpoint.
A lot of marketers and restaurant consultants start at a tactical level and talk through things like new logos, creative campaigns, how to jump in to digital media…they are all about how to say it not “why”. That’s the difference between great restaurant marketing and uninspired “me-too” approaches that just don’t work. The process is a lot more akin to psychology than it is to the marketing profession most of us think of when the topic “restaurant branding” comes up.
The Ask Why video is a powerful message and great insight in to the right way to approach restaurant branding and leadership.