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Restaurant Branding: The 11 P’s in a Remarkable Brand

By Rick Hendrie

 

The world of branding seems mysterious. What makes one brand succeed and another, of apparent equal quality, fail? One thing is for certain. Brands almost never sell what they purport and the best, most successful brands have zeroed in on the non-logical centers of the brain and taken up permanent residence by appealing to the consumer’s feelings and fantasies. So what’s a brand to do? Start with the recognition that service and product quality are mere entry points, not the end all of a great brand. A great brand involves much more in the Experience Era. Here are the eleven ‘P’s that provide the titanic pressures to transform product or service ‘coal’ into a branded diamond:

1. The Principles – Determine the guiding values that inform and shape every decision.

·  Fashion the walk you will walk through out the entire business – in every encounter, in all processes, with each element of the business.

2. The Play: Create the step by step narrative of the ideal guest experience during their visit is envisioned.

·  Recognize the real reason your customers are buying your brand. The best brands do not sell what is tangible, but sell to what the guests feel and need.

3.   The Promise: Establish the commitments that form the   bedrock of your business and brand.

·  Go deep. Determine the underlying motivations that get you out of bed in the morning. The most successful brands are driven by individuals with personal stories that fuel company values. Profit is rarely the prime reason. What is your story?

·  Determine the promises inherent in the brand.

·  Decide the benefits will the consumer enjoy. What experience are they promised when they interact with you, your company and your brand?

4.  The Place: Design the space. This involves both a physical plant and the imaginary experience that is inherent in any communication off premise. In a retail setting, this component is critical, but service businesses, wholesalers or others who operate without a physical store still provide a ‘place. A consumer never relates to a business as a disembodied entity. There will always be a place, a setting in the customer’s mind, however abstract that might seem. A brand must understand the imagined ‘place’ is as real as the physical store and apply the same rigor to its upkeep.

·  Understand that the play is linear; any branded transaction will include steps that take the guest from start to finish. Designing those steps as tangible benchmarks with experiential details makes the brand remarkable.

·  Design each ‘Zone’ or benchmark to operate at its optimum in both it’s functional and branded role to support the Play and Promise

5.The People: Understand your staff of actors and your audience of guests make up the essential elements of any brand.

·  Cast your show with talent that reflects your guiding principles. Skills can be taught, values cannot.

·  Uncover your guest’s real purpose for choosing you over another brand

--  Guest research is discussed. Do you know how your target(s) ‘feels’, what their hopes are versus their expectations during the visit

·  Communicate you play to the staff, including what ‘roles’ each member of the team plays in serving your guest’s real purpose.

6. The Production Elements: Create distinctive WOWs.

· Design your brand to have distinctive WOWs whether within the atmosphere, elements of hospitality, amenities or presentation that truly separate you.

· Remember that WOWs can be tangible or merely felt by the guest. This is where the power of your story shows up most powerfully.

7. The Props: Be intentional with the equipment and elements your actors use to both enact business effectively and support the brand experience.

·  Assess whether your key tangible equipment furthers the ‘story’ and purpose or not.

·  Determine the true meaning behind of each prop. Make sure every choice, be it one style of F, F & E, piece of equipment or other physical element, is intentional

8.  The Price: Decide what you’re worth based on how your guest values the experience, not just the product or service. Charge admission.

·  Discuss pricing strategy based on the value of the experience you offer. You can charge more.

·  Prepare a clear comparative chart of pricing of properties customers deem as competitors: places they would have considered if they hadn’t chosen your brand.

9. The Promotion: Craft the communication of the brand story in all its forms.

·   Perform a brand audit to ensure that all tangible communication is graphically consistent and in support of the promise

·  Consider the relationship based options first to fully leverage those who contact and/or come to you. Focus on loyalty.

·  Utilize every means at your disposal to take ‘the experience’ out into the community to whom you are targeting

10. The Press: Seek buzz, scripted or not

· Evaluate what avenues are available that most fit your story/brand. It will likely be a combination of PR and conventional marketing.

11. The Performance Reviews & Prizes: Commit to being areward based brand.

·  Evaluate performance and reward ‘the right behaviors’ a shift by shift, even minute by minute.

· Take every opportunity to recognize, reiterate and reward those that support your key value and the story.

· Empower all associates to

--       Engage the guest on a personal basis every time

--       Be prepared to do what it takes to serve the guest’s real purpose, not just the self evident ones of basic quality service and product.

 

There are some brands which need more of one ‘P’ than another, but the best brands succeed by utilizing each ‘P’. They leverage every shred of energy and oomph available to imbue a brand with the kind of magic which elevates the consumer experience, creates raving fans and produces untold riches.


Richard K. Hendrie is the Chief Experience Officer of Link Inc., Remarkable Branding, a restaurant consulting and coaching firm.


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