Google the word branding. How many different definitions popped up on your computer? No less than the whole page I’m assuming? The b word can take on new meaning on the drop of dime, just depends who or what you ask. What you will notice however, is that there is a common thread tying all of these various iterations together; branding is not simply a logo, an image or some colors that make your business recognizable… it’s something much deeper that truly defines your company. Branding is one of those things that people take seriously when they start their businesses. Yet, when time passes, they tend to become diluted. Effective and continuous brand management is the very thing that will ensure you have loyal guests who both return to your place of business, as well as become your very own brand ambassadors. In our next few blogs we’ll be discussing the essence of branding and how can you can measure equity within your brand.

In our most recent podcast episode, ‘Restaurant Brand Equity Review,’ RSI Partner and Strategic Development Officer Matt Vannini mentioned reading A New Brand World by Scott Bedburry when he and Blair Pennington, RSI CEO and President, started Restaurant Solutions.  The book sparked as a catalyst for building the RSI brand and serves as the foundation for many of the principles I, as the RSI Marketing Director, use today. Just for a moment, I’m going to expand on Bedburry’s branding beliefs. If I were to ask you what promises you get from brands like Nike and Starbucks, and how those promises are delivered, how would you answer? Whether you love or hate each individual brand, both are without a doubt, two of the most highly recognized conglomerates in US culture today which emit some sort of emotion or perception of each – it’s undeniable.  You see, Scott Bedbury found himself at the head of the marketing and advertising divisions during the periods in which these two power-houses became just that – power-houses.  The root of his branding visions were extremely forthright: to help build outstanding global brands.  It would be an understatement to call Bedbury an expert on the topic of brand supremacy.  Throughout this book, Scott draws from his own personal experiences to offer what he believes are the eight principles to achieve brand leadership today.  I however, believe he goes a step beyond that.  Bedbury’s anecdote heavy narrative is not only akin to sitting in the locker room when the opposing team is devising their game plan, but also a piece that breathes life and emotion into an aspect of business that so many take for granted; a position in which we hold the ability to control creativity, we hold the power to control the story told, and we control the light in which consumers view our brands.  We are the people who get both the honor and challenge of creating a trustworthy relationship between users and products.

The stories of both successes and failures that Scott has encountered through his tenure as head of Nike and Starbucks, in addition to those of his peers, offer a deep insight into the tried and true methodology into making brands more “desired, relevant, and enduring.”  In Bedbury’s eyes, brand building comes from more than the marketing department and the CEO, it’s everyone’s job.  Scott goes so far as to say that brand building’s big cultural moment has arrived, and for three distinct reasons:

  • Every product, service, company, and brand all strive to be unique, trusted, and sought after.
  • The most valuable assets of a company are no longer physical.
  • Companies are crafting valuable brands to impact the community positively, and are recognized as such.

Bedbury fiercely cares about the direction of branding in the decades to come – not just for the sake of businesses, but far beyond – for the community in which these businesses serve.  No longer will the word brand elicit a distrust in corporate institutions – that’s the old brand world.  It will (as it should) serve as the backbone within every company; the true story behind a vision, where expectations can not only be met, but exceeded, and continuously so.

My question to you today is this: As a restaurant, how are you managing your brand?

  • Do you have a clear brand position statement established for your organization?
  • Does your organization meet and exceed the expectations you’ve established? What are you doing to renew, remind and retrain your team regarding your brand?
  • Do your team members understand your brand? How are they communicating your brand through their daily actions?
  • How are you reinforcing your brand to your returning guests? Inside the four walls through things like: Your ambiance, daily specials, Pay Per View Events and Trivia night?  Outside the four walls through things like:  Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and charitable fundraisers?

Stick around for our next blog where we’ll turn our focus towards measuring brand equity – measuring your brand to determine if there’s equity or not is the most important aspect of brand management… you don’t want to miss it!