The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing A Great Tagline for Your Restaurant

The restaurant landscape is rapidly changing with the pace of innovative technology. Five years ago, the concept of quick-service restaurants (QSR) was shifting away from just service at the counter. Today consumers can order online and pick up at the window. As a restaurant owner, this means that you have even less time than before to connect your brand and the consumer.

Tag lines can be effective to grab attention and resonate with the buyer. However, building an effective tag line that represents your brand is important and there are some clear do’s and don’ts to consider. This article will explore a few of these considerations.

What is a Tagline?

First, let’s define what a tag line is. A tag line or “tagline” is a short text which clarifies a thought, usually through a dramatic effect. A few examples might help.

  • Subway – “Eat Fresh”
  • Nike – “Just Do It”
  • Bounty – “The Quicker Picker Upper”
  • Apple – “Think Different”
  • KFC – “Finger-Lickin’ Good”
  • Dunkin’ Donuts – “America Runs on Dunkin”

Nike’s tag line is one example of a tag line that suggests dramatization. Just Do What? It? Anything you want. But you can’t do it unless you’ve got Nikes on. While this is interesting, the best tag lines in the QSR and restaurant space are those that are well crafted to help buyers instantly understand your offering.

Eat Fresh is a pretty clear tag line of how Subway and consumers might perceive Subway in the market place.

Restaurant Tagline “Don’ts”

First, according to Building a Story Brand (2019), talking about yourself shouldn’t be part of your tag line. Buyers don’t care about your restaurant the same way you might. What your customers really want to know is what your restaurant provides and why your brand is the better choice for a meal.

Second, Don’t make your tag line boring. This is where a creative brainstorming session with a small diverse group of people can make magic happen. The worst thing you can ever do to a restaurant tag line is to make it boring. You must capture the energy of your menu, your brand positioning, and your culture. Take a look at this mock example:

“The Tri-State Region’s Highest Rated Beef Sandwich for a Quick Lunch”
or
“Prime rib sandwiches made at your speed. Built to fill you up.”

In the first example, it’s all about business. You’ve seen this kind of tag line before probably. It’s just a statement of fact. Boring. Right? The second example has an emotional connection. You need speed and a good meal. By keeping the tag line message relevant to customer needs, they know how to get what they need.

The final “don’t” for this article is don’t use jargon and inside language. Consumer’s don’t know what QSRs are and they don’t care that you might be a QSR over a table service establishment. People can’t figure out tag lines that are complex and full of jargon.

People can’t figure out tag lines that are complex and full of jargon.

One last don’t in the world of tag lines. Don’t be offensive. AT&T used “Reach out and touch someone” just creepy if you think about it. How about the example from Dr. Pepper Ten? “It’s not for women” or the Old Spice example of “Smell Better Than Yourself”. Offensive tag lines just don’t work well. They can push consumers away. Just don’t do it.

Restaurant Tagline “Dos”

First, keep it simple.

Make sure a 5th grader can read and understand it. Don’t just think they will. Ask them. If people have to work hard to figure out what you want to say, they will ditch your brand altogether. Eat Fresh comes to mind again with short, clear words. You would expect and Subway you will eat and that the food will be fresh. Any 5th grader can read and understand this.

Second, short and simple is always best.

Keep your tag line short. Less than 5 words is ideal. According to Dr. A. L. Pradeep in the Buying Brain the subconscious mind is making the buying decision most of the time when it comes to food. You tag line must say a lot with almost no words. None of the tag lines in the examples above have more than 5 words. Third, try to capture your unique value point in your tag line. What is it the customer will gain? How will your restaurant make customers’ lives better? Why is your restaurant better than the ones across the street or next door?

Finally, building a tag line should never trump building a brand to support it.

Your brand is your culture. It is the experience employees, patrons, and the community will experience. The most important aspect of building your tag line should be your ability to connect it to your culture.

Concluding Remarks

Great tag lines serve as brand triggers. When you see, hear a tag line you should be able to associate the tag line with the brand. Can you label 5 or these brands just by the tag line alone? If so, they work.

  • The breakfast of champions
  • The happiest place on earth
  • Can you hear me now? Good
  • Melts in your mouth, not in your hands
  • I’m loving It
  • Imagination at work
  • What’s in your wallet?

You probably got at least 5 of these tag lines right. Each of these tag lines serves a single purpose. They trigger your subconscious mind to connect the words to a brand. Tag lines are important in every industry but really important for restaurants to better define your brand and at most times the menu.

To summarize consider writing out everything you’ve heard about your restaurant from others along with what you think about it. By now you should have three or four good paragraphs. Spend the time here to lay a foundation to help you design your restaurant’s tag line. If you don’t have much keep going. Dig deep.

Now for the fun part. Make ten copies and distribute them to 10 people. Have them read what you wrote and circle only five words that jumped out at them. Then ask them to make a quick note as to what that specific word meant to them. After this approach, you will end up with a clear message that resonates with people you want to serve. If you serve prime rib sandwiches at lunch, you might get something creative like Prime Sandwiches, Prime Time.

Could Your Logo Be Turning Away Customers?

While your logo isn’t the only factor in driving a successful business, it is one you cannot afford to ignore.

According to Dr. A. K. Pradeep, consumers make buying decisions much quicker than one might imagine. In fact, the subconscious mind is responsible for driving nearly all of our buying decisions. This points to the idea that the initial perception of an image such as a logo can more important than many might expect. The colors, fonts, styles, patterns, layout, etc. can all play a role in making a good first impression on the buyer’s mind.

In addition, paying attention to the details of your logo can create the right perceptions about what your business is and what you stand for. This article will provide critical considerations when it comes to your brand’s logo.

According to Forbes, luxury consumers seek out the perception of value just as much as the value of the product or service they purchase. When it comes to a logo, perception is literally everything. There are three brand strategies you can use to ensure your brand’s logo is perceived at the most optimal state.

Build an Image That People Can Get Behind

The John Deere logo is an example of an iconic brand that is more than 182 years old. However, it’s the logo of the infamous Deer was created 27 years after the inception of the company.

The iconic image of a leaping deer was an image that connected consumers to the values of the brand. The iconic deer stands by the company’s push for perfection and prosperity. The idea of perfection and prosperity is depicted in the deer and have stood the tests of time.

However, building an image that people can get behind means you must understand your customer. You must take the time to discover who they are, what they stand for, what they believe, and how they react to what they see, smell, taste, and feel.

In most applications of the John Deere logo, people can actually feel the deer jumping off of the sign. The end goal of a great logo is to spark the desired feeling deep enough to cause someone to take action without thinking. You grab your favorite drink, food, clothing, etc. purely induced by the buying, subconscious brain.

Pay Attention to the Psychology of Color and Shapes

Color and shapes mean something. There are thousands of studies on the psychology of color and shapes. What this really means is that you should pay attention too.

Looking back and John Deere of recent years, the green stands for luxury and good taste while the yellow depicts positivity and demands competence. Both these colors together and the streamlined exact shape of the John Deere logo as it stands today drives in deep to the subconscious mind the feeling of perfection from exact shapes, prosperity from the deep, dark green, and a sense of trustworthiness from the yellow suggestion of positively competent to get the job done.

What does the psychology and shape of your logo demand?

Engage Others in the Process

The last strategy is one of engaging others for feedback along the logo creation process.

Engaging employees, stakeholders, and customers is a tedious process at times but valuable to build a better connection between real people and what you want your brand to mean. Steps in the design process typically include brainstorming, conceptual sketches, rough mockups, and a final pitch of a logo solution. With each step of the process, there is more meaning unveiled through the use of colors, shapes, typography, patterns, and textures.

The brand then grows into something you will hang your livelihood on.

Getting good, honest feedback and input in what others are feeling when they see your brand helps make sure you get the best brand you can afford. One important note when thinking about engaging others, put a limit to it and timelines. Otherwise, you can end up in what is called analysis paralysis where your logo may go to die.

Keep it objective and on track.

These are 3 ways to build a logo which is strong enough to compete and beat out your competition. Having a logo that clearly communicates who you are and what you stand for at only a glance isn’t an easy task. Create an image that lies at the center of everything you do and represents you well.

Sources:
The Buying Brain: Dr. A. K. Pradeep

25+ Restaurant Branding and Logo Design Inspirations

Fast Food Restaurant Branding

Fast food restaurants are primarily focused on the speed of the service. These operations can range anywhere from small scale street food carts to massive multi-billion-dollar corporations such as McDonald’s or Taco Bell. Food isn’t ordered from the table, but rather a front counter. After ordering, diners will typically carry their own food to their table, and dispose of their own waste after eating. Drive through and take-out options may also be available. Fast food restaurants are also known as Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs).

fast food restaurant branding by Amr Ashraf

by Amr Ashraf

 

fast food restaurant branding

by Longitude°

by Rico John Jambaro

fast food restaurant branding

by Insigniada

by Arpit Dawar

by Melissa Cong-Huyen

by Ben Harman

Fast-Casual Restaurant Branding

Fast-casual restaurants are usually chain restaurants, like Qdoba or Panera Bread. In contrast to fast food restaurants, food is often prepared at the restaurant instead of offsite. Fast-casual restaurants don’t typically offer full table service, however many do provide non-disposable cutlery and plates. The prices of food tend to be higher, and also the quality of the food is better than conventional fast food restaurants, but sometimes is lower than a casual dining experience.

by Roden Dushi

fast casual restaurant branding by Longitude

by Longitude

fast casual restaurant branding by Longitude

by Longitude°

by Honedon

by Lucas Jubb

Casual Dining Restaurant Branding

A restaurant that serves moderately-priced food with a casual atmosphere is often referred to as a “casual dining restaurant.” Aside from buffet restaurants, these restaurants will typically provide table service as well. Examples of chain restaurants that would fall into this category would be TGI Fridays or Applebee’s. Casual dining restaurants will usually have a full bar and a separate bar staff as well as a full beer menu and limited selection of wines.

by Martin David

casual dining restaurant branding

by Longitude°

casual dining restaurant branding

by Longitude°

by Brad Lockhart

by Ron Gibbons

Premium Casual Restaurant Branding

Originating from Western Canada, premium casual restaurants include chains like Earl’s, JOEY, or Cactus Club Cafe. These types of restaurants are often considered as an upscale fast-casual restaurant. LIke casual dining, they will often have a dining room and lounge area with multiple screens. These types of restaurants are typically found in shopping districts or downtown areas and will attract young professionals to their urban atmosphere. Premium casual restaurants have a wide variety of menu options including pasta, pizza, seafood, burgers, steaks, and Asian foods.

by Tad Carpenter

by Nathan Riley

by SIMMER

by peter molnaar

by Steve Wolf

by Josh Warren

by Longitude°

Fine Dining Restaurant Branding

Fine dining restaurants have specific, dedicated meal courses, and provide full-service to guests. The design of these restaurants will feature high-quality materials, and will often have particular rules for dining that visitors are expected to follow – sometimes this includes a dress code.

by 𝚃𝚛𝚊𝚌𝚝𝚘𝚛𝚋𝚎𝚊𝚖

by Aaron Bloom

by Mike Ryan

by Ian Ruisard

by Aaron Johnson

7 Ways to (Almost) Guarantee That Your Restaurant Will Have the Best Chance at Success

In today’s competitive market businesses fail at alarming rates. This is especially apparent in the restaurant space. According to Forbes (2017), the failure rate of restaurants (which was once reported as being 80% higher than other types of businesses), is simply lower than reported. In fact, restaurants were found to fail at about the same rate of insurance agencies. While restaurant failure is higher than what most might expect, the chances of success are much greater than you might think. This article will provide 7 ways that you can guarantee restaurant success.

1. Create and Tell a Compelling Story

The most effective way to guarantee success in the restaurant industry is to create and tell a compelling story. There are five core elements of a compelling story.

  1. Connect with your intended audience. The best stories connect at an emotional level telling your audience why your restaurant exists. What is the story behind the restaurant and its leadership team? You can’t be afraid to really get into the why more specifically you’re why.
  2. Explain the challenge your customers face. Maybe it’s the need for healthier meal options for dual working parent family. Uncover the challenge and how your restaurant solves it.
  3. Every great story has some kind of conflict. What are the conflicts your buyers face? Is it time, money, or fear of not getting a great meal for their kids from a fast food place? Whatever the challenge and conflict make sure your compelling story is relatable.
  4. Communicate clearly how your restaurant can conquer the customer’s fear. For example, if the fear is money, a “kids eat free” message could resonate. However, you must clearly understand the fear before you can conquer it. Some of the suggestions below can help with that.
  5. Conclude with a clear call to action. For example, “Join us on Monday’s for family night from 6pm to 8pm where kids eat free and drinks are half off.

2. Understand Your Restaurant’s Unique Position

Another sure way to guarantee the success of your restaurant is through understanding how it is unique in the eyes of the market and most importantly in the eyes of your ideal customer. Is part of your story unique (i.e. founded to train individuals who struggled with the law in the past or designed to employ individuals with disabilities)? What other restaurant choices are in your market? How are you different? Being different is just as important and many times more important than being better. An example of a unique position of a restaurant that might come to mind could be the blackout dining experience. Yes, everything is pitch dark. What this experience does according to food experts is heighten the other senses to deliver a unique food experience. What is your unique position and how does it resonate with your customer profiles?

Being different is just as important and many times more important than being better.

3. Develop Customer Profiles

Knowing your customer (KYC) is a process that is not new to marketing nor the restaurant space. Clearly understanding who your customers are, what they need, want, and like is critical to set your restaurant up for success. Take the time to develop customer profiles but go way beyond demographic information. Try to talk to them. Listen and document how they talk about your restaurant in their words. Repeat what you heard back to the customer and validate the message resonates. Try to get into the details of what they do professionally, what their hobbies and interests are, etc. The more you know the stronger your customer profiles will be. This information results in a better alignment of your restaurant and what the customers are seeking when it comes to their buying decision for a meal.

4. Craft a Clear Message

After you have found out what makes your restaurant’s brand unique and developed strong customer profiles the logical next step is to tell your brand story with a clear message. The most effective way to craft a clear message is to use the language your customers use. Brands that do this have a much better chance of success. Some examples might come to mind:

  • “Eating fresh in the neighborhood”
  • “There is no place like the neighborhood”
  • “License to grill”
  • “Eat fresh”
  • “I’m lovin’ it”

It’s important that your message is clear and concise and that it goes much further than just a slogan. The message becomes central to your customer and their experience with your brand.

5. Deliver Quality Food and Service

Great food and a remarkable experience are where great and growing restaurants stand out. Some of the slogan messages above are strong messages but the experience with both the food and service is less than desired. You must deliver a food and guest experience that is memorable. For example, imagine a hostess that greats the guest by the last name as the result of the reservation and who knows they just came from downtown after rush traffic. A hostess who can have a real conversation with the guest can go a long way to setting the stage. Then continue to deliver that experience with every staff interaction. Deliver food that is prepared right and with the highest possible quality ingredients. Make sure the guest knows the effort that goes into getting it right. It’s a strong message delivering a wedge salad to the table while letting the guest know that the iceberg lettuce was grown on an organic farm 3 miles away. When it comes to delivery, it is all about the genuine wow factor you can provide.

Make sure the guest knows the effort that goes into getting it right.

6. Reward Loyalty

Guests who dine with you often should be rewarded. Get to know them and welcome them as friends to your establishment. Rewards do not always need to be monetary. Rewarding a guest with a personalized welcome card at the table could be enough. Change rewards up and keep them fresh. Discounts and spur of the moment giveaways can be unique. Everyone else gives points, while not a bad idea, it’s also not a unique idea. Get outside of the norm and be unique yet again with rewarding loyalty. Partner with the neighborhood movie theater and give away tickets to guests who just showed up at your restaurant for the 5th time.

7. Invest in the Brand Experience

By now you’ve probably got the understanding that investing in your restaurants brand experience is the cornerstone of guaranteed success. If you are not able or willing to invest in the guest experience with your restaurant brand, you probably should take a step back and re-evaluate your strategy. Make sure your brand experience is connected with your digital and physical brand identity. The look, feel smell, taste, and smell all come together in a unique way when it comes to branding a restaurant. Invest in all senses for the best impact.

In summary, these 7 ways can help your restaurant succeed at a much higher rate than the industry average. Pulling in outside resources to help profile your customers, craft your brand message, and develop the customer experience is an effective method to get it right. You can focus expertise on delivering the food and guest experience, while an expert third party helps communicate your unique position.

What Makes a Great Logo Design?

Your Logo Isn’t Your Brand

Although the words “logo” and “brand” are often mistaken to be synonymous, your logo isn’t your brand. A logo is certainly a vital piece to building a great brand, however, your brand is really your reputation. Your reputation is created by what you do, what you say, and how you look. Often the first interaction a customer will have with your brand is your logo. Your logo creates the first impression, and you don’t get a second chance at a first impression.

Most people understand the importance of a logo for a company, there’s no debating that. However, what really makes a great logo?

Making a Great Logo

Have you ever wondered if you’re missing new business opportunities based on the quality of your logo design? You can be if your logo doesn’t resonate with your audience or if it does not capture your brand’s essence. The overall marketing significance of your logo design for your brand plays a major role in your brand’s perception in the market. If the links between your logo, brand, and potential customers are not fluid, you have a valid reason to consider redesigning the logo.

The development of a logo may depend on the type of logo you are looking for, have or want to fine – tune. Below you have some factors to consider when deciding whether it is time to design, redesign or modify the logo of your company. We will use actual examples of major brands and highlight things you might not have known about.

The Concept

The concept and underlying idea of the logo are extremely important and valuable as well. The way a logo designer incorporates a company’s name to a logo can be simply brilliant. When done right, it looks easy and the instant you look at it makes sense. Often you can simply look at a great logo and say “ It’s so simple, how did I not think of that?! ” What makes the following designs so great is their simplicity, and how the symbols clearly represent the name of the company.

 

Top Brand Logo Designs

Top Brand Logo Designs

Unique Factor

The original design of the logo is an obvious factor in the perceived value of the logo. Originality can be found in many ways, but it certainly helps your logo to stand out amongst your competitors and other companies. When thinking about some of the most iconic logos, you can see how they are all very original.

Legibility

For 99% of logo designs, legibility is so crucial. The name of the company needs to be read easily and quickly so that customers can understand who the company is and how meaningful it is to them. For the majority of companies, the selected typeface used in a logo should reinforce the personality of the brand.

Although readability is such an important component in a logo design, there are some well-known brands whose logos are difficult to read. For instance, the Mossimo logo has been around for nearly 30 years, and it is unique and still widely-recognized in the retail and clothing sector even with letters that are not completely legible.

Using Lettermarks

One of our favorite logo design variants consists of a unique set of letters or original letterforms that create the logo. For instance, Disney, H&M, and Coca-Cola are all hand-drawn letterforms which make these logos very distinctive. For such logos, special attention must be paid to keeping the individual letters consistent in some manner, such as maintaining a similar x-height, angle, baseline, or stroke weight. If variables exist in these things, the design of the logo usually starts to be less coherent.

Iconic brands that use letterforms for their logo

Simply Iconography

Many logos have a word mark, letters describing the company name and an icon. The logo icon is a symbol which can be used with the word-mark or without it. for these big name brands, the icon may be the only thing needed to recognize the brand. A recent customer who came to us to design his logo wanted a small, simple ” checkmark ” icon that can be used without a wordmark. The following examples show popular brands using iconography for their design of the logo.

Popular brand icons

Popular brand icons

Attention to Detail

Of the world’s top brands, nine out of ten logos are easy enough to be seen in small sizes. But why do we see some brands that own logos with a substantial amount of detail which often present challenges at small sizes or when reproduced in certain ways?

Attention should be paid to detail, which can be very important for luxury brands. Extreme detailing in some logos can be lost at smaller sizes, and are often difficult to reproduce in silk screening or embroidery. However, the richness of a detailed logo often strengthens its luxurious appeal when done well. See all the details in the following logos about a story and its heritage.

Luxury Logo Designs with Ornate Detail

Luxury Logo Designs with Ornate Detail


Wanting a New Logo for Your Business?

Longitude° has been helping businesses align their design, strategy, marketing, and operations since 2010. With our proven process, we can guide you towards a more profitable brand that you’re proud of. Don’t hesitate to contact us at (417) 986-2336 or email Jeremy at jeremy@longitudebranding.com.

The Importance of Brand Strategy for Restaurants

Restaurant Branding is Important

Decades ago branding was defined as a name, slogan, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of these elements that distinguish one restaurant brand from another. From the public’s perspective, the brand of a restaurant differentiated it from the competition. Today a brand is a bit more complex, and even more important in today’s world of marketing. And branding is not just about getting your target market to select you over the competition.

We can all agree that restaurant branding matters. Everything communicates, whether by design or default. All the little experiences define the whole from every touch-point. Conceptualizing and realizing a top-tier dining experience requires more than putting together a tasty menu. You have to entice customers with a purpose and promise and to deliver on that promise. Wow, guests with your restaurant’s particular panache.

Every executive and agency seems to throw around the phrase “restaurant brand” a lot and champion its importance. But when you ask them to define their restaurant brand – or even better, ask the entire executive team to define it independently and then compare their responses – it’s alarming just how far the stakeholders may be in their understanding of effective restaurant branding strategy and its application.

Homestyle Kitchen Branding Examples

Homestyle Kitchen Branding

What is Restaurant Branding?

So what exactly is restaurant branding? Is it just the standard pretty logo and catchy jingle a traditional agency conjures up in their typical approach? Of course not. Great, powerful, and effective restaurant branding is all about marrying your marketing with your operations. The best restaurants don’t simply copy trends or rely on tricky gimmicks. The best restaurant brands have a clear mission, purpose, and reason for being. These are based on research and innovation, operating on the belief that hospitality can help make the world a better place.

The best brands don’t mindlessly copy trends and espouse gimmicks.

Your brand isn’t your logo, it’s your reputation. When you think of your brand in this way, it helps you to make a more human and authentic connection to your audience and customers. When you look at your brand as your reputation, you’ll understand why it’s important to bring alignment to your look, your message, and your actions. When these three things are in alignment, and functioning optimally, you will have a healthy reputation (brand).

restaurant branding examples

Brand identity for fast-casual Indian restaurant.

Success in Restaurant Branding

To succeed in restaurant branding, you must understand the needs and wants of your customers. You can achieve this by integrating your brand strategies throughout your organization at every point of public contact. Think of branding as though your restaurant were a living, breathing person. How could this person communicate, and engage with another person in a way that builds trust, loyalty, and with clear and direct communication?

But remember, the effectiveness of a brand doesn’t just happen before the purchase—the brand experience has to last to create brand loyalty. A quality brand gives people something to believe in, something to stand behind. Your brand should be an instant “ah-ha” moment—it should require very little thought.

Remember, you can’t escape your brand. Either you make the customer experience, or it gets made without you.

Being seen and heard in the midst of a roaring ocean of competition is a large task in today’s very crowded marketplace. We find this true even more each time we scan through a magazine, watch television, or search the web. Due to this, restaurants are being forced to seek new and more effective ways of increasing their brand power, awareness, and just as important, their brand loyalty.

A strategic brand will help you in the following ways:

  • Clearly deliver a message that resonates with people.
  • Confirm your credibility in the marketplace.
  • Be confident in what makes you unique versus your competition
  • Emotionally connect your target audience with your restaurant, staff, and food.
  • Entice new customers to visit your restaurant.

>>> Does Your Restaurant Need Some Help?
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5 Ways to Build an Influential Brand that Every Leader Needs to Know

The bottom line – as a business owner you want your business to grow. If you don’t, then you should probably question whether or not you should be a business owner. What’s the most common indicator that your business is growing? You’re making more money.

This is true for every business, non-profit, and individual. People don’t like to talk about making money, but the truth is we need money to operate. But what’s the best way to earn more money? It may be tempting to start throwing out tactics, buzzwords, and strategies like: “You need to innovate”, “You must diversify”, “You need to penetrate the market”, “You need to build a sales funnel”, “You need more Instagram followers”….  yadda, yadda, yadda.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all valid methods to consider and could play a large part in how you operate your business. But, for a business owner who’s growth has flat-lined and is struggling to keep up, “penetrating the market” means nothing. If you’re tired of just surviving as a business and ready to start thriving, I’ve got good news for you – it may be more simple than you think. Humor me if you will, and allow me to give you a more simplified answer to the question, “How can I grow my business?”

For your business to grow and make more money you need…

  1. More people to buy more of your stuff.
  2. More people to tell more of their friends to buy more your stuff.
  3. To invest more in methods that will get more people to do both of the above.

It may sound simple, but for most businesses who are struggling to gain traction – these three things seem like an unreachable goal. The reality is that for most small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) achieving these three things is easier than you may think. This brings up an important question that I’m sure you’re asking yourself: “Yeah, that sounds great and all, but what’s the best way to accomplish those three things?” It’s a simple answer, influence.

Building an influential brand for your business could be the best decision you have yet to make.

Understanding Influence

We’ve worked with many SMB’s over the years, and we’ve found a common trait shared among the ones who are struggling – a brand strategy is either underutilized or completely absent. That’s unfortunate because a strategic brand plays a vital role in virtually every aspect of your business. It can have a huge impact on your reputation, customer experiences, employee onboarding and engagement, important decision-making, gaining support for your vision…  and yes – influencing people to buy your stuff.

Let me make something clear – when I say influence, I do not mean “manipulate.”

Influence vs. Manipulation

Influence – the process of getting someone else to want to believe, do, think, or react the way you want them to. This approach encourages your audience to feel inspired, excited, and harbor warm feelings about you. It makes your audience feel like you care about their needs, and genuinely want to help them.

Manipulation – exerting devious influence over a person for your own advantage. This method creates anxiety, stress, or discomfort for your audience with the goal of getting them to take an action. This makes your audience feel guarded, and like you don’t care about their needs.

Both methods work in their own way. However, there are key differences in the outcomes.

Influencers…

Manipulators…

  • Seek to understand not to convince.
  • Communicate clearly.
  • Listens to their audience.
  • Relates to the emotions of their audience.
  • Care about the relationship.
  • Ask plenty of questions.
  • Focus on gaining a loyal customer.
  • Seeks to convince not understand
  • Communicate ambiguously.
  • Talks to their audience.
  • Control the emotions of their audience.
  • Care about the transaction.
  • Don’t ask questions.
  • Focus on landing another customer.

It’s easy to see how being an influential brand will help your business grow. Now let’s begin to dissect how you can begin to build an influential brand for yourself.


 

The Building Blocks of an Influential Brand

1. Tell Your Story

Your story is the most human element of your business, yet it’s typically the last thing people bring up when they approach customers. Your story will begin a natural conversation with your customers. It’s this story that will show them that you care about more than just landing a sale.

Start with “Why?” Next time you are making a sales pitch start with answering the question “why?” Tell them why you do what you do, and why it excites you. This will give people something to relate to. It will also show them that you are passionate about what you do, and believe in its value – instilling confidence in them. Sharing your “why” is only one aspect of your story. Another aspect is the story of your brand.

The Story of Your Brand. Every good story has a beginning, middle, and end. This 3-part approach is the natural progression of your brand story as well:

  1. Beginning (the Problem): Explain the problem that your audience faces.
  2. Middle (the Solution): Clearly explain how you solve this problem.
  3. End (the Success): Show the results and success your customers can experience.

Create a compelling story. You want your audience to feel like you’ve read their journal, and you understand their deepest thoughts. Really knowing the people that you’re talking to will all your message to stir up their intrinsic motivations. This will help you to influence people not because of what you do, but because of how what you do can help them. Telling your brand story can be one of the easiest entry points for building an influential brand.

2. Know What Makes You Different

Understand your position in the market. It’s hard to be an influential brand if you can’t clearly explain and defend what makes you different, and why someone should choose you over the competition. Many business owners mistake the quality of their product or service as their positioning. Simply stating, “we have the best quality products,” or “we have the best customer service” isn’t enough to communicate how your business is different.

“we have the best quality products,” or “we have the best customer service” usually isn’t enough to communicate how your business is different.

Instead, try and pinpoint 1 or 2 specific and relevant aspects of your business that are completely unique in your industry or region – lean into those. Maybe it’s not the fact that you have quality products, but the process you use to ensure that every product manufactured meets your quality standards. Maybe it’s not the fact that you have the “best customer service”, but the fact that you guarantee a quality experience or you’ll give your customer a full refund.

Check out your competition. It’s important to do some competitive review, to see how your competition is positioning themselves. However, be sure to find something that is different than your competition. If you simply try to copy what’s working for them, you’ll find yourself getting lost in the market, and that’s a sure-fire way to not build an influential brand.

3. Make it Personal

Get personal with it. Know who you are talking to. Remember, “People do business with people.” Ask yourself, “What motivates them? What discourages them? What gets them up in the morning? What keeps them up at night?” Seek to truly understand your audience, and how you can best serve them.

This also involves getting face-to-face with your audience. Go where they are. Attend the same conferences, seminars, networking groups, or workshops that they attend. Doing this will not only help you make in-person connections but will also give you valuable insight into the industry or demographic that you’re targeting. It could help uncover areas that your business could improve to provide a better value to your customers.

Your brand messaging should be focused on your customer, not on you.

Your message. Your brand messaging should be focused on your customer, not on you. What I mean by this is that you should talk less about “I” (you the business owner), and more about “you.” (the customer). This will help you in your effort to make a connection with your customers, not just talking to them. Let’s face it, no one wants to hear about how great you are all the time.

4. Be Consistent and Clear

The value of consistency. Brand consistency is another simple approach that pays huge dividends. We’ve written about the importance of consistency in the past, but it’s worth mentioning over and over. Be consistent.

Put brand message and identity guidelines in place. This is why all BrandGPS clients receive a Brand Guidelines Handbook. It’s a vital piece to maintaining brand consistency across all customer touchpoints, as well as maintaining internal clarity around your brand values, message, and story.

Consistency earns visibility, visibility earns credibility, credibility earns trust, trust earns loyalty.

5. Be Authentic

These days, “being authentic” is one of the most common buzz-words to describe a business attempting to relate to millennials, or be relevant to modern culture. Despite the negative connotation that “being authentic” has recently earned, there is a real purpose in being an authentic brand. Building an authentic brand requires time and effort spent on keeping your promises, and ensuring that your messaging aligns with what you do.

The 3 pillars that play the part in building a healthy and influential brand are:

  1. How you look
  2. What you say
  3. What you do

If any of these three aren’t aligned, you risk being seen as an inauthentic brand, which can be extremely harmful to your business. A good example of this is when United Airlines responded to a passenger being pulled off a plane with two different messages – the messages contradicted each other, and caused public confusion. The mixed signals created a sense of distrust among the public and did further harm to the brand of United Airlines.

Actions speak louder than words. It should go without saying, but don’t claim to be something you’re not. Don’t make promises or claims you can’t deliver on, and be sure that what you say to your audience is exactly what they’re getting. If you claim to have the best customer service experience, and you have heaps of 1-star reviews saying otherwise, no one will take your brand seriously. You’ll never gain the trust of people if you’re not keeping promises, and you can kiss the idea of customer loyalty good-bye.

Building an authentic brand gives people a reason to care.

A Final Word

These five things play an important role in building a brand that is influential. I can’t stress enough the importance of a brand strategy for your business. If your business is struggling to get to the next level, gaining traction in your market, earning customer trust and loyalty, or simply getting beat by your competition – then you need a brand strategy.

An influential brand, like the ones we help our customers build through BrandGPS, is an investment you won’t regret.

 

Here’s Why You’re Getting Beat by the Competition

The most profitable companies in the world make huge investments toward improving their brand and reputation; often spending millions to get it just right. Yet for many small businesses owners, branding is an afterthought. Why is this?

In this article, I’ll dispel some common misconceptions you may have about branding that could be harming your business. You’ll also learn about how a brand strategy (like the ones we develop through our BrandGPS™ process) could be one of the best investments you could make for your business.

Your Competition Is Winning, Here’s Why…

There’s a disease of misinformation spreading throughout the world of business. It’s plaguing small businesses and startups from every industry. If not caught early, then it could do great harm to your business.

Your competition thrives on your ignorance and they want you to stay misinformed.

Your competitors would prefer that you continue doing business as usual – fighting the uphill battle and constantly spinning your wheels. They don’t want you to be privy to certain best business practices, tricks of the trade, innovative ideas, or powerful marketing tactics. As brand guides, we see the results of this common complacency on a daily basis. Yet, more often than not, this disease can be cured through some education and awareness. With knowledge comes power.

Could You Be Misinformed?

The following statements shine a light on the fact that many people have a flawed understanding of what a brand is and how a brand strategy can benefit virtually every business. If you’ve found yourself saying any of the following statements, there’s a very high chance that you could be misinformed – and quite possibly doing great harm to your business without knowing.

MYTH #1: “There’s no clear ROI to branding.”

TRUTH: The fact is, there is plenty of examples of how proper branding, guided by a professional branding agency, can have a great return on investment. We’ll mention a few below.

MYTH #2: “It’s a nice-to-have, but not that important.”

TRUTH: There’s ample evidence to show that a brand strategy is not just a “nice-to-have” for your business, but a necessary step. If you view branding as just a decoration, or an “optional add-on” it’s time to step into the 21st century and stop running your business like you live in the 1950s.

The climate of the marketplace has changed, and consumers have changed with it. It’s not enough anymore to just say that you have the best prices or best quality stuff. Consumers are smarter and more engaged than ever. They will judge you based on how you look, what you say, and what you do. If any of those three pieces aren’t aligned, then you’ll be ignored.

You need to connect with consumers, not just talk about how awesome you are. They need to know who you are, what you do, what you stand for, and believe it. Developing a strategic brand should be one of the first steps in almost every business.

MYTH #3: “We just can’t afford it.”

TRUTH: In reality, you can’t afford to not have a brand strategy. But if you are an existing business, and truly don’t have any funds to invest in growing your business – then that could be a huge indicator that you need a brand strategy. A brand strategy can be one of the most important investments you make into your business. Implementing these principles, standards, and guidelines for your business can make you more profitable; making the initial investment of hiring a professional brand agency seem small.

MYTH #4: “We can hire ACME Agency to design a logo for half the price.”

TRUTH: This could be one of the most common, and most troubling misconceptions that surround branding. This antiquated idea is plaguing the world of startups and small businesses. Many people believe that spending a few hundred dollars to hire a logo designer will provide the same benefits as a going through an in-depth, comprehensive brand strategy process like BrandGPS™ – This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Investing in a brand strategy and professional brand identity is one of the most important decisions you can make.

Benefits of Branding

Your brand is the public’s response to how you look, what you say, and what you do. Without a brand strategy and professional brand identity, you’re probably missing 2 out of 3 vital pieces that make for a great brand. Implementing a brand strategy and brand identity (like the ones we provide with BrandGPS™) provides a ton of incredible benefits, uses, and tools to help your business grow – like crazy. The list below is not complete by any means, but will give you just a taste of some of the benefits you can expect after improving your approach to branding.

1. A Customer Magnet

People really want an easy connection to the brands they love. A great brand is a great reputation. It lets someone know they can trust your business to deliver the best services or products, all the time. You brand bridges the gap between your business and your customers; strengthening their resolve to do business with you. Often times this can increase metrics for your business such as conversion rates, or average order value.

2. Customer Loyalty Sky-rockets

Great and intentional branding is one of the most effective ways to increase customer loyalty. When people have a memorable experience with your brand, they will remember your brand, not only your product or service. People put their trust in brands, not products. So if your brand can connect with your customers emotionally, and build trust, chances are you’ll have a customer for life.

3. Your Message Connects

If created well, a brand strategy and identity can provide an incredible channel of communication with your audience. Your brand can inform people about your company’s value, your defining message, and unique characteristics. Things like these will help consumers connect to your business, and easily be able to identify your products vs. your competition’s. It’s important to know your customer intimately. What drives them? What motivates them? Once you find this out, design your brand strategy and identity accordingly – and growing your business is almost inevitable.

4. You Look Like a Better Choice

Do consumers know what sets you apart from your competition? Believe it or not, most people won’t just pay you money because you say that you do the best work, you provide the best quality, you’re the most affordable, and you’re just plain awesome. A real brand strategy will give you the right messaging to clearly communicate the value of your offering. Without this positioning statement, your business will just fall into the sea of a thousand competitors. A well-thought-out brand strategy will set your brand apart from the crowd, and even if the competition tries to copy you – it will just further establish and solidify your value in the consumer’s mind.

5. Who Doesn’t Like More Money?

If I offered to give you an additional 23% revenue this year but asked you to give me a small fraction of that amount in return, what would you say? You’d say yes; it’d be a no-brainer. It’d be absurd to say no.

Yet this is exactly what many businesses are doing every single year by not investing in a brand strategy, and getting consistent with their approach. Brand consistency is extremely important, and a pillar of any solid brand strategy.

There have been studies that show brands who are consistent can experience a 23% increase in their revenue, on average. That’s a pretty crazy stat, isn’t it? How would it make you feel to see your revenue increased by 23%? It’d probably feel pretty good, right?

Think about this for your own business. Ask yourself the following:

  1. What do I estimate my revenue to be over the next 12 months?
  2. Multiply that number by 0.23.
  3. That’s how much money you’re throwing away each year by not implementing a brand strategy and maintaining a consistent brand.

So for example, a business making $100,000 annually will lose $23,000 per year by not having an effective and consistent brand strategy in place.

There’s a Better Option

The news is in. You need a brand strategy for your business. If your business doesn’t have one or the one you have is ineffective, get in touch with us.

We’ve worked with many very sharp, forward-thinking owners and entrepreneurs from a variety of industries; guiding them through our 4-step brand development process called, BrandGPS™.

Over the course of 4-6 weeks, we help you establish a solid brand strategy for your business; helping bring alignment to your business goals and marketing efforts. It gives you the right look to attract more ideal customers and ensures that your brand is sending the right message.

What this provides for a company like yours is a clear and consistent connection with people, and quite frankly this often means an increase in your profits. It comes as no surprise to us that many of the business owners we’ve partnered with have expressed that BrandGPS™ is the best investment they’ve made for their business.

What is Branding and Why Does it Matter?

If you ask ten different people what “branding” is, you’ll get ten different answers. Understanding what it means and how to leverage it effectively will unlock incredible potential for your business. Let’s give it a try.

If you’re in business, it’s safe to assume you want more people to buy more of your things. Whether it’s food, widgets, or consulting services, you want to have more sales.

However, there are two hurdles you have to overcome. First, nobody cares about your business. Second, you have millions of competitors.

Allow me to explain.

 

Nobody cares about your business.

That may sound harsh, but most people aren’t going to part with their hard-earned money because they care about supporting you. When a purchasing decision is made, it’s because they want the outcome of what your product offers.

I recently bought pedals for my mountain bike. I didn’t do it because I love small rectangular pieces of aluminum or because I wanted to make sure the company hit their sales quota for the month. My feet kept slipping off of my old pedals which made me bang my shin. I had a problem.

Buying the new pedals, I hoped my rides would become more enjoyable and make my life a little better. The pedals I chose seemed to be the answer I was looking for, and I parted with my money based on that hope.

The lesson? People buy things to make their lives better, even a little bit.

 

You have millions of competitors.

And by competitor, I don’t mean other companies who provide the exact same thing. I mean anything that competes for your customer’s hard-earned money. The graphic designer and furniture broker wouldn’t be considered competitors, but a restaurant owner might opt to buy new furniture and then not have the money for that new design (or vice versa). As customers, we spend our limited money on whatever seems to promise the greatest return on “how do I make my life better?”

You don’t have to compete with other companies providing similar products—you have to compete with every company in the known universe. Now that you’re depressed, let’s look at some good news:

People do buy your stuff. You have happy customers who understand how your product makes their life better and believe in you enough to buy and re-buy.

The question is, “How can we get more customers benefiting from what we offer?” There are millions of people who would love to have what you provide and would gladly pay top dollar for it. The problem is they have either never seen you, or they do not understand how you can help them.

Your company is one star in a galaxy of competition. How can you bridge the gap and make those connections with potential customers? That’s where branding comes in.

Your ”brand,” as I define it, is your reputation. It’s how you’re perceived. “Branding” would be the actions that build the connection between you and your customer.

 

There are three ingredients to build the connection between your customer’s needs and the solution you hold.

 

1. Being Seen 

In the galaxy of products and services, being seen can be hard. Part of branding is using the right visual tools to properly communicate how you’re different. In a sea of O’s, you need to be an X. It’s also about differentiating your brand from everyone else so it becomes something people are drawn to. Your visual presentation is the first step in attracting a new customer. If you look like everyone else, you’re not going to break through and bridge that gap.

 

2. Being Understood

Your messaging needs to be clear and simple. You need to focus on the problems your customer is facing and position what you have to offer as the solution to that problem. People buy things they can understand. Your product may be better than the competition’s, but if you can’t explain it clearly in a way that resonates with your customer’s needs, you’ll lose. It needs to be easy for people.

 

3. Following Through

You can have the best visuals and compelling messaging, but if you don’t deliver, your brand will never be healthy. It’s about promises made and promises kept. Being consistent in your brand’s execution is the final ingredient that makes it healthy. While being seen and being understood are important, what you do will always hold the most weight as you build your reputation.

 

How would you rate your brand?

  • Are potential customers seeing you in the galaxy of competition?
  • Are you clearly communicating that you understand their problems and have the solution?
  • Are you following through on promises made?

 

How Can Longitude° Help?

Longitude° is different than a full-service marketing agency. We specialize in the first two ingredients.We help you develop your brand strategy and messaging through the BrandGPS process. We also create a visual toolbox so you can communicate effectively and attract your ideal customers. Our clients all have one thing in common—they are pouring their life into making their life’s work successful. We understand. We can help you stand out, communicate your value, and build a healthy brand. Why? We believe every business deserves to have the tools to succeed.

 

Balancing Creativity & Consistency With Your Brand Design

Post originally posted at Foodabletv.com

Have you ever enjoyed the wit or creativity of a television spot but then had no idea what it was for? This is probably because they valued creativity without consistency. Different is not always better. In fact, when it comes to positioning your brand in your consumers’ minds, you should be careful not to dilute your message.

Maybe you’ve grown tired of looking at elements of your brand and want to see something fresh. Some of us err on the side of wanting to change things up constantly. Others may never seek to change anything and grow out-dated and irrelevant. Is there a balance? How can we know when it’s time to do something new and creative, or when it’s best to maintain consistency?

There are two distinct areas to identify so that we can apply these principles correctly:

1. Foundational Elements

The foundational elements of your brand should stay consistent. These include items such as your logo, primary color palette, and tagline. The foundational elements should be developed to reflect the essence of the brand. Once in place, they shouldn’t change unless there is a fundamental strategic shift for the brand.

If Coca-Cola switched up their logo every few years just to stay fresh, their brand would not be recognizable all over the world. If Starbucks created an ad using blue and yellow, you wouldn’t associate it with their brand. It would be confusing and ineffective. Large brands understand the power of consistency in their foundational elements.

2. Secondary Elements

Secondary elements of your brand can include typefaces, secondary colors, and graphic styles. New items, seasonal promotions, and campaigns can provide a great opportunity to try something different, as long as it stays true to the foundational elements of the brand.

We see great brands roll out visuals that are extremely creative and fresh, yet they still remain unmistakably on-brand. You can usually identify an ad for Target without seeing the logo. That is because of their consistency. Starbucks is a great example of having new and exciting visuals during their seasonal promotions. Because they stay true to their foundational elements, you still know that it is Starbucks.

4 Tips on Being Creative but Consistent

Think about your audience. Are you wanting to change something because you are tired of seeing it, or because your audience is tired of seeing it? Remember that others are seeing it less frequently than you and you should be base decisions on their needs.

Don’t stick with something that doesn’t work. If your logo and visuals do not reflect the essence of your brand, you should consider if a rebranding effort is needed. It is better to make changes now than to consistently put out the wrong message.

Continue Reading on Foodable.

 


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