What does Brand mean to you? Unless you are the marketing director of a large organization, it may carry little importance as people will likely not make the mental connection when they hear your name. Your marketing dollars are in short supply and the economy is uncertain at best, so why should an independent operator care about branding their concept? In a very fundamental sense, branding makes a consumer associate a specific product, pizza, with a specific manufacturer, YOU.
Think of it this way: Be Remembered And Noticed Dominantly. When looking at branding in its basic form, this is not only an attainable goal, but necessary to gain consumers’ confidence and have the competitive edge. “Customers must recognize that you stand for something.” – Howard Schultz, Starbucks
Your brand is something that will run throughout every way you represent yourself. Notice how a concept from Chicago is able to open 8 locations in the huge Los Angeles market since 2008. Fresh Brothers Pizza’s brand is stated in their name, they are known for using only the freshest ingredients, a uniqueness about their product. Their stores have a fresh new look, different to your typical pizzeria. The fresh theme runs dominantly through their logo, menu, graphics, stores, website, email, etc. There is no “disconnect.” What I see in the menu is what I expect and what I get when I visit any of their locations. The brand is reinforced at every junction and therefore remembered.
What can grow to be your brand? Secret recipes, family, community connection, cooking methods, any one of these aspects can be turned into a brand. Hecky’s BBQ of Evanston, IL builds his brand around the USP of “It’s the Sauce!” This ingrains in residents that Hecky’s famous barbecue sauce is their family’s own Creole recipe. Owner Hecky Powell personally makes himself visible as a family man in the community. Recently he even had an honorary street named after him: Hecky Powell Way. That’s being remembered. Backing this with a quality product, Hecky’s has thrived over the last 30 years through branding, proving to be a dominating force in his market.
Brand is seen in word and deed. My pizzeria’s USP is “Think About Pizza.” It conveys that you are making a smart buying decision with Punxsy Pizza as we carry a healthy, quality product and have strong ties to the community. To build that brand, my menu features a local landmark along with professional pictures of my actual product. What you see IS what you get. My pizzeria is designed with this in mind. We use the same warm inviting color scheme when choosing wall color, table cloth design and décor. Our dining area is a warm and nurturing place where food is dispersed with a little TLC. Our staff is trained to reflect that, to participate in community events and remember customer’s names. This strengthens our brand and gets us noticed. I have learned to not just stick my logo on any ad slick. To really make a consistent impression of my brand on consumers I need to have my menus, mailers, box-toppers, and emails… all have the same unique look and feel. A professional marketing partner can help you accomplish that.
“Any damn fool can put on a deal, but it takes genius, faith and perseverance to create a brand.” – David Ogilvy, British businessman
- Faith – Realize your uniqueness and believe in it
- Genius – Work with a professional and reach your full potential
- Perseverance – Consistently convey your brand
(Editor’s Note: Scott Anthony is a 20-year pizza veteran and columnist in Pizza Today Magazine. He is known as an industry guru in the field of community marketing and is a regular speaker at Pizza Expo.)