December 3, 2018 |
There are a great deal of misconceptions when it comes to what the term “branding” actually means, and that often becomes particularly apparent in the food and beverage industry, demonstrated by the myriad of branding faux pas within it. What is it that many businesses don’t understand about branding, and how can others avoid making the same mistakes?
First, let’s define branding. One can safely assume it does not refer to leaving an indelible sign on the skin using heat, at least not in this particular context, unless you’re a cattle farmer with a steakhouse. The American Marketing Association describes branding as “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers”. So, branding is an identifying symbol at its core, but there is much more to it than that. Branding is not simply designing a neat-looking logo to slap onto signage. It’s the science of understanding consumer behaviour.
A brand is the idea or image that a customer has in their head when they think of your company. As it creates such a powerful image that defines your business, it’s extremely important to get it right, so that it has the right impact on the customers you’re targeting. The science and psychology of it goes much deeper than just slapping a vegetable on a logo because your restaurant is vegan.
There are many common mistakes that restaurants are repeatedly making. A common one is using colors and designs in a logo that customers don’t relate to food. For example, the color blue is known to suppress appetite and prevent hunger. It’s exactly the connotation you don’t want for a food business. This is because most foods aren’t blue in color, so people don’t associate it with eating. Additionally, stripes, distinct geometric shapes and lines can be bad design choices, as they don’t reflect the flowing, swirling contours that food has.
Another mistake is restaurant branding that implies your business is corporate, rather than a personality with a unique and tantalising story to tell. People don’t like corporations, they like narratives. Branding that looks like you’re a faceless, unaccountable conglomerate won’t sit well with people wanting to enjoy a personal, social experience.Illustrating a strong story in your branding helps humanise your business so people have some emotional attachment to it, as well as displaying a brand promise.
Whether you’re operating a restaurant, bar, cafe or gastropub, the branding need to elicit the right emotional and physical cues that are distinct to your business, speak to customer’s needs and desires, create a story that stands the test of time, and is consistent across all mediums you use to promote your business. Get these points right from the beginning, and the stellar food you create will backup, strengthen and reward all the effort you put into your branding.
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