Brand Your Business Like Your Favorite Restaurant

Recently, I attended the Arizona Technology Council luncheon which included a panel of Arizona branding experts who discussed building a brand like your favorite restaurant. The panelists included Kate Unger, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Kahala, a franchising company (owners of Cold Stone Creamery and Blimpie brands, along with 12 others); Deborah Topcik, Director of Marketing for Z’Tejas, Inc. which owns and operates 11 restaurants in six markets; and John Banquil, Regional Manager for Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill. Thank you to Arizona Technology Council and our wonderful moderator Tanya Gagnon, Founder of Miss Details Design, for hosting an informative panel discussion!

As a business, you want your brand to be meaningful, memorable and repeatable.  It is that simple and that hard, which is why thinking about your business like a favorite restaurant is a perfect analogy.  The top branded restaurants treat their customers as if they are in their own home, and focus their intentions on making your time with them a great experience.  Each panelist shared variations of how they strive to create that ideal customer experience, and here are the best branding quotes from each panel member:

“Our Taco Time stores are individually branded towards their communities. It was difficult to do, but well worth it, and fit in with the original store.”  ~Kate Unger, Kahala

“Make it so people can see behind the curtain; give them sneak peeks to upcoming menu items.” ~ Deborah Topcik,  Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill

“We’re comfortable with our food – we want to make sure our staff is doing the right thing for our brand every time” ~John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill

Branding success is all about creating and communicating that awesome customer experience like you have at your favorite restaurant.  When you are branding your business with social media, think about these tips from the branding experts {I’ve bolded my top 3}:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
  2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
  3. Look at everything you do and how it relates back to the mission
  4. Ask yourself if it makes sense
  5. Ask why or why not
  6. Always be consistent
  7. Know your audience

It all boils down to creating the ultimate customer experience; by being clever, adding the personal touch, and involving the customer.  Sounds easy, right?!  Well then why isn’t everyone doing it?  The Branding Lady thinks it is because we, as humans, have a tendency to complicate things. The only way to do things right is to tap back into why your business started and figure out how to communicate your authentic message clearly and consistently.

Think about your intentions.

Couldn’t resist ending this with a quote from Ling and Louie’s:

“We want to be out of the box, out of the ‘wok’ if you will.”

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