Monday, January 16, 2012

Restaurant Branding Tips: Going Global (Part 2)

As promised, here is the second part of our restaurant branding and marketing tips on how to go global with your food business. Like we said in our previous post, your branding mindset at this point should go beyond the usual printing of custom restaurant supplies such as custom cups and custom beverage napkins. Now that you are targeting a wider and bigger audience, you should also step up your game.

Now, moving on with our tips:

1. Make sure to use the right marketing channels. This harks back to our earlier tip: do research. For example, if your target consists of heavy commuters, it would be extremely unwise to advertise on radio. Instead, focus on out-of-home advertising situated in train stations or publications. The bottom line here is to observe your market’s habits and lifestyle because it varies for each culture.

2. Mind your language. There are things that cannot be fully translated into another culture or language. That is why transliteration can be a dangerous thing. When translating your brand, do not just talk to professional translators. Engage the locals. They will provide you with valuable localized information which is a goldmine for your branding and marketing campaign. Make sure that this kind of business attitude is reflected in all aspects of your business including your employees’ interaction with customers, customer service and of course, restaurant collaterals such as your outdoor signage, your custom beverage napkins and other custom restaurant supplies, and even the layout of your physical space.

3. Be vigilant. In the same way that you took great pains to take care of your brand reputation in your territory, you should also be just as vigilant (maybe even more so) in keeping your brand promise to your foreign market. Repay your market’s trust with topnotch service and food quality. Consistency is paramount in all aspects especially in service and in marketing.

Remember, one small mistake is remembered longer than a good dining experience so invest in reliable staff (you can hire locals) and synchronize your business goals and motto with the rest of your team.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Restaurant Branding Files: Going Global

In our previous blog post, we shared with you elements that make a strong brand. Today, we are giving you ideas on how to take your food establishment’s brand to the global market.

We are now past the stage of coming up with catchy marketing slogans or printing custom beverage napkins for your restaurant. At this stage, we assume that you have an established brand with a modest to strong following. Your patrons will expect a certain level of improved service from you but the upside is that they will also feel more willing to pay a premium for a “global” food brand.

Here are some pointers to take into consideration when expanding your brand.

1. When taking your brand to an international market, you need to consider cultural sensitivities. How does the English name sound when taken to, say, the Japanese market? The key here is proper research. Find out cultural norms in the country you intend to penetrate. Make sure your product name is not offensive abroad. If necessary, you will need translate to better communicate with your new audience. Sometimes, it will be a trial and error exercise but as long as you are learning, then you should look at it as an investment. When translating your brand, don’t scrimp on the budget by using online, computer generated translations. A sub-standard translation is dangerous and can ruin your business name before you even start building it. It is best to work with a professional so invest in one. Also, don’t forget to cascade your translated brand to your restaurant supplies such as your custom cups, custom beverage napkins and other supplies. Otherwise, you risk creating unwanted brand confusion.

2. Review your logo and make sure that there are no words or symbols that might be offensive to your targeted foreign market. For example, if you intend to penetrate a Middle Eastern market, you have to be aware of their cultural taboos. Colors are also important communicators so find out if your existing colors bear a negative connotation in your new market. As part of your research, it also helps to check if there are no other business establishments in that country with a similar logo as yours.

Come back next week for the second part of this post.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Elements That Make A Strong Brand

In our previous blog post, we looked at how branding has evolved over the years and how it goes more than just printing custom restaurant supplies such as custom cups and custom beverage napkins. Today, as promised, we are following up that post with the elements that make a strong brand.

1. A strong brand is significant. Customers can immediately identify it and understand its message.

2. A strong brand is representative. Customers can identify themselves to the brand and to what it represents.

3. A strong brand is relevant. Customers must see coherence in what you say and in what you do.

4. A strong brand is efficient. You can’t please everybody but those you have chosen to please must be satisfied by what you offer.

5. A strong brand has promise. It must give added value to customers.

6. A strong brand is unique. Remember what we said about unique selling point (USP)? Your brand must be easily differentiated from competition.

7. A strong brand is focused. You must know who your target market is and how to implement your branding strategy. Like we said, it does not end with printing custom beverage napkins or custom cups.

8. A strong brand is sustainable. A strong brand lives on.

9. A strong brand is credible. A strong brand delivers on its promises. The promises need not be extravagant. The important thing is that you do what you say you will do.
Note that these elements do not just refer to the visual aspects of branding (slogan, logo, symbols, custom restaurant supplies such as custom beverage napkins, among others). These elements should be seen in the kind of product and service provided by the food establishment.

Remember: a great restaurant brand is built on a whole concept integrating cuisine, service, visuals, and all other aspects.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Restaurant Files: The Evolution of Branding

Just because you invested in custom beverage napkins does it mean that you are effectively branding your food business. Printing out custom cups and custom beverage napkins is just a small fraction of the overall equation for branding success. Branding is a process that should be careful, deliberate and coherent and one misstep can ruin a carefully built image.

One way to understand branding is through its roots. Let’s analyze two definitions of branding from two different periods.

Oxford dictionary definition 1934:
Brand: 1. n. Piece of burning or smouldering wood, torch, (literary); sword (poet.); iron stamp used red-hot to leave an indelible mark, mark left by it, stigma, trade-mark, particular kind of goods (all of the best bb.). 2. v.t. Stamp (mark, object, skin), with b., impress indelibly (is branded on my memory)

Oxford dictionary definition 1980:
Brand (noun): a trade mark, goods of a particular make: a mark of identification made with a hot iron, the iron used for this: a piece of burning or charred wood, (verb): to mark with a hot iron, or to label with a trademark.

What we see here are two different viewpoints on branding from two different generations. During the 30s, branding was seen as a literal mark of identification. In the 1980s, branding gained its commercial and marketing value. Based on these simple dictionary definitions alone, one can gain an idea on how to start an effective branding campaign. It has to start with product identification and then eventually evolve into something more psychological so that it will be etched in the customers’ minds. So you see, your custom cups and your custom beverage napkins are just the beginning. As time goes by, you should take into consideration the elements that make a strong brand.

What are these elements? Come back next week and check us out for the second part of this blog post.

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