Creating a brand around your restaurant has many benefits. A clear, concise brand statement can drive marketing, development and even operational activities. In a Foodservice Radio interview, Warren Ellish, Senior Lecturer at Cornell University and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group talks about how you can turn your restaurant - large or small - into a world class brand.

There are many misconceptions about branding among food service operators. "Most people think of a brand as mark," says Ellish. "It is not a mark, a brand leaves a mark. What is really interesting is that restaurant customers don't really care about a brand name, logo or tag line. What they really care about is who your brand is, what it stands for, what your brand offers, and very importantly, why your brand is different."

"Brand positioning is the way you want the consumer to think about your product or service relative to competing brands," Ellish adds. "It is the most basic of all strategic statements. It provide the blueprint for all the marketing and development, and it focuses the efforts of all those involved in brand activities. It states the reason for a brand's existence."

There are "three questions that will help people easily determine if their brand is strategically positioned and if their message is being clearly communicated," says Ellish. "They are 'What business is your brand in; what is the target market for your brand; and what is the point of difference for your brand?'"

Ellish suggests putting the answers to those questions together into a simple brand positioning statement, "To (your market target), (your brand) is the brand of (your competitive set) that offers (your point of difference)."

This exercise often points out the weaknesses in the current brand positioning. "What's really interesting is when I do this exercise, whether it is with a small entrepreneurial group or a very large corporate environment, you find significant inconsistencies in the answers. Most members of the team list points of similarity and not points of difference," says Ellish. "Make sure your reason for being is exclusive and unique, and make sure using your brand becomes a true experience for your guests."

Defining your brand positioning also helps with social media. It helps your customers remember exactly what you want them to know about your brand. Those customers will in turn communicate that message to others.

When it comes to branding, "The little guy has as much opportunity as the big guy," Ellish concludes. "All they have to do is make sure they go through and position their brand and make sure to have a preemptive, ownable and defendable point of difference. If they don't, then there is no reason for anyone to become a loyal follower and an advocate of their brand."

For more information or to contact Mr. Ellish, visit www.ellishmarketing.com or call 303-762-0360.


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