By Dustin Myers, Foodable Industry Expert
Branding goes far deeper than the visual design, just as there is much more to a person’s identity than the clothes they wear and how they present themselves. However, when you see a person who is well-groomed and well-dressed, it is usually a reflection of who they really are. Great brands invest much care and attention to develop a strong visual identity that reflects who they really are.
Design is just one component of a successful brand, but it is a very important one.
If you are an established restaurant looking for ways to improve, evaluate which areas are working and which areas are not. If you are working on a brand new concept, you have the opportunity to do it correctly from the start. Here are the three key areas that should be in focus while developing and executing your brand design.
Before developing the look and feel for your restaurant, you must determine who you are and what makes you unique.
Is this a fast casual, quick service, fine dining, family style, or cafe style restaurant? Is there a particular type of food the restaurant is centered on? What is your price range? Who is your target audience? All of these variations would require different design solutions and your logo should accurately communicate these characteristics. If a picture is worth a thousand words, your brand design should be worth millions.
Once you’ve defined all of these attributes, a good designer will know how to use these subtle cues to accurately communicate who you are.
A quick glance at your signage, website, social media, and other design elements should communicate the type of experience the customer can expect.
Your branding may accurately represent who you are, but is it creative? Does it pique interest? Would your logo only work for your restaurant, or could it be slapped on any other company and work just as well? Creativity in your design will stand out from the competition and engage new customers. While your competitors are trudging along with boring, mediocre visuals, you can be jumping ahead.
Does your brand engage on an emotional level? Does it speak to your target audience? Does it look like great thought and effort was put in to create a pleasing aesthetic?
Quality design reflects a mindset of care and attention to detail. Your presentation will either instill trust or create doubt regarding your quality.
Good food is not enough. You must identify what makes you truly unique and communicate that creatively through the branding.
The first impression is a crucial step to gaining a new customer. They will likely encounter your brand’s design before ever tasting your food — this could make or break your shot at earning their business.
Once you’ve worked to create an accurate and creative brand design, it must be executed consistently. Most larger chains understand the importance of this, but many independent restaurants struggle. Signage, menu design, social media presence, interior design; all of these must work together to create a cohesive look.
A brand style guide will help with consistency. Its purpose is to cast the vision for how the brand should look and feel as it’s applied to future materials.
Any campaign or touch point with your audience should point back to the fundamental brand design style.
A great brand can introduce new campaigns in creative ways while keeping its identity intact. This can be accomplished when the visual identity has been executed consistently for so long that it is burned into the subconscious. Consistency doesn’t cancel creativity. In fact, it gives opportunity for creativity. Through consistency and creativity, you can grow brand awareness and build loyalty. In order to be remembered, you have to be consistent.
Time To Evaluate
If you already have your brand in place, how does it score on these three factors? Does it accurately communicate who you are and what makes you special? Is it creative and memorable? Is there consistency throughout all of your brand touchpoints?
If you’re too close to it to do a truly objective evaluation, you may benefit greatly by hiring a professional consultant.
Remember that while good food and good service may keep a loyal customer, good design will give you the chance to earn them in the first place.