Concepts for success: July 2010

Diane Chiasson
June 15, 2010
Written by Diane Chiasson
concepts
 
The development of strong brand recognition should be an essential part of your bakery’s business plan. Creating a brand helps you make a statement of what your operation is all about. Your brand should convey quality, consistency, familiarity, and most importantly, trust. Customers want to come into your restaurant and know they will have a good experience because that’s what your brand tells them.

Good branding is more than just a catchy slogan or a memorable logo. It’s about your entire business and culture. But before you start thinking about writing a catchy slogan that will have millions of people singing your song, you need to take a step back and consider the following questions:

Where do you see your business in the next five to 10 years? Do you plan to franchise your bakery? Who is your target market? Where do you see yourself in the marketplace? How do you differentiate yourself from your competition? What promises do you want to make to your customers about your products?

After answering these questions, you will have a better sense of what type of brand you wish to establish for your operation. A strong brand image will bring your company added value, command higher prices and attract better employees. Most of all, it will bring you more money. But it needs to be the right brand for the right audience.

1. Be specific about your target market
Do not try to create a brand that will appeal to everyone. You will end up with a brand that is unclearly defined. Target your brand to the specific demographics to which your bakery will appeal. Consider your neighbourhood – is it full of families, students or condo-dwelling urban professionals? Are there a lot of offices? Do you get a good lunch crowd, or after-work crowd? You need to cater your brand image to the right people.

2. Create a positive perception of your brand name
Define your brand using as few words as possible, and drive your definition to your customers. You should be able to tell potential customers exactly what to expect from your restaurant bakery by stringing together a few key words such as “homemade,” “comfort,” “stylish,” “elegant,” “fresh” or “fun.” Just by reading the key words, customers should be able to tell what type of establishment you are running.

3. Brand consistency
Everything in your bakery must convey what your brand wants to say, including your interior design and décor, menu, prices, food, drinks, uniforms, marketing, advertising, website and customer service. Your brand has to be cohesive throughout your entire operation, and must reflect your brand’s desired image and vision.

Developing a powerful brand image involves the entire design of your bakery, from lighting and flooring to powerful graphic images and menu boards. “Ensure that the entire look and feel of your bakery is consistent by keeping to a colour scheme. Have a uniform, recognizable style that is apparent throughout your establishment; whether it be inside, outside, online or in print.”

4. Deliver on what your brand promises
The most important element of branding is being able to deliver on what your brand is promising. For example, if you say that everything you sell in your bakery is fresh from your oven, make sure that you do not outsource any of your products. You need to gain the trust and loyalty of customers by standing by your brand name and what it offers.

5. POS materials help leave an imprint of your brand
Signage and point-of-sale (POS) materials are key in developing instant recognition of your brand. Use POS materials to highlight upcoming specials and promotions, but make sure your brand logo and slogan are prominently featured. It is important to create visually stimulating signs and displays so that your customers will remember the images from your POS materials even after they have left your bakery.

6. Sell branded retail merchandise
Once you have established your brand, you can build on it by offering retail merchandise that features your brand name and slogan, especially if you have a particularly witty slogan with a double meaning that can help you to launch a successful T-shirt sales operation. Other items to consider include baking equipment, serving dishes, aprons or magnets. The possibilities are endless. Also, not only can you stand to make a tidy profit from sales of your merchandise, but it also acts as free advertising for your bakery.
Implementing these six simple steps toward greater brand recognition can make all the difference between everyone knowing your bakery, and being just another name in the phonebook. 

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping food service, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for more than 25 years. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com.
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