Posts tagged Frame of Reference

Don’t Let A Point Of Similarity Become Your Point Of Difference

Successfully identifying and securing a powerful brand positioning is of critical importance to every brand. It is helpful to anyone who wants to influence other people. Whether you are promoting a product, a service, a cause, a candidate, an organization, an institution or even yourself and your own career. Positioning will aid in getting your desired message across to the people you want to reach and make an impression that lasts. One of the critical steps in developing a powerful brand positioning is to identify your brands point of difference – – the specific consumer benefit which you want consumers to associate most readily with your product or service. What does your brand do that no one else’s brand does as well and that your target cares about? When defining your brands point of difference, don’t let a point of similarity become your point of difference. So often I see this.  When speaking recently to industry audiences on branding and brand positioning (National Restaurant Association ShowInternational Franchise Association National Convention and Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Leadership Conference) or to the executive teams of clients, I ask three short questions: How many of your grew up wanting to be average? Or just like everyone else? Or of good quality? Rarely do I see any hands or much of a positive response. However, many brand leaders are perfectly OK about making their brands just like this – – average, just like everyone else and good. Many of the items that are an integral part of your product/service but are not preemptive, ownable and defendable become points of entry into your competitive set and are nothing more than points of similarity. Yes, they are all important to your product or service and in many cases you must deliver on these flawlessly just to be in business. But this is not what sets you apart, not a reason a customer should or will choose to use your brand over competitor brands, and most definitely this is not a reason for them to ever become a brand advocate. For more information on how to quickly and affordably position and brand your business to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, visit www.ellishmarketing.com, or reach Warren directly at 303-762-0360 or .

Building Your Brand – Is Your Restaurant or Franchise Brand Strategically Positioned?

 

Is your restaurant or franchise brand strategically positioned with its message clearly communicated? Are you sure?

You don’t have to embark on a lengthy and expensive consumer research study to find out if your restaurant or franchise brand is strategically positioned with its message clearly communicated. Just try this quick and easy exercise. You may be surprised by what you learn.

Ask each member of your management team, each member of your marketing organization, and key external strategic and creative resources to answer the following three questions:

  1. 1.    What business is your brand in? Your “frame of reference”.
  2. 2.    What is the “target market” for your brand?
  3. 3.    What are the “points of difference” for your brand? Note: List no more than three.

Analyze your results. If you observe either or both of the following, your brand positioning can most definitely be strengthened:

  • Significant inconsistency in the answers to most if not all of the above three questions.
  • “Points of difference” that are really “points of similarity” to your competition or simply “points of entry” in your business – and not pre-emptive, ownable and defendable attributes that are important to your target market.

Successfully identifying and securing a powerful brand positioning is of critical importance to every brand. It is crucial to anyone who wants to influence other people, whether you are promoting a product, a service, a cause, a candidate, an organization, an institution or even yourself and your own career. Positioning will aid in getting your desired message across to the people you want to reach and making an impression that lasts. Positioning is the way in which you want the consumer to think about your business (products and services) relative to competing brands. It is the most basic of all strategic statements, provides the blueprint for the marketing and development of the brand, and focuses the efforts of all those involved in brand activities.

Without a concise brand positioning statement with a competitive “point of difference” and complete management alignment behind this positioning, it will be difficult to communicate a clear and meaningful message about your brand. A brand must make a strong impression that lasts and translates into profitable sales and long-term growth.

What are the three critical elements of a brand positioning statement?

1 – Target Market: Composed of consumers considered to be good potential users for your product/service. Don’t think demographically. Think about what the similar set of needs and/or concerns are which motivate this group of consumers’ purchase behavior.

2 – Frame of Reference: Describes the consumer grouping of like products or services (or competing brands) with which your product or service competes.  It is easy to think about this as “what business are you in”. Make sure you consider all of the options that a consumer has available to satisfy a specific need.

3 – Point of Difference: The specific consumer benefit that you want consumers to associate most readily with your product or service. What does your brand do that no other brand does as well and that your target cares about?  Why should your target value your brand?

Don’t let a point of similarity become your point of difference. One of the critical steps in developing a powerful brand positioning is to identify your brands point of difference – – the specific consumer benefit which you want consumers to associate most readily with your product or service. So when defining your brands point of difference, don’t let a point of similarity become your point of difference. So often I see this. 

When speaking recently to industry audiences on branding and brand positioning (National Restaurant Association, International Franchise Association National Convention, Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Leadership Conference) or to the executive teams of clients, I ask three short questions: How many of your grew up wanting to be average? Or just like everyone else? Or of good quality? Rarely do I see any hands or much of a positive response. However, many brand leaders are perfectly OK about making their brands just like this – – average and just like everyone else.

Many of the items that are an integral part of your product/service but are not preemptive, ownable and defendable become points of entry into your competitive set and are nothing more than points of similarity. Yes, they are all important to your product or service and in many cases you must deliver on these flawlessly just to be in business. But this is not what sets you apart, not a reason a customer should or will choose to use your brand over competitor brands, and most definitely this is not a reason for them to ever become a brand advocate.

A brand is not a mark. A brand leaves a mark. Believe it or not, your customers do not really care about your brands’ name, your logo, or your tag line. What they do care about is who your brand is, what it stands for, what your brand offers and why your brand is different. People want to love brands. They want to feel amazing about using your brand. So stop worrying about the name of your brand, your logo or your tag line.  Focus you attention on clearly positioning your brand and gaining complete management alignment behind that positioning. The end result will be the development of a concise positioning statement, agreed upon by your core management team.

Properly position your brand and you will be in good company. I’ve worked with hundreds of global, national, regional and local brands including many restaurants and franchises – – all using a disciplined approach to developing a clearly defined brand positioning statement. Each of these clients that focused their attention on brand positioning have reaped the benefits of their efforts.

—————-

Warren Ellish is a senior marketing executive with over 30 years of client and consulting experience in consumer products marketing, restaurant marketing, franchise marketing, dental marketing and retail marketing. He is a renowned marketing and branding consultant, lecturer and speaker on branding and brand positioning, is President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group and is a member of the marketing faculty at Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. Ellish was named to the Advertising Age “Marketing 100–the superstars of US marketing”.

Mr. Ellish has a successful track record of assisting the senior leadership of highly competitive multi-unit trade area driven businesses (with a focus on restaurant and franchise brands) generate high returns on investment based on a strategic focus to drive profitable traffic and product mix.  A significant amount of his work has been with start-up, emerging and turnaround businesses.  He has launched many new brands and concepts that became successful growth businesses while also revitalizing many once formidable brands that lost their way to become strong competitors once again.  He has been responsible for developing brand positioning for hundreds of well-known international, domestic, regional and local brands.  His core practice areas include: brand positioning, restaurant marketing and franchise marketing for domestic and international clients.

Customers care what your brand stands for, offers, and why it is different

Position your brand to gain a competitive advantage

By Krista McNamara

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 12.08.39 PM

PUERTO RICO — Set your brand apart in the eyes of your customer in order to gain a competitive edge.

“Customers care what your brand stands for, what it offers and why it is different.” Don’t worry about your name, logo or tagline. A well-positioned brand can change perceptions, drive loyalty and get a premium price, in turn driving sales and profits, said Warren Ellish, president and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group, during a presentation at the 2014 CARSTAR National Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Warren Ellish addresses CARSTAR 25th Convention in Puerto Rico

Warren Ellish addresses CARSTAR 25th Convention in Puerto Rico

Branding expert and franchise marketing speaker Warren Ellish

Branding expert and franchise marketing speaker Warren Ellish

“To gain a competitive edge, you need to have as large a core of brand advocates as possible,” he said. How do you build brand advocates? As an MSO, “you need a brand that is properly and consistently positioned.” Positioning will aid in getting your desired message across to the people you want to reach and making an impression that will last. Positioning is the way you want the customer to think about your product or service relative to competing brands,” says Ellish, who is also a senior lecturer at Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management.

There are three areas to be tackled in brand positioning:

• Point of difference: The specific consumer benefit you want consumers to associate most readily with your product. What is different about your brand? What does it offer that other brands can’t?

• Frame of reference: What business are you in? The consumer group of like products and services

• Market target: Consumers that you consider to be good potential users for your product or service.

“When customers come in, they have chosen your brand over others. To gain a competitive edge, you have to wow every customer. They must feel like we truly appreciate their business, and leave with a great feeling about doing business with you and your brand,” Ellish says. “When you deliver on these critical things, you will profitably build your business and that of everyone

else in your brand, and together we will build a large base of brand advocates.”  “There is power in numbers, so use your scale to your advantage. Each and every good and bad review reflects on the entire brand. You are one brand. Keep the message consistent and leverage your scale. Stand as a unified brand, and you will gain a competitive edge,” he says.

On the bubble: Marketing beer and wine

 

By: DeAnn Owens

Pozza TodayMarketing beer and wine will increase sales and keep customers happy. Alcohol sales often boost an operator’s bottom line, but deciding to carry beer, wine and/or spirits should not be about profits only. Operators need to understand who their customers are, what they want and how to keep them returning while still attracting new customers.

Because creating an atmosphere that embraces both family and an over-21 crowd is complicated. But through strategic marketing, striking a balance between family friendly and an increase in bar sales is just a “cheers” away.

“We have a good mix of college students and community members that frequent our stores,” says Megan Young, marketing director for Woodstock’s Pizza in San Diego, California. “I would say generally among our stores it’s about 50/50. There are a lot of underage college students, younger families and people who aren’t coming to drink, so we do have to strike the right balance to make them happy and still position ourselves as a hangout to drink beer as well.”

beer_0097-267x400For 15 years, Brixx Wood Fired Pizza has included beer and wine on the menu, and according to Jeff Van Dyke, managing partner, the quality of their imports and craft beer and wine doesn’t attract the rowdy beer drinker.

“We’ve never seen a conflict with families; it’s a high energy environment, and people bring kids of any age,” Van Dyke says. “We’re open late, serve food until 1 a.m., six nights a week, and, late night –– which is 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. –– it’s more of a crowd focused on the bar. Most people don’t bring kids out for dinner after 10 p.m. We do offer root beer on tap, which is a big plus for kids of all ages.”

Finding the right balance begins with knowing who you are. “The first thing operators need to understand is to make sure selling alcohol makes sense for their brand position and concept and how. Who is the target market? Who are you trying to bring in? Looking at the competition, what is your point of difference? Does it make sense or doesn’t it? If it doesn’t, you can hurt your base business,” says Warren Ellish, president and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group.

Co-owners of Noble Pie Parlor in Reno, Nevada, Trevor Leppek and Ryan Goldhammer agree that in order to keep moving beer and wine in a positive way, you have to understand the market, neighborhood and community.

“The marketing of beer and wine has to be elegant, sophisticated, subtle and not overpower the food product –– the first reason people are there,” says Charles Dorn, managing director of The Dorn Group, Ltd., in Rye, New York. “The beer should be obvious that it’s available, but not the primary thing people see. Marketing can be as subtle as a table tent.”

Leppek and Goldhammer promote their list with hand painted chalkboards in the restaurant and clipboards at the table highlighting the beer and cocktail menus. Goldhammer also created framed custom-made posters with graphically designed advertisements.

wines_0073, marketing beer and wine“The type of glassware in wine and beverage service makes a tremendous difference,” Dorn said. “Beer in a frosted mug catches the eye. Glassware is a huge marketing thing. A pilsner glass with an amber colored beer will catch everyone’s eyes.”

Leppek and Goldhammer benefit from referrals from area casinos and use print and social media to promote their specials and events and their Web site to update their selections. “Instead of just marketing our beer and wine by itself, we market our events. We have Trivia Night in which we extend Happy Hour prices, Pint Nights and IPA Days. We market this as a fun experience with friends instead of just promoting drinking beer,” Young says. “We’re very active on social media –– Facebook, Instagram, Twitter –– marketing our events, new beers on tap and posting photos of events while they’re happening. We participate in community events. We also work with our beer distributors to do co-promotions and events in store.”

Paul and Michael Childers, owners of two Savannah locations of Your Pie, pair their pizza with local craft beers and host tastings and meet and greets with representatives of local breweries to connect with their customers.

“Local craft beers will certainly add an attraction if their name is well-known and they are widely accepted locally. Offering a local craft beer from a local brewery can often assist in building customer recognition for both parties — the brewery and the restaurant,” says Alan Guinn, managing director of The Guinn Consultancy Group, Inc.

Craft beer is a vital part of Brixx Wood Fired Pizza and its Master of Beers Appreciation Program is promoted by table tents, in-store posters and staff.

“One of the best ways to increase bar sales is to do something unusual,” says Joel Cohen of Restaurant Marketing.com. “Create colorful, eye-appealing drinks. Create special drink names after holidays, celebrities and special events. For example, if your team is in the Super Bowl, create a drink named after the team. The challenge is that you can do what everyone else does, boring, or create wow positive reactions with your drink that become memorable to your customers.”

Presenting suggestions to your customers whether on the menu or through your staff will go a long way in promoting your list.

“When people go out to eat, they don’t want to think. Menu pairing is suggestive selling. Example: ‘Pairs great with Guinness Stout,’” says Phil Diegelman, director of operations for Restaurant Republic in Arcadia, California. “Servers can do suggestive selling. Allow them to recommend pairings or let the customer pick and then the server can steer the customer to pick a dish that goes with that drink. The server is suggestive selling in a genuine way.”

According to Ellish, the seller plays a huge role in whether a guest is going to order a beverage other than water.  “Don’t look at it like an up sell. When a server is well-trained and knowledgeable about food, it’s amazing how many times people will order what they suggested,” Ellish says.

EO of Louisiana and New Orleans Chamber Present… Warren Ellish

Reserve Your Table for EO Louisiana and the New Orleans Chamber’s Third Quarter Business Luncheon & Entrepreneur’s Expo on August 22nd!

EO Lousiana & New Orleans Chamber of Commerce

Join Entrepreneur Organization of Louisiana and the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce on August 22nd for our third quarter business luncheon series.

Our keynote speaker F. Warren Ellish is President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group and Senior Lecturer at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. Named “Marketing 100 – the superstars of US marketing” by Advertising Age, he will discuss The Three Critical Steps to Positioning Your Product or Service Into a World Class Brand. To read his full bio please click here. An Entrepreneur’s Expo will be held prior to the luncheon. Entrepreneurs from all sectors are encouraged to exhibit their products or services! The Expo is free and open to the public.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

9:30 am – 11:30 am: Entrepreneur’s Expo 

11:00 am: Luncheon Registration opens

12:00 noon – 1:00 pm: Program & Lunch

Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Versailles Ballroom, 3rd Floor

2 Poydras Street at The Mississippi River

New Orleans, LA 70130

 

6 Tips to Make Your Business Sizzle: Bar IQ

 

Nightclub & Bar MagazineBy: Alissa Ponchione

For owners to be successful, they first and foremost have to differentiate their business from the bars and nightclubs down the street. Warren Ellish, president and CEO of Denver-based Ellish Marketing Group, explains that once this is achieved, then an owner can propel that into sustained interest from loyal customers.

It’s the people, the staff, the products and services, and food and drinks that can set a great business apart from a mediocre one. “You need to do all of those things really well, but that just gets you in the business,” he says. One, two or three of those things need to make people remember you. “It could be the place, the people, the product or service, but they have to be at extremely good levels to begin with.”

Ellish told Bar IQ six more tips on how to make a business sizzle and stay on top.

1. Know Who You Are. To establish what kind of business you want to be, you need to give potential customers an idea of “what’s behind those four walls,” Ellish explains. “Who’s the target market for your brand? It’s not a demographic as much as it’s an emotional mindset. What do they need or want?” For those people, it’s about what makes your business different from other establishments, he says. People won’t come because of good food, drinks and affordable prices alone. “If owners don’t have an idea about what makes their place unique and different … then there’s no real reason [for a guest] to become loyal to your place,” he says.

2. Control Your Message. What can you do to really make your establishment stand out? Ellish says it starts with gaining some perspective and figuring out what you can do as a business owner that other people aren’t doing.  Once you find what makes you different, “tell people about it when they come in,” he says. “They’ll notice it and talk about it and come back.” If you properly define your brand, then people will begin to refer to your brand in that way. “What people say about the brand you can control,” he says.

3. Promotions Work. Promotions are very important, Ellish says. “It’s a means to get people in and try your place,” but also if people come in and like the promotion, they’ll know that you deliver on what you’re trying sell. “Promotions have a strong return on investment. Ellish also advises not to use discounts, because that doesn’t build repeat customers. Use incentives versus just discounting, he says.

4. Be Innovative. Ellish says it can be as simple as focusing on the ice you use with drinks. “People are using different types of ice that allows the mixology to stand out,” he says. Ice coupled with a good recipe and glassware will make a bar or club stand out. “It’s not just the beverage the glass. I can get the same cocktail or Martini or glass of wine in hundreds of places. What is it that’s making your wine, Martini or cocktail different?”

5. Think Outside The Box. Ellish says not to feel confined by traditional methods of marketing, but advises to use a combination of things. “Suburban locations do different things than urban locations.” However, the main objective is being able to communicate to guests and know what they expect. “Whether you’re using social media or flyers, it’s important to tell that story,” he says. “It’s best to tell it visually. Show people what they can expect or what it’s going to be like with a few words.”

6. Cater To Women. Ellish says one thing he always finds interesting is that bars and nightclubs market to the male audience in hopes that females will follow. “Most don’t cater to what women want. They’re focusing on the needs and wants of the male audience over the female audience.” If your bar is filled with women the men will follow.

Building Your Brand: Warren Ellish contributes feature story to the Publican Magazine Winter 2012 issue

 

Is your beverage licensee brand strategically positioned with its message clearly communicated? Are you sure?

You don’t have to embark on a lengthy and expensive consumer research study to find out if your beverage licensee brand is strategically positioned with its message clearly communicated. Just try this quick and easy exercise. You may be surprised by what you learn.

Ask each member of your management team, each member of your marketing organization, and key external strategic and creative resources to answer the following three questions:

  1. 1.    What business is your brand in? Your “frame of reference”.
  2. 2.    What is the “target market” for your brand?
  3. 3.    What are the “points of difference” for your brand? Note: List no more than three.

Analyze your results. If you observe either or both of the following, your brand positioning can most definitely be strengthened:

  • Significant inconsistency in the answers to most if not all of the above three questions.
  • “Points of difference” that are really “points of similarity” to your competition or simply “points of entry” in your business – and not pre-emptive, ownable and defendable attributes that are important to your target market.

Successfully identifying and securing a powerful brand positioning is of critical importance to every brand. It is crucial to anyone who wants to influence other people, whether you are promoting a product, a service, a cause, a candidate, an organization, an institution or even yourself and your own career. Positioning will aid in getting your desired message across to the people you want to reach and making an impression that lasts. Positioning is the way in which you want the consumer to think about your business (products and services) relative to competing brands. It is the most basic of all strategic statements, provides the blueprint for the marketing and development of the brand, and focuses the efforts of all those involved in brand activities.

Without a concise brand positioning statement with a competitive “point of difference” and complete management alignment behind this positioning, it will be difficult to communicate a clear and meaningful message about your brand. A brand must make a strong impression that lasts and translates into profitable sales and long-term growth.

What are the three critical elements of a brand positioning statement?

1 – Target Market: Composed of consumers considered to be good potential users for your product/service. Don’t think demographically. Think about what the similar set of needs and/or concerns are which motivate this group of consumers’ purchase behavior.

2 – Frame of Reference: Describes the consumer grouping of like products or services (or competing brands) with which your product or service competes.  It is easy to think about this as “what business are you in”. Make sure you consider all of the options that a consumer has available to satisfy a specific need.

3 – Point of Difference: The specific consumer benefit that you want consumers to associate most readily with your product or service. What does your brand do that no other brand does as well and that your target cares about?  Why should your target value your brand?

Don’t let a point of similarity become your point of difference. One of the critical steps in developing a powerful brand positioning is to identify your brands point of difference – – the specific consumer benefit which you want consumers to associate most readily with your product or service. So when defining your brands point of difference, don’t let a point of similarity become your point of difference. So often I see this. 

When speaking recently to industry audiences on branding and brand positioning (National Restaurant Association, International Franchise Association National Convention, Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Leadership Conference) or to the executive teams of clients, I ask three short questions: How many of your grew up wanting to be average? Or just like everyone else? Or of good quality? Rarely do I see any hands or much of a positive response. However, many brand leaders are perfectly OK about making their brands just like this – – average and just like everyone else.

Many of the items that are an integral part of your product/service but are not preemptive, ownable and defendable become points of entry into your competitive set and are nothing more than points of similarity. Yes, they are all important to your product or service and in many cases you must deliver on these flawlessly just to be in business. But this is not what sets you apart, not a reason a customer should or will choose to use your brand over competitor brands, and most definitely this is not a reason for them to ever become a brand advocate.

A brand is not a mark. A brand leaves a mark. Believe it or not, your customers do not really care about your brands’ name, your logo, or your tag line. What they do care about is who your brand is, what it stands for, what your brand offers and why your brand is different. People want to love brands. They want to feel amazing about using your brand. So stop worrying about the name of your brand, your logo or your tag line.  Focus you attention on clearly positioning your brand and gaining complete management alignment behind that positioning. The end result will be the development of a concise positioning statement, agreed upon by your core management team.

Properly position your brand and you will be in good company. I’ve worked with hundreds of global, national, regional and local brands including many restaurants, bars, wine and spirits retailers, brewers, wineries and distillers – – all using a disciplined approach to developing a clearly defined brand positioning statement. Each of these clients that focused their attention on brand positioning have reaped the benefits of their efforts.

Your Restaruant As a Brand: Interview on Branding and Brand Positioning with Warren Ellish on Foodservice Radio, the new streaming 24-hour internet radio station programmed for restaurant and food service operators launched at the National Restaurant Show.

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.

To listen to the complete interview visit Food Service Radio or at iTunes.

Excerpts from the interview:

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 anyone wants the consumer to think about their 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 of any brand 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 that 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.

Don’t Let A Point Of Similarity Become Your Point Of Difference

Successfully identifying and securing a powerful brand positioning is of critical importance to every brand. It is helpful to anyone who wants to influence other people. Whether you are promoting a product, a service, a cause, a candidate, an organization, an institution or even yourself and your own career. Positioning will aid in getting your desired message across to the people you want to reach and make an impression that lasts.

One of the critical steps in developing a powerful brand positioning is to identify your brands point of difference – – the specific consumer benefit which you want consumers to associate most readily with your product or service. What does your brand do that no one else’s brand does as well and that your target cares about?

When defining your brands point of difference, don’t let a point of similarity become your point of difference. So often I see this. 

When speaking recently to industry audiences on branding and brand positioning (National Restaurant Association Show, International Franchise Association National Convention and Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Leadership Conference) or to the executive teams of clients, I ask three short questions: How many of your grew up wanting to be average? Or just like everyone else? Or of good quality? Rarely do I see any hands or much of a positive response. However, many brand leaders are perfectly OK about making their brands just like this – – average, just like everyone else and good.

Many of the items that are an integral part of your product/service but are not preemptive, ownable and defendable become points of entry into your competitive set and are nothing more than points of similarity. Yes, they are all important to your product or service and in many cases you must deliver on these flawlessly just to be in business. But this is not what sets you apart, not a reason a customer should or will choose to use your brand over competitor brands, and most definitely this is not a reason for them to ever become a brand advocate.

For more information on how to quickly and affordably position and brand your business to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, visit www.ellishmarketing.com, or reach Warren directly at 303-762-0360 or .

Cornell Johnson Senior Lecturer Provides Branding Expertise to Attendees of Annual National Restaurant Association Show

Warren Ellish explores “the three critical steps” of brand positioning with restaurant industry conference attendees today, at the 2012 National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show. Cornell University’s Johnson Senior Lecturer of Marketing, Warren Ellish, President and CEO of the Ellish Marketing Group, presented a 90-minute session on brand positioning to restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, franchisees, and culinary professionals, among other restaurant industry conference attendees.

An expert on brand positioning, Ellish, ‘77, MBA ‘78, has more than 30 years of client and consulting experience. His his talk, “Three Steps to Positioning Your Restaurant into a World-Class Brand,” detailed the importance of positioning a brand through “points of difference” and aligning all other brand aspects behind its positioning.

As the National Restaurant Association forecasts a record-high $600 billion in sales for 2012, restaurants are increasingly seeking to leverage increased growth and augment their brands.

During his sold-out presentation, Ellish explained the elements of a positioning statement—a brief description of what a business does and how it does it differently and better than its competitors. He encouraged audience members to apply this to their own restaurants or businesses and to reflect on what their unique differentiators may be.

Part of Ellish’s educational session also included a simple test to help participants determine if their brands are strategically positioned and how they can analyze the results to strengthen their brands.

“Without a concise brand positioning statement with a competitive ‘point of difference’ and complete management alignment behind that positioning, it will be difficult to communicate a clear and meaningful message about your brand,” Ellish noted in a branding document provided to session attendees.

Illuminating key brand positioning opportunities for attendees, Ellish drew on his own restaurant and packaged goods marketing experience. Ellish was a founding partner and VP of Marketing for Boston Chicken, where he was a member of the core start-up executive team and led the brand through its conversion to Boston Market.

Ellish brings his experience to the MBA classroom at S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, teaching in the Strategic Marketing Immersion program and product management class. He founded and hosts the Marketing Executive One-On-One Coaching Program, now in its fifth year. At this annual event, top-level marketing executives spend two days at Johnson, meeting with and coaching MBA students preparing for careers in marketing.

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