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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.

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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.

Marketing Your Local Business: Make Sure Potential Customers Can FInd You On-line

Warren Ellish, President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group is featured as a guest blogger in Thomas Paige International’s Leadership Insights. Five great thought leadership blogs from industry experts are highlighted.  Check out all of the blogs from Joleen Goronkin, Rick Van Warner, Rob Grimes, Tom Spry and Warren Ellish.

Check out Warren’s guest blog at: http://thomaspaige.net/marketing-your-local-business-make-sure-potential-customers-can-find-you-on-line/

Marketing Your Local Business: Make Sure Potential Customers Can Find You On-line

It is so common today to see local businesses of all types focusing on social media and generating “likes” for their business on their Facebook page, followers for their business on LinkedIn or Twitter and forgetting all about optimizing their primary on-line vehicle, their website. And when they do think about their website, they are worrying about what the website looks like and not on how it performs.

If you have a local business and are trying to generate new customers, patients or guests, it will be difficult to do so if they don’t know you exist, know little or nothing about you, have no idea where you are located or how they might do business with you.

Building a properly developed website is of critical importance to establishing an on-line presence and should be your primary area of focus.

Here are 12 tips on developing a website that performs — where you will be on the first page of relevant searches and in many cases at the top of the pages.

1. Set objectives for what you want your website to accomplish

While it is important how your website looks, it is even more important how it works. I hope the objective is not to “look cool” (or something like that), but rather to allow people looking for your type of goods or services to easily find you and learn something about your business and how you can help them.

2. Develop a strategy for your message

Your communication strategy should link directly to your brand positioning. Your target audience should be able to relate easily to your website and understand what business you are in and what your point of difference from your competition is. You must also identify what specific web pages are appropriate and needed to implement your strategy.

3. Start with a powerful domain name for your type of business and geographic location (and it is not usually the name of your business)

Select a domain name that combines the business you are in, your geographical area and an adjective that people would use when conducting their search. For example, if you were a dentist in New York or an Italian restaurant in Alpharetta, effective domain names might be NewYorksBestDentist.com and PopularAlpharettaItalianRestaurants.com.

4. Use a design platform that is not proprietary to the company that builds your website

You want the freedom to be able to move your site hosting and development wherever and whenever you desire, and you should be able to make simple updates and enhancements to your site by yourself. WordPress is a great free platform to consider.

5. Build the website around Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Define search terms (combinations of words) that you think someone looking for your business would type into his or her search browser. Then develop unique META (title, description and keywords) for each page of the site. Make sure to follow a strict character count for each; too many will negatively affect your search results.

6. Integrate Social Media into your website

Design Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and a blog into your site when applicable and when it fits comfortably. Remember that if you integrate with a social source, you need to have a presence on a regular basis to be relevant. And make sure your employees are aware of and engaged with your social efforts.

7. Build your website to be mobile and tablet friendly (across platforms)

Make sure people can use your site no matter where and how they link to the Internet.

8. Generate online reviews and link them to your website

Ask current customers, patients and guests to write reviews for your business. Postings to Google Places and other local review sites will boost your search ranking. Offer easy links to these different review sites within your own website and boost your ranking even further.

9. Establish yourself with Google Places

Make sure you sign your business up with Google Places (which will become linked to your site).

10. Optimize before going live and posting your website

Don’t trust a company developing your site that tells you once the site “looks good” to go live and post your site and then they will work on content, META, SEO optimization etc. Optimize everything before going live.

11. Keep your website current

Once you launch your site, your work is not over. Good sites that rank high constantly enhance their content and coding.

12. Track and learn from your website

Be sure to use some form of analytics tracking built into each page of your site. Google Analytics is a great free option. If you have a business that generates call inquiries or requires reservations or appointments, utilize a unique phone tracking number on your website that will allow you to track responses accurately. You can even have the calls, forwarded from this unique tracking number, recorded for training purposes.

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

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