Posts tagged marketing consulting

Restaurant & Franchise Branding Expert Weighs in on Wendy’s: Embrace Change – But Don’t Try To Be Everything To Everyone In Hopes Of Broadening Your Customer Reach

Soccer Shots, the #1Children’s Fitness Franchise Program, Undergoes Brand Positioning Work with Ellish Marketing Group

Soccer Shots BrandingSoccer Shots, The Children’s Soccer Experience and the #1 Children’s Fitness Franchise Program, selected Ellish Marketing Group (the leading franchise and restaurant branding consultants) to work with their management leadership team, Franchise Presidents Council and Franchise Brand Strategy team to develop a strategically focused brand positioning for the brand.  The end result of the work undertaken will be laser focused brand positioning and complete alignment behind the branding by management and the franchise system.

 

Soccer Shots Brand PositioningThe new brand positioning was unveiled during the 2014 national franchise convention in Chicago.

Restaurant & Franchise Branding Consultant, Ellish Marketing Group, Completes Brand Positioning Work for Regional Pizza Chain Blackjack Pizza®

Askar Brands operator of multiple quick service and casual dining restaurants across the nation including Papa Romano’s, Papa’s Pizza To-Go, Breadeaux Pizza, Blackjack Pizza, Mr. Pita, Stucchi’s Ice Cream, CJ’s Brewing Company and Big Al’s Sports Grill, selected Ellish Marketing Group, international restaurant and franchise consultants, to work with the management team and franchise leadership team of Blackjack Pizza to define the brands brand positioning.

Askar Brands provides word class support to all of their brands by providing management, marketing, training and operations materials to allow their franchisees to focus on their execution and customer retention.  The development of a pre-emptive, ownable and defendable brand positioning for Blackjack is consistent with their philosophy.  The end result of the brand positioning work from Ellish Marketing Group will be a more focused and more competitive pizza brand.

Warren Ellish to Address IFA 2014 Emerging Franchisor Conference

Warren Ellish Franchise and Restaurant SpeakerWarren Ellish, President & CEO of Ellish Marketing Group and Senior Lecturer at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management will be the opening speaker at the International Franchise Association 2014 Emerging Franchisor Conference. The convention will be held on November 18, 2014  in Dallas, Texas at the Sheraton Hotel.  Warren will address “The Three Critical Steps to Positioning Your Emerging Franchise Into a World-Class Brand.”

The IFA Emerging Franchisor Conference is designed for franchise operations executives, CEOs, COOs, Presidents, franchise development executives, franchise marketing experts, franchise relations specialists and anyone responsible for the growth and efficient operation of their franchise system. The conference is specifically designed to address challenges and opportunities unique to franchise systems who are looking to grow. This is a prime networking and educational conference for franchisors that are ready to take their systemInternational Franchise Association to the next level. This program will feature franchise leaders sharing what they learned when they were trying to build their brand. Attendees will hear motivational stories, expert tips and proven strategies that helped them attract new franchisees, build brand recognition and a loyal customer base, increase productivity while streamlining operations. Simply put, this is a must-attend event!

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 .

Pleased To Be a Part of The Restaurant Industry As It Continues to Benefit From An Improving Economy

Restaurant Job Growth Remains Broad-Based and Robust in 2014

Restaurant Job Growth Remains Broad-Based and Robust in 2014 Restaurant Job Growth Remains Broad-Based and Robust in 2014Washington DC  (RestaurantNews.com)  The National Restaurant Association‘s Chief Economist Bruce Grindy breaks down the latest employment trends:  “The national labor market continued to heat up in June, with restaurants remaining among the strongest growth sectors.  According to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national economy added a net 288,000 jobs in June on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the fifth consecutive month with gains of at least 200,000 jobs. “In total, the national economy added nearly 1.4 million jobs during the first half of 2014, the strongest six-month performance in more than eight years. “Restaurants continued to be among the leaders in job growth, with the industry adding a net 32,800 jobs in June and more than 173,000 jobs during the first six months of the year.  Overall, restaurant employment was up 3.1 percent on a year-to-date basis through June 2014, nearly double the 1.7 percent gain in total U.S. employment. “Job growth within the restaurant industry has been broad-based in 2014, just as it has been throughout the post-recession period.  On a year-to-date basis through May 2014 (segment-level figures are lagged by one month), quickservice restaurants added jobs at a strong 4.0 percent rate.  This puts the quickservice segment on pace to post job growth of at least 4 percent for the third consecutive year. “The fullservice segment added jobs at a 2.9 percent rate through the first five months of 2014.  While this is down somewhat from the consecutive 3.4 percent gains registered in 2012 and 2013, fullservice employment gains remain well above job growth in the overall economy. “Meanwhile, the snack and nonalcoholic beverage bar segment – which includes concepts such as coffee, donut and ice cream shops – added jobs at a robust 6.1 percent rate on a year-to-date basis through May 2014.  If this trend continues, it would represent this segment’s strongest growth since 2007, as well as the third consecutive year with employment gains above 5 percent. “Look for these positive growth trends to continue through the remainder of the year, as the restaurant industry continues to benefit from an improving economy and stronger consumer sentiment.” Read more from the Economist’s Notebook. For additional analysis of restaurant industry trends, log on to Restaurant TrendMapper at Restaurant.org/Trendmapper (subscription required). Restaurant Job Growth Remains Broad-Based and Robust in 2014 Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 990,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13.5 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry’s largest trade show (NRA Show May 16-19, 2015, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF’s ProStart); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids’ menu options. For more information, visit www.restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurantsFacebook andYouTube.

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.

Soccer Shots Selects Warren Ellish to Keynote 10th Annual Franchise Convention

_DSC4454Warren Ellish, President & CEO of Ellish Marketing Group and Senior Lecturer at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management will be the keynote speaker at the 10th annual Soccer Shots National Fracnhise Convention. The convention will be held on Saturday July 19, 2014  in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place.  Warren’s keynote will address “The Three Critical Steps to Positioning Your Franchise Into a World-Class Brand.”

Soccer Shots is the leader in youth soccer development for children ages 2-8. Their nationally recognized program offers a high energy, fun, age-appropriate introduction to the wonderful game of soccer. Their innovative curriculum emphasizes both soccer skills and character development. Their goal is simple: “to leave a lasting, positive impact on every child we serve”.

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.

Warren Ellish, restaurant branding expert weights in on Wahlburgers

Stars Align at Wahlburgers

QSR Magazine

Celebrity-owned concept looks to stand on its own as a premier burger destination.

As Wahlburgers, a burger concept founded by actors Mark and Donnie Wahlberg and their brother Paul, readies its first franchise openings this year, the management team is hoping to capitalize on the publicity created by the famous owners and a popular A&E Network reality show, “Wahlburgers,” that chronicles the company’s inner workings.

But while many celebrities have been drawn to the restaurant business and their fame has been an asset in creating initial buzz, Wahlburgers’ executives are determined to avoid the celebrity trap that has doomed many quick-service brands.

“I’ve seen a lot of celebrity concepts flame out because the focus was put on celebrity and not enough on quality,” says Rich Vanzura, Wahlburgers’ CEO. “The show will drive trial; after that, it’s up to us to deliver a great experience.”

Vanzura, who was formerly COO of Panera Bread, says Wahlburgers has all of the elements to be a long-lived venture. The culinary acumen of Paul Wahlberg, who owns and manages fine-dining establishment Alma Nove across the street from Wahlburgers’ flagship site in Hingham, Massachusetts, is one key element. So is Vanzura, who wanted an opportunity to helm a business and took a chance on the upstart Wahlburgers because of its unique attributes.

Quick service chain Wahlburgers owned by celebrity Mark Wahlberg.“The combination of celebrity and Paul’s ability as a chef is what attracted me,” Vanzura says.

“People get tired of themed restaurants. We wanted a place where people would come even if there wasn’t a Wahlberg association.”

While Wahlburgers does leverage the family’s fame inside the restaurant, nods to celebrity are ultimately subdued, he says.

“We didn’t want a carnival-like atmosphere with a lot of memorabilia,” he says. “People get tired of themed restaurants. We wanted a place where people would come even if there wasn’t a Wahlberg association.”

The interior design includes iconic elements reflecting the Wahlbergs’ story: a family history posted on the back wall, a die-cut ceiling element highlighting Mark and Donnie Wahlberg’s movies, and a career highlight reel running on a TV over the bar. The menus include notes about the brothers’ favorite offerings with “language that reflects their wit,” Vanzura says.

The management team spent two years developing and refining the Wahlburgers concept. The menu features several burger, sandwich, and salad options, while distinctive menu items include alcoholic frappes; sweet potato tots; a custom blend of ground beef consisting of short rib, brisket, and chuck; “Wahl Sauce,” a topping created by Paul Wahlberg; and a macaroni side dish from a recipe created by family matriarch Alma Wahlberg.

Warren Ellish, president and CEO of Denver-based Ellish Marketing Group, says Mark and Donnie Wahlberg’s fame and regular brand exposure from the TV show are clear assets for Wahlburgers, but he cautions that they also create risks.

“Celebrity ownership could set up expectations for visitors that don’t get met,” he says. “Customers may expect to see celebrity owners in the place, but as you expand, the potential for that piece of the experience disappears quickly.”

There’s also a danger that the reality show could backfire, Ellish says. What makes for good TV viewing isn’t always good for a brand. “Drama is not necessarily good,” Ellish says. “Some episodes of ‘Undercover Boss’ have resulted in negative stories.” It does help that Donnie and Mark co-produce the show, he says, but in order to keep ratings up, they can’t shy away from conflicts and missteps that may come with launching a new brand.

Branding consultant Lori Moretti, principal with Boston-based CM Communications, which has worked with Wahlburgers in the past, believes the benefits of the show far outweigh the risks. “Authenticity plays well,” she says. “People like to know what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Wahlburgers will grow via area development agreements in which a single franchisee has exclusive rights to a regional market. Would-be franchisees need $5–$10 million of liquid net worth to be considered, Vanzura says, and must be committed to maintaining high quality and building a lasting brand.

The budding chain plans to open sites within the next 12 months in the Fenway area of Boston; at a mixed-use development with anchor Whole Foods in suburban Lynnfield, Massachusetts; and at Toronto’s SoHo Metropolitan Hotel. A deal is also in the works for Philadelphia, Vanzura says, while other markets, including Los Angeles, are in the management team’s sights.

The brand has a lot of potential for growth, Ellish says, but there are some cautionary flags that executives will have to work on as they grow.

“Their tag line, ‘Our family, our story, our burgers,’ is defining the business about themselves, not about their customers,” he says. “Also, the brand hasn’t really defined a point of differentiation in the burger segment. These are the things they have to figure out.”

BurgersWahlburgersGrowth,Fast Casual

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