Posts tagged retail marketing

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

Position your brand to gain a competitive advantage

By Krista McNamara

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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.

Buffets, Inc. Names Philip Friedman And Warren Ellish To Board Of Directors With Focus On Brand Turnaround

EAGAN, Minn., Dec. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Buffets, Inc. has appointed seasoned restaurant executive Philip Friedman and highly accomplished marketing executive F. Warren Ellish to its Board of Directors, thereby completing the new seven-member board of directors formed after the company emerged from bankruptcy.  Both executives possess over 30 years of restaurant industry experience and each has held leadership positions at growth and turnaround brands in the restaurant and hospitality industries.  The appointments are effective immediately.

“These are true leaders with proven track records of success,” said Rob Webster, Chairman of the Board of Buffets, Inc.  “Both Warren and Phil have the practical knowledge of what it takes to turn around and grow a brand, and they understand the need for strong corporate governance.  We are pleased to add them to our board of directors, and are excited for the future of our organization with their support and expertise.”

Philip Friedman
Philip Friedman currently serves as Chairman and CEO of Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, an 85-location casual Mexican restaurant chain he acquired in 2011, and as President of P. Friedman & Associates, Inc., a strategic planning and management consulting company he founded in 1986.  Friedman previously served as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of McAlister’s Corporation, a quick casual concept he acquired along with a group of investors in 1999.  During his tenure, McAlister’s grew from 27 to 300 restaurants in 22 states. In 2005, Friedman led the successful sale of McAlister’s Corporation to Roark Capital Group.

Friedman was awarded Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2009 Golden Chain Award honoree for his success with McAlister’s and The International Foodservice Manufacturers’ Association’s Silver Plate award for his enduring and outstanding achievements in the Chain Restaurant Full Service category.  He was also honored by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) as a Cornerstone Humanitarianfor leading McAlister’s in outstanding community involvement.  He received an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, as well as a MA in Political Science and a BA in History from the University of Connecticut. Friedman serves on the Board of Directors for Diversified Restaurants, Boudin Bakeries & Restaurants and Silver Diner Corporation as well as on the boards of the National and Mississippi Restaurant Associations.

“Phil will help us deliver on our brand vision of offering real food and real choices, while creating real connections with our guests,” said Anthony Wedo, Buffets, Inc. Chief Executive Officer.

F. Warren Ellish
F. Warren Ellish is a senior marketing executive with extensive experience in consumer products, restaurants and retailing. Ellish has been responsible for successfully positioning hundreds of well-known brands and has a track record of delivering outsized returns in competitive industries.  In 1995, Ellish founded his own marketing consulting company, Ellish Marketing Group LLC, and for the past 17 years has been advising the senior leadership of numerous leading brands and companies from a strategic marketing perspective.  Prior to forming Ellish Marketing Group, he served as a founding partner and Vice President of Marketing for Boston Chicken, Inc. (Boston Market), where he helped create a new brand in the “home meal replacement” retail category.  Ellish also served as Vice President of Marketing and an executive committee member for Red Lobster Restaurants (Darden), Vice President of Marketing for Luzianne Blue Plate Foods, and other senior marketing positions with Burger King Corporation, Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo.  Ellish was also named to Advertising Age’s “Marketing 100 – The Superstars of US Marketing.”

Ellish received both his BS and MBA from Cornell University, where he currently serves as a member of the marketing faculty at the SC Johnson Graduate School of Management.

“I have known Warren for 20 years and have seen his track record of repeated successes first hand,” Wedo said.  “He has helped launch start ups and driven brand turnarounds.  I know that his breadth of experience will be extremely helpful as we move this brand forward.”

Friedman and Ellish will serve alongside current 2012 Buffets, Inc. Board Members: Chairman Rob Webster, CEO Anthony Wedo, David Merritt, Todd Brown and Santino Blumetti.

About Buffets, Inc.
Buffets, Inc., the nation’s largest steak-buffet restaurant company, currently operates 347 restaurants in 35 states, comprised of 337 steak-buffet restaurants and 10 Tahoe Joe’s Famous Steakhouse restaurants.  The restaurants are principally operated under the Old Country Buffet®, HomeTown® Buffet, Ryan’s® and Fire® Mountain brands.  Buffets employs approximately 18,000 team members and serves approximately 100 million customers annually.  For more information about Buffets, Inc., visit online at www.Buffet.com.

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 .

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 .

Franchise Direct Interview With Cornell’s Warren Ellish

If you’re interested in brand positioning or branding, you may have come across the work of Warren Ellish, a renowned practitioner and speaker on brand positioning and branding, a faculty member at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and the President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group. Mr. Ellish will be presenting his thoughts on brand positioning at the IFA Convention February 13, 2012 (a week from today) at 10:15AM, and we thought it might be a good opportunity to ask him a few questions about brand positioning and branding as well as his thoughts on the session he’ll be presenting at #IFA2012.  Full interview at: http://www.franchisedirect.com/blog/franchise-direct-interview-with-cornells-warren-ellish/

Marketing: Brand Positioning – Is your brand strategically positioned with its message clearly communicated?

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

The effective development of brand positioning for any brand will aid in getting your desired message across and make 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.

You don’t have to embark on a lengthy and expensive consumer research study to find out. Just try this quick and easy exercise. You may be surprised by what you learn.

Ask each of your direct reports, each member of your marketing organization, and key external strategic and creative resources (including key consultants and all ad agency team members) to answer the following three questions:

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

Analyze your results (or have the submissions sent to me and I will analyze them for you). 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.

I understand that you and your team know your business better than any outside consultant, marketing or advertising company does. Where I can assist you is by starting with my proprietary one-day positioning methodology, working directly with you and members of your team, to clearly state and communicate the core elements of a successful positioning for your brand. The end result will be the development of a concise positioning statement, agreed upon by your core management team that reflects the following three elements:

  • Target market (the customers you are marketing your products/services to)
  • Frame of Reference/Competitive set (what business you are in)
  • Point(s) of difference (the specific consumer benefit that is preemptive, ownable and defendable that you want consumers to associate most readily with your products/services).

The positioning statement will be summarized into the following format:

To _______________ (Market Target), Brand X is the brand of  _________________ (Frame of Reference) that is/that offers ________________ (Point of Difference).

Your brand will be in good company. I’ve used this approach to successfully position hundreds of well-known brands for a diverse group of companies, from Fortune 500’s to start-ups and turnarounds. Our positioning work includes international, national, regional and local brands across many industries.

You can also hear me speak more about “The Three Critical Steps to Positioning Your Franchise or Restaurant Into a World-Class Brand” at the upcoming International Franchise Association (IFA) Convention in Orlando, FL on February 13th and at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show in Chicago, IL on May 7th.

For more information on how to quickly and affordably properly position your brand to compete successfully in today’s competitive marketplace visit www.ellishmarketing.com, or reach me directly at 303-762-0360 or warren.ellish@ellishmarketing.com.

Meyer & Lydiatt Family Dentistry Chooses Ellish Marketing Group as Agency of Record

Ellish Marketing Group (EMG), a leading authority on brand positioning and marketing to a wide range of businesses including restaurants, dental practices, retailers and consumer product companies, announced that Meyer & Lydiatt Family Dentistry, Colorado Springs’ premier dental practice, has chosen Ellish Marketing Group as marketing and advertising agency of record. EMG will manage branding, marketing and advertising for the practice.

Meyer & Lydiatt Family Dentistry has been serving the dental needs of families in Colorado Springs since 1980. Doctors Roger Meyer and John Lydiatt bring fifty years of personalized professional experience in putting smiles on patients” faces. The practice is located at 6665 Delmonico Drive (Suite C) at the southeast corner of E. Rockrimmon Boulevard and Delmonico Road – just one mile west of I-25 and Woodmen Road.

“We are excited to have Ellish Marketing Group put their proven marketing approach to generating high-quality new patients for our practice while also building our brand as the premier Colorado Springs dental practice,” says Dr. Roger Meyer. Partner Dr. John Lydiatt added, “After having spent time with Warren Ellish and seeing first hand the depth of experience and the track record of successes he has had, we are pleased to have Ellish Marketing Group spearhead our efforts to grow our dental practice professionally and profitably.”

“Meyer & Lydiatt Family Dentistry is a great dental brand and an established member of the Colorado Springs community,” said President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group, Warren Ellish. “We look forward to developing a strategic marketing communication plan and to generating new high-quality patients in just a matter of weeks – and then every month for many years to come.”

Read the press release here.

Ellish Marketing Group Announces Launch of New Website; Brings a New Approach to Being Social and Showcasing Client Successes

Ellish Marketing Group (EMG), a leading authority on brand positioning and marketing to a wide range of businesses including restaurants, dental practices, retailers and consumer product companies, today announced the launch of its new website at www.ellishmarketing.com. The new website will be available on all traditional and mobile platforms.

The new EMG website contains over a dozen success stories featuring examples of positioning brands to effectively compete in today’s competitive marketplace, identifying breakthrough consumer insights, launching new concepts and products, and revitalizing turnaround businesses.

Marketing speaker Warren Ellish, a well-respected practitioner and lecturer on the topic of brand positioning (Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management faculty), who is personally responsible for developing the brand positioning for hundreds of well-known international, domestic, regional and local brands is also featured in the website. His upcoming speaking engagements at the International Franchise Association Convention, the National Restaurant Association Show and at top business schools are highlighted.

“The new Ellish Marketing Group website clearly communicates our marketing and consulting core practice areas and discusses the successes we have had with our clients using our Six-Point Approach of positioning, focusing, planning, developing, executing and evaluating,” said Warren Ellish Founder, President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group. “Our internally developed website brings a new approach to websites being social.”

Special thanks go out to EMG team members Jim, Jeff, Jason (our three J’s) and Lauren for making the new site a reality.

Read the press release here.

Check it out – New website launched

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Today marks the launch of our new website at www.ellishmarketing.com. Please check out the new website and let us know what you think.

As a leading authority on brand positioning and marketing to a wide range of businesses including restaurants, dental practices, retailers and consumer product companies, we will be blogging on subjects relevant to these core practice areas.

The new EMG website contains over a dozen success stories featuring examples of positioning brands to effectively compete in today’s competitive marketplace, identifying breakthrough consumer insights,  launching new concepts and products, and revitalizing turnaround businesses.

Marketing speaker Warren Ellish, a well-respected practitioner and lecturer on the topic of brand positioning (Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management faculty), who is personally responsible for developing the brand positioning for hundreds of well-known international, domestic, regional and local brands is also featured in the website. His upcoming speaking engagements at the International Franchise Association Convention, the National Restaurant Association Show and at top business schools are highlighted.

“The new Ellish Marketing Group website clearly communicates our marketing and consulting core practice areas and discusses the successes we have had with our clients using our Six-Point Approach of positioning, focusing, planning, developing, executing and evaluating,” said Warren Ellish Founder, President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group. “Our internally developed website brings a new approach to websites being social.”

Special thanks go out to the EMG team of Jim, Jeff, Jason (our three J’s) and Lauren for making the new site a reality.

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