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.