Elevating your BrandAug 01, 2023
The concept of elevating your brand is something we hear talked about more and more as the hospitality industry emerges from Covid-19.
Customers are demanding a cohesive brand and a craveable product. Customers don’t just want convenience, they want to understand what makes your business unique.
In other words, they want to know WHY they should choose you rather than the competition.
But for many in our industry, the idea of elevating our brand seems foreign. Afterall, it is enough just to provide a repeatable product at a fair price.
So the idea of going beyond that, to truly ELEVATING our brand seems nearly impossible.
Afterall, who knew that part of being an entrepreneur also meant needing a crash course in marketing?
Welcome to 2023.
In truth the concept of elevating our brand isn’t just about marketing. It is about building an enduring reputation that resonates with our customer for the long term.
I believe elevating your brand involves strategically enhancing its reputation, visibility, and perceived value. Here are some steps to help you elevate your brand:
- Clarify Your Brand Identity: Clearly define your brand's mission, values, and unique qualities. Understand what sets your brand apart from competitors and communicate it consistently across all channels.
Key Question: What makes your brand unique? In a world of competition, WHY does your customer choose you?
- Audit Your Current Branding: Assess your current branding elements, including logo, colors, fonts, and messaging. Ensure that they align with your brand identity and appeal to your target audience.
Key Question: Ask a new member of your team to tell YOU what your brand stands for. This is a great starting point to making sure your brand and brand qualities are recognizable to EVERYONE, not just you.
- Leverage Social Media: Use social media platforms to connect with your audience, build relationships, and share your brand story. Engage in meaningful conversations and respond to feedback promptly.
Key Question: Is your story visible online? How did your business begin? What was the motivation to grow to where you are today? This isn’t just a story for you to tell. It should be part of your branding so that your customers can embrace this story as part of the reason they choose you.
- Invest in Influencer Marketing: This is a new aspect to branding, but one that can’t be overlooked. Did you know that in your town are people that have a MASSIVE following. Its true. And it could be your neighbor. Your customers. Even your employees. By collaborating with local influencers you are able to massively increase your visibility a t a local level in a very affordable way.
Key Question: Do you know the best known influencers in your local area? Have you ever thought of reaching out to them to offer them a free meal or free taste test? Perhaps even a regular discount for helping to promote your brand?
- Offer Exceptional Customer Service: At the end of the day, we don’t want to just elevate our brand and increase customers, we want to keep them. Which means we can never lose sight of the importance of customer service. Positive word-of-mouth referrals are still the best marketing efforts we can have.
Key Question: How often do you monitor your staff’s customer service? Do you have a regular conversation with managers on best practices? Even a quick chat on best practices can help remind our staff of the importance of customer service on a daily basis.
- Monitor Online Reputation: Stay vigilant about monitoring and managing your online reputation. Respond to reviews, address negative feedback constructively, and showcase positive testimonials.
Key Question: How often does your management team review online reviews? This should be something that is looked at frequently. The truth is that bad reviews WILL happen. But we want to make sure that we are learning from mistakes, and showing that we respond in a timely manner to our future customers. Customers today understand that bad things will happen. So don’t hide from negative comments. Respond and move forward.
- Limited Time Offers: LTO’s can be a great way to remind customers of the many things that make you unique, while also creating excitement/buzz around your brand.
Key question: When was the last time you created and promoted a limited time offer? Was it visible to your customers? Was it promoted by your staff? And how did your customer respond?
- Measure and Analyze Results: Regularly track key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of your brand elevation efforts. Analyze the data to identify areas for improvement and refine your strategies.
Key Question: How much do you currently spend on marketing? Industry average is 2% of sales should be spent on marketing. But if you are setting yourself up to grow, this should be a starting point. Marketing spend is the first step, but evaluating the true ROI of these dollars is something that should be done weekly by your management team.
Remember, elevating your brand is a continuous process. It is important to make these elements part of your operations moving forward.
It is important to make sure you are consistently delivering on your brand promise and staying authentic to your brand identity to build a strong and enduring brand presence.