Because some of you have asked about it, we are reprinting our article on the importance of consistency in brand building. We're glad you have found it helpful.
When it comes to building your brand whether you’re a restaurateur, a tabletop dealer/distributor, or a tabletop manufacturer....there are two main words to remember – CONSISTENCY and FREQUENCY.
As a restaurateur you strive to deliver a great dining experience to your guests, no matter the level of your restaurant. Doing so means that you will gain loyal customers and loyalty often results in higher spend per visit….and more return visits. One of the best ways to insure more return visits is to provide a consistent dining experience for your brand. Your brand represents trust and customers want to know they can trust what type of service, meal and overall experience they will have when they visit your restaurant. Consumers don’t like mixed messages (experiences) when choosing where to spend their dining out money. Using tabletop items consistent with your overall brand message can provide strong reinforcement to consumers on the type of dining experience they can expect whenever they visit your restaurant. Fast-casual leaders such as Panera, Chipotle, and Five Guys are hugely successful in large part because they deliver a consistent dining experience to their guests.
Same goes for the dealer. Operators have more choices than ever of where to purchase their tabletop. Being consistent in service, supply, pricing, and generally how you treat your customers throughout the purchasing experience helps insure repeat purchasing and less overall shopping when operators are considering both new tabletop items and re-orders. If a dealer/distributor is inconsistent in their messaging through that experience, it’s far more likely that customer will check pricing/availability from several sources before making their tabletop purchases. Whenever that happens, gross profit margins on the eventual sale are certain to erode. Also, less gross profit for the dealer generally results in less earnings for the dealer salesperson. Plus, with an inconsistent brand message, it takes more of a general overall sales effort to convince the restaurateur why they should buy their tabletop from your dealership versus one of their other options. People – including restaurant operators – want buy from sources they trust. Strong brands represent trust.
Consistency for the manufacturer’s brand message is critical. Being known for having a wide range high quality dinnerware is fine, but that reputation will be lessened if your company’s selection of flatware, glassware, or accessories is of lesser quality, with only a handful of patterns or items. Same with service – if a your reputation is built upon outstanding service levels and that you introduce a new product that they have difficulty servicing….the your brand message is going to suffer. The same goes for a manufacturer who is strong in one geographic region and weak in another. Like most industries, the hospitality industry is small and communication is great. As a manufacturer, if you are weak at serving a particular part of the region/country/world….that word gets out and weakens your overall brand message. Customers with multiple locations want to know that you'll be able to service all of their locations with the same quality service levels.
Another issue for manufacturers is whether your brand message is consistent across all delivery platforms. Do your collateral materials – catalogs, brochures, etc. – support the quality of your products? Does the “billboard – look” of your trade show booth reflect properly the brand message you are trying to send? How about your advertising and promotion? Remember, everything you do reflects back upon your brand….from the products you have to the people you hire…even something very small such as the design of your business cards…is a part of your overall brand message. An inconsistent brand message is a weak brand message.
So, whether you’re a restaurateur, a dealer/distributor, or a manufacturer….you have a unique and individual brand. Whether you have a strong brand or a weak brand often depends upon the consistency with which you deliver your message.
Knowing who you are…..and who you want to be is critical in determining the brand message you need to send to your customers….whether you’re a restaurateur…a tabletop dealer….or a tabletop manufacturer. And when you send that brand message it needs to be sent with CONSISTENCY.
When it comes to building your brand whether you’re a restaurateur, a tabletop dealer/distributor, or a tabletop manufacturer....there are two main words to remember – FREQUENCY
and consistency. We recently discussed brand message consistency and why it's important.
Now that we know that to build a strong brand we need to have a CONSISTENT message, our messaging needs FREQUENCY
or repetitions before your audience really starts to pay attention. How many? And, what messaging platforms do we use? How can we gain that frequency?
First of all, the answer on what platforms is ALL
platforms or touchpoints (go back and read our article on consistency)
should be seen as opportunities to increase the frequency of our brand message.
To read our entire article on brand message FREQUENCY
, go here:http://www.tabletopjournal.com/
…..the real deal. Seth Godin
wrote the other day about marketing swagger. And the substance that’s needed to back up the swagger. In today’s world – hospitality tabletop included
– restaurant guests and tabletop customers are looking more than ever for authenticity. Marketing swagger is great….but if the experience does back up the swagger, you’re pretty much dead.
be exposed. In a world of YELP, Trip Advisor, and any one of a number of review forums, your “swagger without substance”
will be discovered and trumpeted.
Having the swagger is important as it instills confidence with your customers. But, definitely have the substance to back it up. Authenticity
. Customers want it. More than ever.
Designer Martin Kastner discusses the attention to detail and passion that goes into each piece of the Crucial Detail collection that brings the focus back to food and elevating the dining experience for the restaurant guest.
A question we’re often asked at TabletopJournal is what makes Steelite
so special and how do they continue to grow their business? After spending much of today in product review sessions where new product after new product was showcased, along with new uses and updates for existing products….you might well assume that the answers to be those questions would be product related.
After all, today they had 13 rooms reviewing Steelite and partner company products, with no shortage of creative tabletop in sight….each room offering its own new, creative arrow for the Steelite USA sales quiver. As a tabletop leader, to the outside world it might easily appear that it’s the products and the prices they sell them at that gets Steelite to its leadership rung on the tabletop ladder.
And, while strong sales and profit growth were highlighted in the morning’s opening session…it is the growth in Steelite as a leadership brand that stands out among the many positive highlights.
Steelite's new WNK pattern JAVA is an example of a creative re-vamp of a classic flatware pattern done in 18-10 stainless steel.
However, from what I have witnessed in my very short visit at this sales conference, it’s far more about the people – and their passion – than it is about the individual product that leads to the success at Steelite. While their products are the most creative products of their types, in the end what is impressive is how the Steelite people use these products to provide solutions to their customer’s tabletop problems.
From VP, National Accounts Tony Taneal to Denver area Sales Rep Ron Gallman to Tabletop Specialist Mary Beth Miller to Midwest Sales Manager Jack Eaton…. they all shared the passion for selling tabletop with each individual encounter we had with them, as did many others whose names I didn't get. It is this passion for providing tabletop solutions that seems to run throughout the Steelite organization.
Today’s product breakout sessions were a good example. Each upbeat and fast moving session was run by a knowledgeable expert whose passion and energy was on full display. You saw it in the informal hallway gatherings - discussing this product or that...how they might work to solve a particular customer's problem. Other companies may try to compete on a product basis, but Steelite seems to be competing on a talent basis….and their inventory of talent runs deep.
Steelite's recent acquisition of Royal Crown Derby is already yielding new products. Royal Crown Derby Entertains is introducing six bone china patterns all made in England, reinforcing the brand's "self assured" authenticity.
So, while there can be no doubt that Steelite has some truly creative products – with many more on the way - it is the people and their talent – and, yes, their passion - that are perhaps this company’s most impressive assets.
What do you think of when you're thinking of your “BRAND”?
Remember…. your brand is what others think it is, not what you think it is. With that in mind, your brand is what you stand for, what type of company you are when nobody is watching.
Brands are promises and how well you deliver on those promises is a large part of your overall brand DNA. Ultimately, your brand is an accumulation of all the many and wide-ranging touchpoints and experiences that people have with your brand.
So, in the end, your brand is really a result of many activities, not a single logo, website design, mission statement or slogan.
When it comes to company branding, few compare to that of the Maker’s Mark
Bourbon brand. Between their perfect one liners, customer “gifts”, and their trademark red wax label tops, Maker’s Mark
makes an immediate and lasting impression. Without even knowing where to find the bourbon section of a liquor store, you can identify a Maker’s Mark
bottle from across the room because of a simple wax coating.
The Maker’s Mark
brand does a great job of connecting and reconnecting with customers as well as having fun. The company offers a Maker’s Mark Ambassador
program in which they send loyal customers small gifts and post cards for special occasions such as a tacky Winter Holiday sweater for the actual bottle. Can you name another company that does the same for their loyal customers?
Maker’s Mark knows how to show that they are a quality, aged, fine liquor while still “staying young” and having fun with their advertisements. This is a marketing plan that reflects the culture of their company.
Shouldn’t your company do the same?
- David James
Every brand has a voice......what is yours saying?
More importantly.......how does it sound to others?
When it comes to building your brand whether you’re a restaurateur, a tabletop dealer/distributor, or a tabletop manufacturer....there are two main words to remember –CONSISTENCY
Whether you’re a restaurateur, a dealer/distributor
, or a manufacturer
….you have a unique and individual brand. Whether you have a strong
brand or a weak
brand often depends upon theCONSISTENCY
with which you deliver your message.
Knowing who you are
…..and who you want to be
is critical in determining the brand message you need to send to your customers….whether you’re a restaurateur…a tabletop dealer….or a tabletop manufacturer. And when you send that brand message it needs to be sent with CONSISTENCY
To read our entire article on how important brand consistency is, go here:http://www.tabletopjournal.com/