6 Trending stories for branding + business

5 ways to include your customers when changing the brand: http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-reasons-why-you-should-include-customers-when-pivoting-your-brand?extlink=em-openf-SBdaily

6 steps to providing social media support for executives: http://mashable.com/2011/10/24/social-media-executives/

Why it’s so important to keep ahead of trends – the Kodak story: http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-not-keeping-up-with-technology-trends-led-to-kodaks-demise?extlink=em-openf-SBdaily

Absinthe Case Study – structure and graphic design to embody the brand. http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2011/10/19/absinthe-case-study.html

How to elevate your senses – from the Dr. Oz show: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/5-day-full-body-recharge-plan

Customer experience leads to happy customers! http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-marketing/customer-service/three-crucial-steps-to-happy-customers/article2204207/

3 Ways to Assign Value to a brand

1. Firm Level Branding

Establishing a brand is a necessary part of creating a successful company. However, assigning a monetary value to a brand and determining ROI for brand initiatives can be very difficult.

Firm level branding is one way of assigning a monetary value to a brand. When using the firm level branding method, brand equity is an intangible asset. Other intangible assets – sometimes referred to as intellectual property- include trade secrets, copyrights, patents, and structural activities. At the firm level, brand value is determined by measuring the difference of a company’s value before the creation of the brand and after a brand is established. If all other things remain the same as before the brand was invested in, the difference between the two numbers is the value of the brand. For example, a company is valued at 37 million dollars, and then invests for 3 years into developing its brand. They do not spend any money on new products, equipment, or office space.  After 3 years, the company is valued at 47 million dollars. The brand development is worth 10 million dollars.

Determining the value of a brand using the firm level allows firms to define value of the brand if they are contemplating mergers or acquisitions. It also allows firms to account for expenses associated with brand development initiatives.

2. Product level branding

Product level branding is another method companies use to assign a monetary value to a brand. In the product level method, the value of the brand equals the price of a popular product minus the price of a generic product. For example, if a 12 pack of Coca-Cola is $4.50 at the local grocery store, and the store brand is $2.50 for a 12 pack at the same store, the brand Coca-Cola at the product level is worth $2.00. The consumer is paying for a branded product, and their reasons for purchasing the specific brand are usually emotionally based – they drink Coke because their parents drank Coke, or it reminds them of summers on the beach.

The term “negative brand equity” is colloquially associated with product level branding (although there are different schools of thought on what negative brand equity actually is) when a name brand is priced at a lower point than a generic brand, resulting in a negative dollar amount as the difference between the two products.

3. Consumer level branding

Measuring branding at the consumer level is the most difficult of the three ways to assign value. Consumer level branding seeks to measure brand recognition, awareness, and public perception. Marketers assign value to a brand based on how the consumer feels about the brand – a very difficult metric to measure and monitor.

Getting a bigger slice of the feedback pie [INFOGRAPHIC]

If you’ve been in the restaurant industry for an extended period of time, you’ve likely heard of the “secret” or “mystery” shopper. The shopper or shoppers come in and grade a restaurant on everything – from the host’s friendliness, to whether a manager stops by the table, to whether the server is knowledgeable and tells them their name. After their dining experience, the shoppers turn in a form relaying their experiences to the hiring company. The company then processes the information, and sends it to the restaurant, which in turn  reviews the form (which itself can be a long process  down the chain of command from corporate to district managers, to store managers to shift managers) and then contacts the staff member that served the shoppers. This process is drawn out to unnecessary lengths.

A few questions to ponder: Is this timeline acceptable? Is a secret shopper program even worth it, when the majority of experienced servers can pick out a secret shopper within the first 5 minutes of interaction? By the time the feedback returns, does the employee in question even work at the restaurant anymore?

Enter in 4G mobile phone networks, high speed internet, and social media, and the timeline for customer feedback is much shorter. A guest can write a review from the table on Yelp from their phone, or they can be tweeting or updating their Facebook status about everything that is happening. The best part  is that  restaurant managers and staff have an opportunity to correct a potential problem as it occurs, and establish a personal relationship with guests by monitoring these forms of media.

The key is to utilize the instant feedback available, and stand out from the crowd in your social media responses. Don’t just type a response – when someone checks in on Foursquare, find them in the restaurant and thank them for dining with you! Monitoring the correct channels also enables managers to address issues with staff (positive or negative) immediately or at the end of the shift in which they occurred. Events are still fresh in everyone’s mind, and ways to correct or compliment are relevant.

19 Takeaways from “Brand your business like your favorite restaurant”

This past Wednesday, we partnered with the Arizona Technology Council to present a panel of branding experts to discuss building a brand experience like your favorite restaurant. Our panelists included Kate Unger, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Kahala, a franchising company (owners of Cold Stone Creamery and Blimpie brands, along with 12 others); Deborah Topcik, Director of Marketing for Z’Tejas, Inc. which owns and operates 11 restaurants in six markets; and John Banquil, Regional Manager for Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill. Below, we have have posted 19 takeaways to recap the event.

Cold Stone Creamery is launching with International Delight – ice cream flavored coffee creamer sounds amazing!

Take advantage of product placement opportunities like Cold Stone Creamery did with Ryan Seacrest. Ryan sent out this tweet: On the way to @kimkardashian’s wedding…traffic so bad on the 101 I had to stop at cold stone creamery…coffee lovers in my belly…I will quick change in the car…I always keep a suit in trunk!

“We’re comfortable with our food – we want to make sure our staff is doing the right thing for our brand every time” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill

On social media…

  • “Make it so people can see behind the curtain, give them sneak peeks to upcoming menu items.” – Deborah Topcik, Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill
  • “Social media doesn’t replace people. If a manager sees someone in 4 times in 2 weeks, do something for them! Don’t just rely on check-ins.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s
  • “Someone sits at the bar tweeting, we can respond right away and make them laugh – that’s a personal experience.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s
  • Talking to your staff about promoting via social media is a fine line – you never know what they’re going to say.

“Our Taco Time stores are individually branded towards their communities. It was difficult to do, but well worth it, and fit in with the original store.” – Kate Unger, Kahala

“The Ling and Louie brand is about relating everything back to Ling and Louie, including the servers we hire and the way we communicate.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s

“Make sure there is added value to discounts. Your discounts should not be telling the discount story.” – Deborah Topcik, Z’Tejas

“Always stay ahead.” Kate Unger, Kahala on frozen yogurt in Cold Stone Creamery.

“You have to make sure what you want to do as a corporation is what makes sense for franchises in their markets.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s

“When people feel informed, they feel better about decisions.” – Kate Unger, Kahala

“There is a holiday for everything, and it’s a fun way to establish your brand through marketing.” – Deborah Topcik, Z’Tejas

“We want to be out of the box, out of the ‘wok’ if you will.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s

“Cold Stone Creamery started in Tempe, at an ice cream shop that made ice cream creations on a cold stone” – Kate Unger, Kahala

“Blimpies was the first sub shop in the country, that’s where the tagline ‘America’s sub shop’ comes from.” – Kate Unger, Kahala

“Lance Armstrong started Livestrong at Z’Tejas in Austin – the first location, we benefited from it, but it was all chance that the launch happened there!” – Deborah Topcik, Z’Tejas

“It’s all or nothing with discounts – we stick to ‘not boring holidays’ to go along with our brand” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s

Special thanks to the Arizona Technology Council for setting up this event!


5 social media guidelines for Restaurants

1. Be polite. No one wants to be the owner/manager/employee who lashes out at an unhappy guest. There are countless examples of letting anger take hold, but the results are always the same: it’s embarrassing, gets bad PR, and can ruin your brand image. The best thing to do when someone has a complaint, but has already left the restaurant, is to take the conversation offline, and privately message them and resolve the situation out of the public eye. If someone is still at the restaurant, approach the guest and see what can be done to rectify the situation.

    2. Respond. It’s very easy to set up a social media account, use it for a while, and then ignore it for long periods of time. The problem with ignoring social media platforms is that guests can still be interacting with an establishment, and feeling like they’re being ignored. This result is the opposite of what social media should be! Try to always respond to check-ins and comments, even if it’s just a quick “thank you!” It’s a small step to lasting relationships with guests.

      3. Consistent communication. When a company decides to set guest expectations with a Facebook or Twitter promotion, front-of-house staff members must know about the promotion. Brand equity is damaged at the customer level when a server is not knowledgeable or the kitchen is not prepared.

        4. Facebook is not Twitter. Don’t use Facebook as an extension of Twitter or vice-versa. Take advantage of Twitter’s fast moving feed and Facebook’s new 5000 character limit and the ability to post photos and videos.

          5. Last, be aware of current events. Understand trending topics and the purpose of hashtags. Do not be the next Kenneth Cole #Cairo debacle.

            7 Trending topics for Restaurants in October

            What should your restaurant be blogging about? Here are 6 options: http://blog.swipelyworks.com/restaurant-marketing-ideas/6-things-your-restaurant-should-be-blogging-about

            Having trouble with Twitter etiquette? 5 tips to help you decide what’s right and what’s wrong: http://blog.swipelyworks.com/restaurant-marketing-ideas/5-quick-tips-restaurant-twitter-netiquette

            iPads for ordering becoming more popular at restaurants: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/story/2011-09-20/ipad-restaurant-menu-ordering/50482900/1

            Brand extensions from TV chefs – watches, jewelry lines, cooking supplies, restaurants and more! http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/kitchen-royalty-134887

            Resurrection of classic flavors – Brooklyn Gin from pre-prohibition is back:  http://uncrate.com/stuff/brooklyn-gin/

            Top 50 restaurants for Foodies in the US: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/opentable-diners-reveal-the-top-50-restaurants-for-foodies-in-the-us-130262703.html

            How Steve Jobs influenced the restaurant industry: http://www.qsrmagazine.com/news/steve-jobs-left-legacy-unlikely-industry

            Sensory Branding Video

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            The Holy Trinity of Restaurant Social Media… and Yelp

            Social media is essential in promoting businesses and engaging with customers and guests. At first glance, social media may seem like a waste of time. Below we’ve outlined the 3 most popular sites for restaurant goers –  Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare. We’ve also included Yelp, because we’ve noticed that the site is a growing concern for owners and managers of restaurants.


            What it’s used for: interaction and conversation, real-time taste of consumer attitude, promotion

            Overview: Twitter is a great resource for real-time interaction. Correctly monitoring Twitter results in a better understanding of the marketplace. Twitter allows users to search for topics and see what trending topics are in a specific area. It is a great place to interact with guests and join conversations that relate to the type of food or drinks served. For example, a sushi restaurant might search for #sushi, and find someone that is craving sushi in the area. They can then invite them in, establishing a connection with the guest. Restaurants can also use Twitter to announce and promote specials.


            What it’s used for: relationship building, loyalty rewards

            Overview: Guests can use Foursquare to check-in to businesses. Businesses take advantage of this by setting up specials, like free chips and salsa for every check-in or a free drink for the mayor. Restaurants can take advantage of Foursquare by monitoring check-ins and welcoming guests that have checked-in. Making a guest feel welcome and special increases the likelihood of them coming back again and again.


            What it’s used for: promotion; conversation, photos, events

            Overview: Facebook for business is helpful in promoting specials, posting images, and conversing with guests. One major benefit of Facebook is that restaurants can post things that people can look back on for months, like photos and comments. Facebook also allows users to create events and invite guests who “like” the page.


            What it’s used for: reviews from guests; research from potential guests

            Overview: Of all  people who dine at a restaurant, a very small percentage post reviews on Yelp. It is important to monitor a brand through Yelp, but more valuable information about the way a restaurant is perceived can be obtained by talking to guests while they are dining. If a guest has an issue while dining and it is not corrected before they leave, they are leaving unhappy, and any review they write will reflect that. If a manager talks to the table and corrects the problem before they leave, the guests leave satisfied.

            Do you need help making social media sites branded? Contact us, we’d love to help!

            9 Trending Stories for Branding + Business

            10 business rules that are meant to be broken: http://www.inc.com/articles/201109/beryl-companies-paul-spiegelman-lead-your-own-way.html

            The new 4 P’s of Marketing: passion, purpose, positioning, personality http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/2011/09/12/the-4ps-of-a-fully-alive-business/

            Solving the Puzzle of Blogging:  http://www.problogger.net/archives/2011/01/15/how-to-solve-the-blogging-puzzle/

            Google/Zagat Acquisition:  http://www.allbusiness.com/sales-marketing/advertising-marketing-pr/16672638-1.html

            Personal Branding vs. Company Branding – which wins? http://remarkablogger.com/2011/09/06/personal-branding-vs-company-branding/

            6 words to being a great networker: http://www.openforum.com/articles/6-words-that-will-instantly-make-you-a-networking-pro?extlink=em-openf-SBdaily

            Praise actions, not results! http://www.bnet.com/blog/business-strategy/why-you-should-stop-over-praising-your-team/2193

            The importance of local search: http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/09/small-business-marketing-tips-from-smx-east-2011.html

            15 ways to spend your lunch hour: http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2011/09/15/what-are-you-doing-for-lunch/?utm_source=Brazen+Careerist+Community+Newsletter&utm_campaign=407266d56c-Sept_22_Newsletter9_21_2011&utm_medium=email

            October Calendars

            It’s the beginning of October, and you know what that means – more calendars! This month we will be featuring two images from Rick D’Elia and one image for our animal lovers out there from Cactus Canine. Most screens will use the size that is shown in the image, just click and then right click the larger image that appears and set as desktop background!

            About the images

            Mist from Saguaro Lake and nearby mountains

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            Desert storm north of Fountain Hills

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            This cat is perfect (purr-fect?) for Halloween!

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            To enjoy (instructions): Click the image of the wallpaper you’d like, and a larger version will open in a new window. Right click on this image, and select “Set as Desktop Background”. If that size doesn’t fit, click on the link that’s the right size for your screen and then right click the bigger image.  You’ll never forget what day it is!

            Enjoy and look forward to more calendars next month!