Sensory Branding Video

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Where to promote your Skinny/Low-calorie Menus

Social Media:

Restaurants are using skinny and low-calorie menus to attract more women and social media’s largest user population is women so it seems like a match made in heaven to promote using social media. The goal of the social media campaign is to raise awareness to a large population of the new menu options.

It is important that the person managing your social media, whether outsourced or managed in-house, uses language that is consistent with the brand. Thinking of the brand as a character can illustrate this more clearly. For example, a brand that emulates George Clooney will have a completely different voice than a brand that is more in-tune with Bugs Bunny.

Social media can also be used to gain guest testimonials. When Kona Grill debuted the Skinny Cocktail menu, guests posted on their Facebook page things like, “Oh MY GOD thank you thank you thank you for the skinny cosmos! SO freakin’ excited to go to Kona tonight,” and “HEAVEN to a dietitian!”

Traditional Media

Focus on social media is increasing, and it is tempting to let traditional media initiatives decrease. However, the opportunities magazines (online and in print) provide are essential to build trust and reinforce promotions. An ad featuring a promotion is a great occasion to let the potential guest know what they should expect when dining at an establishment. The language, imagery, and layout used in an ad should mirror the experience of the restaurant. For example, referring to a margarita as a “marg” conveys that the restaurant is more casual. Lifestyle photography can be used to target specific age demographics, and subconsciously clues the viewer in to the types of people that a restaurant is targeting.

Getting press is also a great way to communicate new promotions to a target audience. Most magazines provide editorial calendars months before the issue is scheduled to print. Restaurants can use this with skinny or low-calorie promotions by finding topics that relate, like weight loss, healthy living, or women-targeted issues, and contact the magazine to be featured.


Restaurants should focus on selling the skinny and low-calorie menu items to guests in the store. Place the promotions on table tents, train servers and bartenders to suggest the new menu items to guests, and use menu inserts to ensure that the consumer will purchase the new items. For more on how to use table tents, please click here.

Do you need help with promotions for special menus? Please, contact us!

Restaurants and Orange

We started this week with an overview of orange color psychology. Today, we want to dive in to how orange can be used in restaurants.

The menu

Orange is a common color for seasonal fruits and vegetables, and signals to  the consumer that the food is fresh. Many orange foods are in season in the summer or fall, especially through the holiday season. The brighter the orange, the more likely the food is in season in summer – like oranges. Around Halloween, pumpkins and sweet potatoes become more popular.

The Design

In restaurants, orange stimulates appetites and encourages sales. Orange is less harsh than red but has many of the same characteristics, so orange is very popular in restaurants looking to create a cheerful, social, energizing space.

Olive and Ivy, a Fox Restaurant Concepts restaurant located in Scottsdale, Arizona, features an orange theme. The restaurant is beautiful, and the rich orange theme mirrors the menu of Mediterranean cuisine mixed with California chic to create a crave-able experience.

Orange may also be used as a prominent color in the menu design, like this fine dining menu from Josephine’s Other restaurants that use orange in their menu design include Hooters and Dave and Busters.

Would you like to incorporate orange into your new menus, brand, or promotional materials? Please, contact us!

Table tent uses

The table is the point of purchase (POP) in most restaurants. This makes the table tent a valuable piece of advertising real estate. A table tent narrowly  targets  a restaurant’s market – the guest has walked through  the door and is sitting at a table, prepared to spend money. From a restaurateur perspective, it can be difficult to decide how to use this marketing tool. We’ve outlined a few options for table tent usage.

  1. Food and drink promotions. Table tents are a great way to introduce or test new menu items without reprinting the entire menu. Many table tent options are designed to make changing out specific promotions easy and quick.
  2. Dessert. Put the idea of dessert in a guests mind right when they sit down, and keep the idea in front of them their entire meal. The guest is more likely to order a dessert if they are constantly reminded of the sweet treat a restaurant is promoting. This works especially well during slower times to entice guests to spend more when restaurants aren’t as focused on turning tables quickly. Need more information on spending per minute? Click here.
  3. Advertise events. Restaurants can also use table tents to communicate when happy hour times, lunch or late-night specials, or special events are happening throughout the week, month, or season.

A few things to keep in mind when using table tents:

  • Great photography sells. If a brand frequently uses photography in advertising, email campaigns, and the menu, it is cost effective to use the same images in table tent materials, in addition to helping align the table tent design with your overall brand.
  • Captive audiences. People look at table tents when they sit, after they have ordered or if they need something to keep them occupied. This is why drinks and dessert are great options for table tents – drinks are ordered throughout, and dessert is ordered at the very end.
  • Guests have time to look at table tents, they can read copy, and refer back to it; such as a call to action to join your social media pages. Copy can be used to give more details, but needs to be used with caution in order to prevent overwhelming the guest.

Do you need help with table tent design? Contact us to get started!

In honor of National Beer Drinking Day…

In honor of National Beer Drinking Day, and just because it’s Friday, we wanted to explore the art of brew making. How do people find inspiration for their popular brews? If an establishment serves food and microbrews, does the beer frame the food, or does the food frame the beer?

Sometimes, like with local brewery Four Peaks, the beer is the main event. While the food at Four Peaks is fabulous, the menu doesn’t change on a seasonal basis. The beer, on the other hand, evolves with the seasons, ranging from Pumpkin Porter and Winter Wobbler, to Blind Date Ale and Fools Gold.

In other cases, the beer is meant to frame the food. David Burke just teamed up again with Sam Adams to create BBQ Peach. Burke is a culinary expert with six restaurants in the New England Area and Chicago. Introducing BBQ Peach is an embellishment on the food, with Burke stating it will be “perfect with Chinese Sausage”.

We want to know, what’s your favorite microbrew? Some favorites around the Miss Details office are Oberon from Bells Brewery in Michigan, and Four Peaks Hefeweizen with a splash of orange juice.

4 tips to increase profit with drink menus

  1. Define your liquor cost. Restaurants calculate  liquor costs many different ways – some include juices, garnishes, and Red Bull while others only account for beer, wine, and liquor. After you’ve defined what contributes to the cost of liquor, determine where you  make the most profit, and where you are losing money. A helpful tool is the BCG matrix.
  2. Educate your staff. Train your staff and give them the confidence they need to sell specialty drinks, wine, and beer. If your servers and bartenders can make a guest familiar with the taste of a new cocktail or type of wine, the guest will be more likely to venture out of their comfort zone and try something new. Your staff should be using the menu as a jumping – off point, and play off the descriptors in the menu. Remember, these descriptions should use words to paint a picture and engage the senses.
  3. Promote. Make it easy for guests to see what special drinks you offer. Instead of having a separate drink menu available upon request, use table tents and other visual aids to promote your money-makers. Force people to see your unique concoctions. If you are supporting a cause, create a specialty drink to create awareness and promote your brand. Ling and Louie’s in Scottsdale created a Second Base Cooler in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Along with a very cool t-shirt and menu this drink showed off their mad mixology skills, and shows how their very “not boring” brand uniquely supported a wonderful cause.

Another way to promote your yummy drinks is through social media. Post pictures, and see what people like and dislike. A photo of a happy hour margarita might just be what you need to get that extra business on Friday afternoons. You can also use social media to give guests a behind-the-scenes look into how drinks are made. Kai Restaurant at The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa has a special section on their Facebook page: KAI-Tails – From our Mixoligist where they describe each new cocktail and how locally sourced ingredients creatively blend with choice spirits.

4. Placement and organization. “The menu is the heart of the restaurant. It embodies the restaurant’s demographics, concept, physical factors and personality,” (from this blog on menu design). Use your menu to create an experience with your guest before they even sip on your drinks. Incorporating tactile elements in menu design for a sensory appeal can help give guests a sense of the cocktails also.

Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?


The design of wine labels- uncorked

Not everyone is a wine expert, and sometimes we need a little help in choosing a bottle. Do we ask for help? Occasionally, but usually we just look at the label and find one that looks best, or sends a message we respond to.

Wineries are constantly looking for ways to stand out. Most people buying wine aren’t at a winery – they’re in a grocery or liquor store.  Selling a bottle before someone has tasted it is not easy. This places a lot of pressure on the wine label.  The design needs to grab the attention of the buyer, convey certain vital information about the wine (type, red or white, grape varietal, region of origin, surgeon general warning, health information, etc.), and tell a story that aligns with the experience the buyer is trying to create. The experience created arrives from sensory design, which is design that evokes an intuitive response by engaging one or more of the senses.

Modern wine labels are designed to stand out.  A perfect example is Fat Bastard, a wine from Southern France that uses its unique name and a sitting hippopotamus to play to the idea from their website that “most people bought a bottle because of the name and returned to buy cases because of the quality.” This technique has worked very well for Fat Bastard, which is now the best-selling French Chardonnay in the United States.

This doesn’t mean that all wineries should rename their wine and put an unexpected animal on the label.  The wine label must align with the brand and positioning of the producer.  The label may have a traditional French chateau, indicating the region where the grapes were harvested. Or it may have images of the family that created the wine, with the different generations of family members indicating the maturity and age.

Next time you’re choosing a bottle of wine, maybe you’ll notice that the label has a bit more influence on you than expected. Or have you already noticed? We’d love to hear about you favorite label!

Wine Tasting- A sensory experience

Tasting wine is a truly sensory experience.  From the moment the cork comes out of the bottle with a faint “pop,” to actually drinking and tasting the wine, all the senses are engaged.

First, you hear

Once you’ve chosen your bottle of wine and you’re ready to enjoy it, it’s time to open it! The first sense is stimulated – your hearing.  Your sense of hearing is continually stimulated as the wine is poured into the glass.

Second, you touch

The wine glass influences the temperature, bouquet, taste, balance, and finish of the wine.  There are many different types of glasses, but generally glasses with smaller bowls are for white wines, larger bowls are for red wines, and flutes are for sparkling wine and champagne. Riedel is a company known for their extensive collection of wine glasses and the science behind each design.

Then, you see

The third step to wine tasting is checking the color and clarity of your wine. It is easiest to distinguish color on a white background.  When you are determining color, look past just red and white, because a closer look can enable you to gauge the grape and age of the wine.  Red wines tend to lighten as they age, whereas white wines become darker in color.

When tasting, you can also look at the “legs” or as the French say, the “tears” of the wine.  When you swirl your wine in your glass, the rate at which the legs fall is a result of the Marangoni Effect, and can help determine alcohol content of the wine.

Next, you smell

When you smell your wine, you first take a quick whiff and gain a first impression of the wine.  Next, put your nose into the glass and take a deep breath.  You may smell oak, berry, tobacco, pepper, vanilla, or many other scents.  Then swirl the wine again, and sniff.  You may identify more scents than you did the first time!

Don’t underestimate the power of smell, because what you smell greatly influences what you taste. A master sommelier once said, “You can only taste 5 things – bitter, sweet, sour, salty, and umami – but the number of things you can smell is endless.”

And finally, taste

First, take a small sip and swirl it in your mouth.  Different areas on the tongue are sensitive to different types of taste, and incorporating them all enables you to experience the full taste of the wine.  After the first impression, your palate gets the chance to distinguish the taste.  Finally, after you swallow the wine you are left with the finish.  This is the lasting impression the wine has in your mouth, the taste you continue to experience even after the wine is gone.

We hope you enjoyed this break down of the senses and wine tasting, and we’d love to know your thoughts and comments!  If you liked this, there will be more, we will be writing soon on how label design and brand image influence your purchasing decision and maybe even how you perceive the taste and quality of the wine. CNN also has added a great addition to their Eatocracy blog- a series called Leggy and Luscious that’s all about wine tasting and experience.

Special thanks to John Banquil, Regional General Manager at Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill for his input and help writing this article!

Brand Sense

Brand Sense by Martin Lindstrom is a must read for the progressive marketer. Lindstrom focuses on the immense power the five senses have in influencing how consumers feel about brands. He analyzes how the most successful brands today, like Apple and Coca-Cola use sensory branding to entice consumers and create a community of raving fans.

Lindstrom delves into the psychology behind consumer preferences and translates the science into something readable, giving examples of brands that incorporate scent, sound, touch, taste, and sight into their brand experience. This multi-sensory encounter makes the brand more memorable, and increases brand loyalty.

Lindstrom’s other works include Buyology, Brand Child, Brand Building, and Clicks, Bricks & Brands.

If you’re interested in reading Brand Sense, click here to order!

Coke vs. Pepsi





The famous Coke vs. Pepsi taste wars were a great way to prove that a brand image can impact the taste of something.  Did you know when a blind taste test occurred (meaning the participant was not told which beverage Coke or which was Pepsi) the results were split? Just as many people favored Coke as favored Pepsi.  When the participants were told which product they were drinking, the results changed dramatically.  Coke was much preferred over Pepsi, with two-thirds of people favoring Coke, and only 1/3 favoring Pepsi.

What causes this gap?  It is due to the solid reputation Coke has cultivated over the course of 100 plus years, reinforced through advertising and marketing that portrays a happy, comforting, and positive message.  When a person knows they are drinking Coke, these marketing messages have insinuated themselves into the human nervous system so deeply, they actually influence a persons taste preferences!

Coke’s positive message is solidified by its appeal to the senses through marketing. The music they use in their commercials, like “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” the feel of the Coca-Cola bottle, and the emotion their marketing messages display, like the journey through a vending machine in the 2006 Super Bowl ad. Even the guerrilla marketing campaigns Coke engages in, as shown in this video.  These marketing messages have helped uphold the brand image of Coca-Cola. The beverage has benefited by maintaining a leading position in the soft-drink market through the sensory marketing materials used.

Which do you prefer- Coke or Pepsi?