What's for dinner?: Cooking up branding campaigns for success.
Updated: Aug 5, 2018
Are you a restaurant owner that is always finding yourself saying "why aren't we busier"? Fact is that if your establishment isn't the first thing that pops into customers heads when they ask the question "What's for dinner?", then you may have already failed. So let's talk about a long-term marketing principle that always leads to success...branding.
So what is branding? Entreprenuer.com says that branding is "The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products". Which is all great but not what we're going to be talking about here. After you've defined and created what your perfect brand ASSETS are, it's time to actually brand them. Meaning, like a hot poking-iron, we'll need to sear your brand into the minds of consumers. The best way to do this: repetition.
"Coca-Cola isn't in the business of selling...they're in the business of branding. They want to be 'top-of-mind' when you're in the grocery aisle." -Charles Barnett, CBA
You as a restaurant owner need to be in the business of branding. If your establishment just opened, or is fairly "young", then now is the best time to start your long-term branding campaigns. This just means that your brand needs to be present and visible on social media, on YouTube, on billboards around town, and have people talking about you. These constant "impressions" is what will build your brand. This is what will "sear" your business into the brains of consumers so when they ask "what's for dinner"? Your restaurant will be top of mind thanks to branding campaigns.
So, where do you begin?
Here is a quick list of steps to follow to start your next branding campaign:
Come up with a budget & create a plan
In order to effectively market your brand, you'll need a budget. Find a budget that works within your means and stick to it. You'll also need a plan. Remember: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. This plan should accomplish a few things: align your budget with your goals & timelines; align your marketing materials and messaging for consistent branding; and align your messages with your menus and specials.
Produce creative materials
Now that you have a plan and a budget, it's time to produce the actual marketing materials needed for placements. This should encompass planning a photo AND video shoot, editing/creating the materials, audit and update websites, etc. etc. Keep in mind that all marketing is 50/50...50% creative and 50% placement/management. Do not go "cheap" on your creative materials...hire the best people you can find for this job.
Check out this awesome video from YouTube user Gil B for a behind-the-scenes look at a restaurant photo shoot:
Buy & Place ads
This is the tricky part and where ad agencies come in really handy. Here is the time where you will need to place all that beautiful creative material onto ad platforms so they can be seen. But, where should the ads go? Who should you target? How do you optimize the ads? How do you measure results and success? Now is the time for a shameless plug: HIRE AN AD AGENCY! Let me ask you this...would you ever represent yourself in court? No, you hire an attorney. Do you do your own taxes? No, you hire an accountant. So why would you ever do your own advertising? Fact is agencies just do it better. Your ad agency should be able to not only plan and handle your marketing goals and objectives, but also better place, target, and optimize those ads for success. Not to mention provide detailed reporting how the campaigns are running but also be able to track your customers "flow" through the marketing plan. Not to mention an agency can save you endless amounts of time in the long-run. Time is money after all.
Measure results and repeat
Remember, branding campaigns are all about one thing: repetition. Look at your campaigns every quarter and see how things are running, what your audiences are doing, and where you can improve. The KPI for these types of campaigns are "impressions" and "frequency". This just means you should aim for mass coverage in your area and getting consumers to see the ad more than a couple of times.
If you'd like to discuss branding campaigns further, please contact us today to learn more.