It’s said that people eat with their eyes first and foremost. This is why every cooking competition TV show you’ve has a “presentation” evaluation category. But, beyond presentation of the actual food or beverage being served, those in the industry must also consider how appetizing their brand appears to new consumers.
What components make up a “brand” though?
For the sake of this post, we’ll break “brand” into 4 categories – Story, Digital, In Store, and Packaging.
Brand Story and “Setting the Table”
In a world where consumers have an abundance of choices, no product speaks for itself, including super tasty food or beverage items. In 2015, a study was done to test the power of story. Diners at a restaurant were served two versions of risotto, one was of a higher quality, made from scratch and simply given to the diners with a list of ingredients. The lower quality risotto was made with store bought stock however the chef presented it to the diners himself. He explained the “slight changes” he made to the recipe and ended his spiel with a story from his childhood. 77% of diners thought the lower quality risotto tasted better.
The story behind your food or beverage makes a difference and getting that out through your website, social media, in store, and through packaging cannot be underestimated as a branding and marketing tactic.
Digital – Search, Website, Review Sites, Social Media
If you own a restaurant or brick and mortar store for your food and beverage products, know that potential guests are doing online research.
According to this Open Table report, 87% of people are frequently looking for and finding restaurants they haven’t visited before, meaning that your
branding in search results is important. As an example, we help one of our clients, Grebe’s Bakery, rank highly for terms like “best bakeries in Milwaukee.”
86% of people frequently look up menus before visiting a restaurant, which means you need to have a website that presents this information in an appealing and appetizing way. Concept Co. completed a redesign of GrebesBakery.com to better highlight their food and whet the appetite of its visitors.
60% of people read reviews online from other diners before visiting a restaurant. This is a much more difficult aspect of your brand to manage, but it’s so important to ensure that you’re providing your customers an ideal dining experience. If your reviews average at below 4.0 stars on Google or Yelp, then it’s likely time to put in place a review campaign to increase positive reviews.
Lastly, 46% of people research deals and offers before visiting a restaurant which is a great reason to keep your social media channels active and to reward your followers and brand loyalists.
In Store Experience
Creating an appetizing brand doesn’t end at digital though. When customers walk into your restaurant or store, you want to provide a clean and pleasant environment for them to eat or shop in. This could mean a number of things depending on what type of establishment you have. But clear and on brand signage and menus are required of all restaurants and food and beverage storefronts. Think through your entire customer experience though. If lines are long, do you have something for customers to engage with? Does your seating and decor reflect the price point of your products? When a customer steps into your restaurant or store, expectations are being set and you want to make sure they’re the right ones.
Recently, Concept Co. designed the retail experience for three different Grebe’s Bakery pop-up shops that reflected the casual and fun environment of Wisconsin State Fair, where the pop-ups were located.
Packaging – Brand + Function
When it comes to packaging, brand and function must meet in the middle. If your food or beverage item is in retail stores, then you want to ensure that your packaging stands out from the rest. You want the packaging to reflect your brand values. You want it to appetize your customer. And you want the packaging to keep your items fresh and presentable for the moment your customer opens it.
Packaging is a speciality of Concept Co. and over the years we’ve developed several different types of packaging for Grebe’s, however our most famous work might be the bags of cruller bites seen in up to 300 stores across Wisconsin. The initial concept was developed through a quick brainstorming session between Concept Co.’s founder Zach Beaman and Grebe’s President, Brandon Grebe.
These bags are a perfect mix of brand and function for several reasons. The old school paper bags reflect the long tradition of the Grebe’s brand. The bright, modern stickers keeping them closed project “classic” and “fun.” Though Grebe’s was founded in 1937, their sweet treats will never go out of style. Lastly these bags are folded over and stickered to keep the product fresh and a clear plastic window gives customers a peek of the sweet goods. Brand + Function = Packaging Gold.
Every step that leads up to that first taste of your food or beverage product is important, so much so that it may impact how consumers perceive the taste of your product. If any aspect of your brand is outdated or neglected, then those attributes may be passed onto your product in the customer’s mind. If you need help making your brand as fresh as the food or beverages you make, then contact Concept Co. for a consult.