Store Branding

Hey everyone,

Been seeing a lot of people talking about store branding and structuring, and thought I would join the party and try to get a little insight on some branding I have been doing.

I opened up my store in an area of ~50,000 households within a 5 mile radius. Competition in this radius includes: (1) Papa John’s Pizza, (2) Dominos Pizza, (1) Pizza Hut, (1) Little Caesars, (1) Hungry Howies, (4) Other Independents, in addition to (1) Dominos Pizza, (1) Pizza Hut, and (1) Hungry Howies as well as (2) Other Independents just outside the 5 mile radius but that still impact areas of our delivery. So needless to say, it’s a crowded market. Since our opening an area independent, along with a CiCis pizza closed up shop.

A little about my shop: We are strictly Delivery / Carry Out, in a ~1,000 SqFt unit in a mini plaza (2 other businesses: Mattress Store + Cuban Restaurant), so our foot traffic is limited. We are approximately 70% Delivery and 30% Carry Out. We make all our dough and sauce fresh in house, as well as using fresh vegetables. My personal background comes from being an area supervisor with Papa John’s Pizza (in this area), so that is where my knowledge in marketing and operations come from.

I am trying to build my brand as a competition against the chains. While I know this is not a “smart” option, but my motivation lies in the challenge and being a younger owner (only 25) I have a lot of the energy to push myself above and beyond. I offer a quality product with fresher ingredients, but still compete with pricing (I offer a $7.99 online carry out, a $12 Any Way 14" up to 5 toppings or specialties).

I have seen a lot of good success but are still hearing people say, “Are you guys new, we’ve never heard of you”, and having been open almost 2 years it is a bit of a let down. So I would like to put an emphasis on branding (I currently have a successful direct mail campaign going with TheMailShark but would like to do some more frequent advertising with RedPlum, TV, and Radio ads). As such I am looking for a way to really brand myself. I have my logo viewable on my online ordering through HungerRush at http://unclenickspizza.hungerrush.com. I am looking to add a tag line to it that people can recognize. The best I have come up with so far is “The Quality of a Mom and Pop with the Convenience of a Chain” which I shortened to “Mom & Pop Quality - Chain Convenience”. Any thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

I’ll make you feel better… I’ve been open for 9 years, and every time I send a direct mail drop I invariably get at least one person that comes and tells me how excited they are to try the “new place”. And when I ask if they’re new to the area, the invariably say something like “No, we’ve lived here for 15 years.”

You WANT people to think of you as a Mom & Pop, so I wouldn’t put the word “chain” any where near your logo! “Chain”, used in the context of a restaurant, has a very negative connotation in people’s minds, even though most of us regularly frequent them.

In your post above you mentioned “quality” and “fresh” and “homemade sauce”… that seems to be your differentiation, so why do you want to push “convenient”?

All that aside, branding is not something you achieve in a tagline… I think too much time and energy is spent on logos and taglines that nobody cares about besides us owners. You know where my logo goes on all of my ads? In the bottom left hand corner, and it’s pretty small. The headline is what sells.

A “brand” is created by going about your business, and your name and logo then become synonymous with it. You build the brand from the inside out, over time. How your customers are greeted, how you answer the phone, your service levels, a smiley happy face across the counter, consistent product and experience… That’s how people eventually get the warm and fuzzies over your brand.

Did McDonald’s make millions because of the golden arches? Nope, they provided a good experience and consistent product that families (and especially kids) loved and those feelings were transferred to the arches.

Same goes for the Nike swoosh. The swoosh didn’t sell any sneakers, Michael Jordan did. Over time that logo became synonymous with greatness because people connected it with Jordan. They could have just used a red dot as a logo.

I guess my point is don’t spend too much time worrying about something like a tagline. That time would be much better spent writing the copy for your next ad - the stuff that actually sells.

First, I echo Pipers suggestion to lose the reference to the chains in your tagline…outa sight, outa mind.

Also, I just went to your website to check you out a little. It looks like I would have to establish an account with you just to LOOK AT THE MENU. That just ain’t right. I even tried clicking on “Order”, but still no menu or prices, only another screen looking for registration, adresses, etc… Most folks, especially the ones you want to attract (new customers) want to know what you offer and what your prices are. They can’t even tell what style of pizza you offer without first registering on your site…FIX IT. If they have to register before even seeing what it is that you’re selling, they will just move on to the next pizza joint…you don’t yet have that brand you want, so they won’t be lining up to “register”. Your website would also be the place to tell your story, with an “About” option that would explain that the dough, the, sauce, the whole 9 yards are made right here, by you, with fresh ingredients and etc etc. And a few pictures of the staff mixing dough, prepping sauce and baking pies would go a long way too…reinforcement that you really are a mom and pop operation.

How bout something like “Homemade To Keep Ya Smiling”, or “Mom & Pop, Nonstop”, or “Fresh Means Fresh, Taste It”.

Piper and Piedad,

Thank you very much for the thought out repsonses, I appreciate the information you have provided. after originally posting this we tried to come up with a couple of other taglines to use such as “When Better Isn’t Enough” or “When Quality Matters”, something that emphasizes our quality product.

As far as the website, it is an online portal provided by Hugerrush (Reventions Online System), I imagine it would go a long way to spend the money to develop an actual website with a menu, company information etc.

Thank you again for the information, a lot of good points!

If you don’t have the time and/or money to get a site developed go to Weebly and create it. You’ll have a full-blown website in about 2 hours. You can do everything by drag and drop if you don’t have any experience making web pages.

For an online menu I use openmenu.com. You can use the free option and embed it directly into your website and Facebook. When you make a change, it changes across every platform automatically.