3 commonalities among Lyfe Kitchen, Urban Plates, Baskin Robbins brand-building strategies

| by Elliot Maras
3 commonalities among Lyfe Kitchen, Urban Plates, Baskin Robbins brand-building strategies

Photo: https://depositphotos.com

The secret to building a successful brand has three parts: storytelling, club making and country building, according to branding expert Adrienne Weiss, who shared her insights during a session at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago.

Weiss pointed out how a variety of brands, including Nike, Lyfe Kitchen, Urban Plates and Baskin Robbins follow a specific formula.

Adrienne Weiss offers branding insights at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago.

1. Storytelling

Expanding on her first point, storytelling, Weiss said a brand is a story, not just a logo or a buzzword. A good example is Nike.

"Nike is a great story teller," said Weiss, who has worked with  a variety of brands, including Five Below, California Pizza Kitchen, Corner Bakery, Arby's, Popeyes, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin' Donuts, Church's Chicken, Golden Corral and Lyfe Kitchen. "The story is not about the shoes but about the customer."

Tailoring this message to her foodservice listeners, Weiss said, "It's not about you and how great your food is. It's answering the question, ‘what's in it for the guest?'"

2. Club creating

Her second point was that a solid brand is actually a club, meaning it must create a sense of belonging among customers. Weiss pointed to the late Steve Jobs as a brand builder who built clubness with his business idea.

3. Country building

Weiss said "a brand is a country," which refers to the fact that a brand contains its customers.

"When someone crosses the portal to your business, it comes alive," she said.

A brand accomplishes this through pictures and words.

"It's good to have that filter, those words and pictures that tell your story," she said. "You're always aiming for the biggest, timeless idea to hook your story to."

Lyfe Kitchen, a fast casual restaurant that offers "food with benefits," for example, use the letters in the name, "Lyfe," to tell the story: "Love Your Food Everyday."

"We're already inviting the guest into the brand," Weiss said of the restaurant's name.

Lyfe Kitchen has shopping bags that carry the slogans, "Love your food everyday," and "eat good, feel good, do good." The second slogan creates three siloes.

"You need a bag of genetics that holds the brand tight," Weiss said. "It invites everyone in."

Keep it simple

Brands should tell their stories in conversational ways.

One way that Lyfe Kitchen does this in its restaurants is by having an herb wall with live plants in glass containers that everyone can see.

Successful brands make both guests and staff feel part of the brand. In the case of Lyfe Kitchen, guests and staff alike filter through the Lyfe Kitchen idea. Both verbal and visual messages create the experience.

Weiss said restaurants can put messages in small places such as on straws.

Another Weiss client, Urban Plates, invites customers to "eat up; farm to plate & won't break the bank." The brand's message gets reinforced with phrases like "What's up," "slice up" (hand-carved entrees), "mix up" (hand-tossed salads),"pile up" (sandwiches), "stir up" (bowls) "rise up" (breakfast and bakery) and "drink up" (beverages)."

She also pointed to Baskin Robbins, which used wacky-looking letters to create the number 31 with the initials "BR."

"If you can get a symbol by itself that's recognizable that's separate from your story, that's fantastic," Weiss said.

GetGo Café + Market accomplished this with its words. GetGo employees wear shirts labeling them as "Go Getters."

Build A Bear Workshop, a children's toy store, created an experience that builds friendship and allows children to take their "bear friend" home.

"You're not building a bear, you're building a friend," Weiss said.

Weiss reminded attendees that the task of building a successful brand can be boiled down to her three distinct disciplines. Each of the three requires its own set of tasks, but the combination is what delivers a successful brand.


Topics: Food & Beverage, Marketing, Marketing / Branding / Promotion, National Restaurant Association

Companies: National Restaurant Association

Elliot Maras
Elliot Maras is the editor of KioskMarketplace.com and FoodTruckOperator.com.

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