Grow Your Business. Grow Your Life.

Marketing 101: Branding

Business Branding

A Mindset for Success Is One of Clarity

Know Your Market

This morning Karl and I had breakfast at a restaurant that had been out of town and that recently moved downtown.

Santa Fe is a tourism-based economy, especially downtown. In their previous location, the restaurant catered to locals. However, the locals downtown and the tourists that come to Santa Fe are quite different than the locals just a few miles away. In part it’s because we expect a ‘tourist quality’ meal and experience downtown while something from our ‘hometown’ is less expensive and less formal. In other words, the brand is totally different.

Santa Fe also has it’s favorite coffee houses. There are some that loud and crowded and some that are a bit empty. One of the most crowded always finds my friend searching for a bite for breakfast or lunch, which they don’t really have.

Branding Basics: Be You, Be Beneficial

consider your market when brandingBranding has to be a balance between being true to your passion and what you want to deliver to your market. On the one hand, you want to love what you do because you’ll be doing it plenty. On the other hand, if a market doesn’t understand what you offer or the benefits thereof, then you might find that your biz is starving even in a thriving economy.

And if the economy you are experiencing is weak, that’s all the more reason to be aware of and sensitive to your market.

Our Case Study Of My Morning Restaurant Continued

Santa Fe is called “The City Different” for a reason. Whether you think it is good or bad, from a branding perspective this means that things aren’t business as usual. It means things are ‘very Santa Fe’.

This restaurant’s name is “Jalapenos”, which to our ears has a faster-food, home cooking feel. In the restaurant they had two portraits of Freda Khalo, who is a cultural icon. Why not re-brand as “Frida’s”?

Can The Name Of The Restaurant Make Such A Difference?

Of course, it just depends on your market. Knowing your market is not always easy or automatic, but if you know who your ideal clients or customers are, then being sure to fit into their lifestyle can make or break breakfast sales in this example.

If you are in a big city, it may not matter – or you may have more competition and it might matter even more. Changing your name, brand and image doesn’t have to change much about your biz. Jalapenos, for example, could just add more images of Freda. It would require changing the sign out front, but the people who would love to go to a Freda Khalo restaurant/café would surely offset the cost.

Good Food Alone Doesn’t Sell

business brandingAs a marketing expert, something I run into often is biz owners and entrepreneurs who speak as though they are trying to convince the world that they have a great product or offering. Jalapenos is like this, they have great food and at a great price. They should be crowded for this reason alone, but there was only one other man at breakfast in a restaurant that could easily seat 50.

Whether a book should be judged by its cover or not, it happens. That’s because the cover tells us a lot about the book. Two lovers on the cover conveys one message; a vampire offers a different kind of adventure and a picture of a chef means that this might not even be a story, but rather recipes.

A successful mindset in biz will recognize this. Knowing that the first message you get across about your name, through your tag line/slogan or through any images that people first see will help you understand how to sell your offerings on first sight.

There are ways to make sure that your brand is true to your vision while evoking the interest of your target audience. When you are clear about how that audience will perceive what they are looking for, you’ll want to make sure that your book cover, your brand, is appealing. No one will engage with the best product or service if the cover brand turned them off. Instead they will make an assumption and miss out on what they truly want, and you’ll miss out on a sale.

As biz owners and entrepreneurs we have to be aware of and work with our image and brand. In some cases we get lucky and word of mouth or our location does all the selling for us. However, for the other 90% of us, we have to be a little wiser and more responsible, making sure to be seen as we want to be seen and as our potential clients or customers want to see us.

Yes, for most businesses, life brings us the challenge of making a great burrito and then branding it successfully. As entrepreneurs, we are up to the challenge because we knew having our own biz wasn’t going to be too easy, right? So, we expand our horizons, learn a little about marketing, branding, bookkeeping, taxes….. and, if we’re smart, we hire out the things we don’t know as much about so that we can focus on our passion and making the best burritos, regardless of our restaurant’s name.


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