Fast Food Wrapped Up In a Twist

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Chipotle is not your stereotypical fast food restaurant chain. After experiencing Chipotle one time, you will forever be done with the regret that often follows eating the traditional fast food burger and fries. Founded in 1993 in Denver, Colorado, Chipotle Mexican Grill has grown from a single, small restaurant to a worldwide phenomenon with over 1600 outlets in 44 U.S. states and 4 different countries.

While Chipotle is classified in the fast casual segment of the dining industry, you would never know while eating it. You won’t experience the typical “regret factor” that makes you question your fast food decision 45-minutes later when you’re trying to digest. That’s because they make good on their promise to use organic, fresh ingredients and naturally raised meat – as reflected in the company’s mission statement: Food With Integrity. This mission is further brought to life with vegetarian options such as vegetable burritos, salads, and Sofritas (shredded tofu braised with chili and spices).

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There’s also an intriguing mystery about Chipotle’s menu that many customers (except the extremely loyal) may not know. There is a secret menu. This menu has interesting options which one cannot find on the standard restaurant menu, such as Quesaritos and Burritodillas. This has created compelling interest for loyal brand fans known as “Chipotle addicts”, like myself, who are looking for a new experience each time we go to Chipotle. When ordering off the secret menu, the friendly employees might even give you a knowing smirk or wink congratulating you for being an “expert”. These “secret” additions to Chipotle’s menu, as well as their interesting packaging which contains “passionate ramblings” such as, “I think we could be really good together”, paired with a picture of a burrito, is a TWIST in the fast food business which separates them from most other fast food competitors.

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Chipotle also stands out from the rest of the fast food shops thanks to its use of technology for an easier, more customer-friendly experience. If you are worried that the line will be too long or if you’re in a rush, you can use their mobile “Chipotle Ordering” app to give your order in advance. And there’s always the more traditional option to phone in and place your order.

Another important characteristic that Chipotle has which differs it from the rest of its competitors is their casual, yet vibrant atmosphere. In every Chipotle you can always count on lively music like reggae or salsa, or other up-beat, fast-paced music to go along with friendly employees who can make your day brighter.

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Chipotle appeals to a wide variety of customers but seems to have a special spot in the hearts of teenage boys such as myself. Their recent prom promotion is a great example of how well they know their target market. Knowing that it is prom season and that Men’s Warehouse will be filled with tuxedo-renting, burrito-craving teenage boys, They partnered with Men’s Warehouse to give each buying customer a coupon good for a Men’s Warehouse discount and a free order of chips and guacamole at Chipotle.

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Three things you can learn from Chipotle to TWIST with your own brand:

  • Don’t just promise a differentiated benefit – deliver on it with every touch point.
  • Create secret rituals that can connect with your customers to make them feel special and want to be brand ambassadors.
  • Look for unusual partnerships that are trying to reach the same target audience for partnering marketing opportunities.

Conclusion?

Chipotle has a used a number of techniques in order to expand their business, but simply by being unique and reliable Chipotle has sprung forward and now competes (and holds it’s own) in the same arenas as some of the largest names in the business.

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About the author:

Austin Glickstern is a BrandTwist intern and a senior graduating from Dobbs Ferry High School, NY.  For the next four years he will be attending the University of Connecticut where he will study Business.  Some of Austin’s hobbies include playing sports, watching movies, and going to Chipotle often for a couple of huge burritos.

 

If you would like to be a BrandTwist guest blogger, please contact Jamie@herculiz.com

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Dutch Bros. Coffee: Brewers of Brand Personality

The Dutch Bros. brand has built a solid and enthusiastic customer base and gives takeaways that any business can start using to build up their following.  Read about guest blogger Chris Garrett in his bio below.  If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

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Founded in 1992 in Oregon, Dutch Bros. Coffee Company has become a giant in its market out West. As a simple drive-thru coffee stand, you wouldn’t expect a fervent following of their brand. But drive for 5 minutes in downtown Boise, Idaho and you’ll see a rash of Dutch Bros. bumper stickers gracing our cars. Out here, we love our Dutch Bros.- and here’s why.

WHAT’S THEIR ANGLE?

BRANDING SURFACES 

As a drive-thru, Dutch Bros. doesn’t have the opportunity to use in-house branding like custom wall murals, floor runners, or signage that most other enterprises rely on. Instead, they have embraced the philosophy that everything is a branding surface, especially their customers. With an online store full of desirable merchandise bearing their logos and catchphrases, often geared towards the ski and cycling cultures popular in the West, Dutch Bros. hasn’t had any trouble finding space on which to advertise.

MULTIPLE SIMULTANEOUS CAMPAIGNS

Dutch Bros. has utilized a branding tactic of running more than one phrase and logo at one time. Normally, this could be a mistake, as too many marketing campaigns at once tend to muddy the message and make a brand less recognizable instead of more. Dutch Bros. makes it work by being trendy and using phrases and logos that are anything but generic.

The popular Dutch Mafia logo doesn’t even mention coffee- it’s a shady-looking fellow holding a steaming cup. But everyone around here knows that it’s Dutch Bros. coffee in the cup and everyone around here seems to enjoy putting this somewhat sneaky logo on their cars, bags, and clothing.  Along with “Dutch Love” and the new “Rebel” line of energy drinks, the Dutch Mafia campaign has become something of an in-joke for people who know where to get the best coffee in town.

POSITIVE MESSAGE

When you pull through a Dutch Bros. drive-thru, you can bet that you’ll be greeted enthusiastically by a chipper employee. The overtly friendly attitude at every single Dutch Bros. location is a hallmark of their quality of service- it reflects the positivity and friendliness expressed in the Dutch Creed. The owners advocate optimism, good will, and affability- all communicated through their employees.

The abundance of positivity and the playful nature of their campaigns has garnered a rarely seen level of brand loyalty, particularly among the Millennial crowd who appreciates personality. The fact that Dutch Bros. is a Western company lends a feeling of community, despite their decidedly non-local spread from Arizona to Idaho. Their locations are locally owned and the main company engages in multimillion dollar contributions to charitable causes. It’s hard not to root for them.

WHY DOES THIS WORK?

The reason these approaches have proved so effective for Dutch Bros. is that they have sought out support from their community with genuine love and a quirky sense of humor, both important for reaching younger consumers.  The feeling of easy humor and friendliness spans from their mission statement to their campaign designs to their employees to the kinds of swag they offer. They know their general audience and are making the most of the model they’ve embraced.

 HOW CAN WE LEARN FROM DUTCH BROS. COFFEE COMPANY?

The most concrete tool to take from the Dutch Bros. toolbox is the use of swag. The online store, full of higher-quality branded wares, is an extraordinary thing to pull off. What some companies would be giving away as promotional swag, Dutch Bros. is able to sell for profit. From the old-fashioned windmill on their cups to the new Rebel energy drink line they’ve released, it’s all presented artfully on swag you’d actually want to own. Expand your brand in your merchandise by investing in some cool offerings that appeal to the younger generations.

The most important lesson is cohesion.  People are able to think of the Dutch Bros. brand as if there’s one guy in charge of it all, and he’s a pretty cool guy. Some brands suffer from multiple personalities, dissociating themselves from their campaigns or stretching themselves into too many directions. By following Dutch Bros.’ example, you can learn to present multiple ideas across multiple mediums without losing track of your message.

About guest blogger Chris Garrett:

Chris Garrett is a writer, designer, and branding consultant. He, like everyone else in Boise, loves Dutch Bros. On Twitter he’s @GiantGarrettArt.

How Uniforms Influence Employees and Their Company Brand

In this entry, How Uniforms Influence Employees and Their Company Brand, Jennifer Busch, explains how uniforms play an important role in not only influencing customer expectations, but that one important element, often forgotten, is how uniforms heavily influence employees as well. This is part of our guest blogger series. You can read more about Jennifer in her bio below. If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

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We all know that a company’s uniforms can say a lot about its employees. But how about what employees say about their uniforms?

Most companies choose uniforms to reflect their brand—perhaps understated formal suits for a luxury hotel, or casual and colorful outfits for a family-friendly park. Uniforms reveal a tremendous amount about an organization and communicate to customers an image of professionalism and reliability. Though uniforms play an important role in influencing customer expectations, one element often forgotten is how uniforms heavily influence employees as well.

Research in the hospitality and service industries show that employees who enjoy wearing their uniforms had higher self-perceptions of job performance, better attitudes about their work, and higher levels of job satisfaction. Likewise, employees who disliked their uniforms had lower levels of job satisfaction. Levels of employee satisfaction directly correlate with customer satisfaction.

So what are the elements that go into creating uniforms that employees will be proud to wear? There are two main considerations, appearance and function.

Appearance. Employees care about how they look. An attractive uniform can greatly enhance self-esteem, which in turn improves attitude. One extremely important detail is the fit. Baggy or tight garments can make employees feel self-conscious and less confident in interacting with customers. Other important details include color, fabric, and style, which should reflect the company brand.

Function. Uniforms should be sturdy enough to handle daily wear and tear. They also should not inhibit job performance—imagine a waiter’s pockets not being able to fit a notepad, or a bellboy’s jacket being so overdesigned with buttons that they pop off every time he is lifting luggage. Impractical uniforms can increase stress and make job performance difficult.

In short, well-designed uniforms can build employee self-confidence and morale. In particular, studies show that employees believe that their credibility increases while wearing a formal style uniform, making them far more confident and professional while interacting with customers. This translates to better service, and in turn positively affects a company’s long-term profitability. It’s what researchers call the “Apple Store Effect.” When managers and employees feel connected to the company, they exhibit higher levels of loyalty and commitment to the job, which translates to better customer connections.

About guest blogger Jennifer Busch:

Jennifer is the fourth generation of the Busch family to run I. Buss & Allan Uniform Company. Prior to joining the family business, Jennifer worked in the field of psychological research and also flourished in the creative industries. She now channels her creativity into her work as the owner and lead designer for I. Buss & Allan Uniform. She has designed unique looks for many of New York’s most renowned owners and developers. I.Buss & Allan’s client list includes hotels and clubs, real estate companies, privately owned firms, The NYPD,  banks and Business Improvement Districts.

Think Inside the Box for Better Branding

Birchbox was built on a single observation: It’s difficult for many people (like new parents) to get out and into stores to sample new products. So why not bring those samples directly to their homes? Birchbox does just that.

PACKAGE THE GAP AND DELIVER

Similar to what Rough Trade did with music, Birchbox took the “Product of the Month Club” concept and put a twist on it.  Instead of one monthly product, Birchbox delivers several samples of cosmetic, skin care, bath, beauty and lifestyle products all bundled into a beautiful Birchbox and sent direct to their subscribers door. They offer subscriptions for both men’s and women’s products, and each is branded with its own unique colors, look and feel.

ENGAGE YOUR MARKET; EXPAND ON WHAT YOUR BRAND OFFERS

But beyond delivering a new box of samples each month, Birchbox delivers brand value to their customers by giving them a total lifestyle website, where they can access user reviews of the latest products, have the opportunity to purchase additional goods and receive tips on grooming, fashion and beauty through their online magazines and blog.

Birchbox, like Brad’s Raw Foods, created a unique promise by filling a gap. Birchbox addresses people’s need for shopping convenience and their desire to feel connected, as their tagline expresses, Discover Beauty Better™        

CURATE AND CONQUER

Think about ways your brand may be able to address an unmet need and make it easier for consumers to say “yes” to giving you a try. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, will provide the tools to create fresh ideas and help your business build trial and customer loyalty. Get information about priority registration for Brand School’s next session and receive our free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

This post is part of our Brands That Twist series celebrating innovative brands. Check out  other breakthrough brands and learn more ways to grow YOUR business here.

“I learned a lot from Brand School.  It inspired me to think outside the box. I have a much deeper understanding of how to effectively build a brand.” – Mike Sass, Entrepreneur

Sweeten Your Brand’s Impact with a Meaningful Cause

Can a product brand have a higher purpose and not seem like it’s just jumping on the “cause” band wagon? Well, we believe that sweetriot has made the cut with grace and impact.

sweetriot makes chocolate candy. Sounds simple enough, but they have taken their brand to another level altogether. They are a mission-based business that wants to “create a more just and celebrated multicultural world for our next generation”. They embrace this idea throughout their company and in every area of brand expression.

How do they succeed in clearly defining their brand promise to make their product and purpose stand out?

Their name says it all. sweetriot immediately implies they are making their voice heard, that they welcome others into the process, and they do it while creating a sweeter place, literally and figuratively. In their own words: “A sweetriot is a joyful celebration of culture, diversity, and understanding — it is the opposite of a civil riot, which is dangerous, violent, and oppressing.”

They are consistent and creative with their use of verbal identity. CEO, Sarah E Endline, calls herself the “Chief Rioter.” Customers are asked to “Join the riot.”  Their chocolate treats are called “peaces.” Their copy reinforces their dedication to fair-trade and social causes that better the communities from where their materials are sourced.Their tagline is “Fixing the world one ‘peace’ at a time. Sweet for the world & sweet for you.”

Their mission is integrated as a part of every aspect of their business – it is not an add-on. It is integral to their products, partnerships and people. They walk the talk.

Their logo helps tell their story. Their logo is a thumbprint and also the globe. Immediately we know sweetriot is aware that they are leaving their personal mark on the world and it serves as a reminder to us that we are, too (everyone has a thumbprint and everyone lives on Earth).  Based in NYC, USA, sweetriot’s brand colors of red, white and blue reflect their company’s origin.

Their packaging is social and unique. sweetriot supports the emerging artists community by featuring works that embrace sweetriot’s culture on the candy wrappers. Works of art to be featured are selected by votes from website visitors.

sweetriot put a creative twist on their brand by directly involving their market and community and by consistently reminding their customers that when they purchase a sweetriot product they are doing more than simply satisfying a chocolate craving.

If executed with authenticity and care, your customers may respond with loyalty and enthusiasm when they realize that by connecting with your product they are in turn contributing to a larger community. Identifying associations that resonate on a meaningful level with your target market takes strategic thinking. Incorporating your promise into your brand identity takes planning. At Brand School, the highly effective, premier branding program, we deliver the tools and steps you need to sweeten your brand and its connection to your market. Receive more information about Brand School’s next session and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

This post is part of our Brands That Twist series celebrating innovative brands. Read about other breakthrough brands and more ways to grow your business and brand here.

“I’ve taken quite a few courses on branding and marketing overall. However, what attracted me to Brand School was Julie’s experience with branding from a corporate level.” – Barbara Wanzo, Non-profit Homeowner Services.