How to leverage branding to increase growth

Quick-service restaurants possess some of today’s most powerful branding. The right branding can greatly impact a company’s potential for growth and is especially important when introducing a new business.


Quick-service restaurants possess some of today’s most powerful branding. Say the word McDonald’s and everyone immediately thinks of the classic golden arches, the red accents and the “I’m Lovin’ It” tagline. For KFC, the colonel comes readily to mind. And with Taco Bell, the name itself directly implies the bell that’s embedded in the logo. These QSR leaders lean heavily into their branding to maintain positioning in a competitive market. Meanwhile, lesser-known and emerging brands are keen to get diners’ attention through their own brand assets.

One of the ways in which QSRs can better understand the profit potential of their brand assets is through “wisdom of the crowd” testing that leverages behavioral science to understand how consumers feel about branding.

Branding is the face of food

The right branding can greatly impact a company’s potential for growth. It’s why it’s especially important to get the positioning right when introducing a new business. Branding serves as a first impression for customers when they’re exposed to a restaurant in person or online. Everything from the logo to the tagline to the brand mascot contributes to the overall look and feel of a QSR.

But the launch of a new restaurant is not the only time that brands need to carefully examine the impact their assets have on consumers. As QSRs evolve, there will be moments when it is necessary or advantageous to revamp branding. From Baskin-Robbins’ 2022 refresh to Burger King’s rebrand in 2021 to ditching Donuts from the Dunkin’ name in 2019, there are numerous companies that have recently undergone a rebirth.

With Baskin Robbins, the company retained the hidden 31 in its logo, but refined the design, making it more minimalist and moving from pink and blue to pink and brown.

Burger King also chose a simpler route when ushering in a fresh logo after more than 20 years. It also introduced an updated typeface, color palette, packaging and more.


Lastly, Dunkin retained its classic orange and pink-powered personality but removed a key ingredient from its name so as not to be defined solely by one breakfast pastry.


Tips for testing key assets

So, how can brands ensure that these assets will make a mark with the public? What’s the best approach for testing them before a big unveiling and the costly process of installing new signage, packaging, uniforms and more?

Internal surveys and focus groups with employees across different departments and levels can capture insights from those with extensive knowledge of the company and competitors. External focus groups can gauge the interest of consumers who may or may not already be familiar with the brand. Meanwhile, idea testing that leverages “wisdom of the crowd” methodology can accurately demonstrate the profit potential of different assets.

For “wisdom of the crowd” to function, it’s important to survey a larger group. Crowds are proven to better predict success compared to smaller groups of people because they don’t have a vested interest in the ideas. A sample size of 500 will ensure the results are representative of the wider population.

For the most accurate results, testing should determine if respondents would invest in the QSR with the proposed brand asset, not whether they would make a purchase from the restaurant. This reduces bias by having participants focus on how they believe other people will behave. If it’s a strong idea that they think other people will like, they’ll want to invest. Thus, testing can determine predicted acceptance with a trading game that asks respondents whether they would buy or sell shares in the idea and then recording their decision-making speed.

Ideally, testing will also tap into how people feel about the assets, as emotions can help QSRs uncover areas for improvement. Perhaps the colors used in a logo evoke anger or sadness, when the goal should be happiness. Maybe a brand mascot is causing people to feel fear or disgust. Asking about the reasons behind these emotions can yield insightful comments that designers and marketers can use to make improvements to future iterations of brand assets. Testing various logos or mascots at the same time can even help narrow down which will be more effective for long-term brand building.

A building block for QSRs

Strong branding helps restaurants drive market share growth and profit gain in an increasingly competitive industry. Every QSR wants their logo, brand mascot, color palette or tagline to be instantly recognizable. To become a familiar part of the cultural landscape, branding needs to evoke the right emotions in people. Through ideas testing, QSRs can better understand whether brand assets will make a mark with the general public, which is key to staying top of mind with hungry diners who have a multitude of restaurant options to choose from today.


Ways to attract buyers with 3D Architectural Renderings

Living room of Vernon Blvd

After you finally jumped into the digital illustration train and have started impressing your customers with photorealistic architectural rendering examples its time to take the most of them and find more ways to catch your customers eye. There are a lot of things that can be done.

If you are outsourcing this services to an architecture rendering firm it will be a good idea to communicate this to them. We will list several important elements to take into consideration, many can be a bit obvious but you may have overlooked them.

1. Use realistic elements on interiors, such as fireplaces, lit candles or water sources.

2. Drop 3d models into your great architectural renderings as if someone lived there, elements such as half-full glasses, clothes, even pets are perfect to increase realism.

3. Don’t be afraid to create or incorporate a greenhouse on an empty space in the garden, or even a fish-tank. Every detail that is added will motivate your customers and will make them experience realism in your render.

4. Avoid 3 point lightning. If lightning seems artificial your render will quickly pass as a fake architectural illustration and your customers will not be impressed of your future project. It will be difficult to communicate the complete idea of how it will look like in reality.

5. Keep ambiences as empty as possible. If you place too many three dimensional models the rendering will take longer to complete and most of your customers attention will be lost on non important objects, plus they will forget to look at the property design you are presenting.

6. Use colors to your advantage. Keep colour theory in mind when you are choosing textures for your scene, remember that lightning also needs coloring as well as shadows.

7. Don’t doubt to make the same visualization on different times of the day. A special customer, like a bar entrepreneur, may want to see how its project appears during the night time.

8. Use your branding on the renderings. If there is a television make it broadcast your brand, if there are shirts use the company logo on them, personalize your digital selling material.

9. Don’t hesitate on using an architecture visualization inside another render, computer, television screens and even projectors are useful for this. You can setup a visual inside so that it reflects another interesting idea you have.

10. Blend your computer architectural rendering examples into one big tour. Adding a realistic architecture animation to your portfolio can really amaze your potential customers with your development.

11. Use ambience sounds for both: on 360 degrees virtual user controlled tours and on digital animated walkthroughs. They will make them interesting and will keep your customers attention for a longer time.

Which is better – App or Mobile website?

When it comes to deciding whether to build a native app or a mobile website, the most appropriate choice really depends on your end goals. If you are developing an interactive game an app is probably going to be your best option. But if your goal is to offer mobile-friendly content to the widest possible audience then a mobile website is probably the way to go. In some cases you may decide you need both a mobile website and a mobile app, but it’s pretty safe to say that it rarely makes sense to build an app without already having a mobile website in place.

Generally speaking, a mobile website should be considered your first step in developing a mobile web presence, whereas an app is useful for developing an application for a very specific purpose that cannot be effectively accomplished via a web browser.

Advantages of a Mobile Website vs. Native Apps

If your goals are primarily related to marketing or public communications, a mobile website is almost always going to make sense as a practical first step in your mobile outreach strategy. This is because a mobile website has a number of inherent advantages over apps, including broader accessibility, compatibility and cost-effectiveness.

  • Immediacy – Mobile Websites Are Instantly Available
    A mobile website is instantly accessible to users via a browser across a range of devices (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, etc). Apps on the other hand require the user to first download and install the app from an app marketplace before the content or application can be viewed – a significant barrier between initial engagement and action/conversion.

  • Compatibility – Mobile Websites are Compatible Across Devices
    A single mobile website can reach users across many different types of mobile devices, whereas native apps require a separate version to be developed for each type of device. Furthermore, mobile website URLs are easily integrated within other mobile technologies such as SMS, QR Codes and near field communication (NFC).

  • Updatability – Mobile Websites Can Be Updated Instantly
    A mobile website is much more dynamic than an app in terms of pure flexibility to update content. If you want to change the design or content of a mobile website you simply publish the edit once and the changes are immediately visible; updating an app on the other hand requires the updates to be pushed to users, which then must be downloaded in order to update the app on each type of device.

  • Findability – Mobile Websites Can be Found Easily
    Mobile websites are much easier for users to find because their pages can be displayed in search results and listed in industry-specific directories, making it easy for qualified visitors to find you. Most importantly, visitors to your regular website can be automatically sent to your mobile site when they are on a handheld (using device-detection). In contrast, the visibility of apps are largely restricted to manufacturer app stores.

  • Shareability – Mobile Websites Can be Shared Easily by Publishers, and Between Users
    Mobile website URLs are easily shared between users via a simple link (e.g. within an email or text message, Facebook or Twitter post). Publishers can easily direct users to a mobile website from a blog or website, or even in print. An app simply cannot be shared in this fashion.

  • Reach – Mobile Websites Have Broader Reach
    Because a mobile website is accessible across platforms and can be easily shared among users, as well as search engines, it has far greater reach capability than a native app.

  • LifeCycle – Mobile Websites Can’t be Deleted
    The average shelf-life of an app is pretty short, less than 30 days according to some research, so unless your app is something truly unique and/or useful (ideally, both), it’s questionable how long it will last on a user’s device. Mobile websites on the other hand are always available for users to return to them.

  • A Mobile Website Can be an App!
    Just like a standard website, mobile websites can be developed as database-driven web applications that act very much like native apps. A mobile web application can be a practical alternative to native app development.

  • Time and Cost – Mobile Websites are Easier and Less Expensive
    Last but certainly not least, mobile website development is considerably more time and cost-effective than development of a native app, especially if you need to have a presence on different platforms (requiring development of multiple apps).

  • Support and Sustainability
    The investment considerations of app vs website don’t end with the initial launch; properly supporting and developing an app (upgrades, testing, compatibility issues and ongoing development) is more much more expensive and involved than supporting a website over time.

The investment considerations of app vs website don’t end with the initial launch; properly supporting and developing an app (upgrades, testing, compatibility issues and ongoing development) is more much more expensive and involved than supporting a website over time.

When Does an App Make Sense?

Despite the many inherent benefits of the mobile web, apps are still very popular, and there are a number of specific use scenarios where an app will be your best choice. Generally speaking, if you need one of the following, an app makes sense:

  • Interactivity/Gaming – for interactive games (think Angry Birds) an app is almost always going to be your best choice, at least for the foreseeable future.
  • Regular Usage/Personalization – If your target users are going to be using your app in a personalized fashion on a regular basis (think EverNote) then an app provides a great way to do that.
  • Complex Calculations or Reporting – If you need something that will take data and allow you to manipulate it with complex calculations, charts or reports (think banking or investment) an app will help you do that very effectively.
  • Native Functionality or Processing Required – mobile web browsers are getting increasingly good at accessing certain mobile-specific functions such as click-to-call, SMS and GPS. However, if you need to access a user’s camera or processing power an app will still do that much more effectivley.
  • No connection Required – If you need to provide offline access to content or perform functions without a network/wireless connection then an app makes sense.

As with any project, when developing an app you want to ensure that your are getting an optimal return on your investment. What you want to avoid at all costs is the needless and expensive exercise of building an app to do something basic that can be achieved with a mobile website.

In Conclusion

As long as mobile remains a relatively new frontier, the “app vs web” question will remain a very real consideration for organizations seeking to establish a mobile presence. If your mobile goals are primarily marketing-driven, or if your aim is to deliver content and establish a broad mobile presence that can be easily shared between users and found on search engines, then the a mobile website is the logical choice. On the other hand, if your goal is interactive engagement with users, or to provide an application that needs to work more like a computer program than a website, then an app is probably going to be required.

Basics of Real Estate Branding

The branding basics applicable to the real estate business are no different from branding in any other sector. The principles, of real estate branding, are the same, even if the applications are more specific and following the special dynamics of the business.

In fast growing markets for the real estate segment, like India, most companies would focus first on the operational and commercial side of the business; in other words how to build good projects, sell, deliver on time, and build new ones. With the development of the market, a small number of companies have started putting more focus on branding after they have discovered the economic power of a strong brand. At the same time, some other companies are still dealing with this sector in a commoditized mindset. Build, build, build; then sell, sell, sell. A basic corporate identity and few millions in communication would make them feel happy.

Starting by the basic concept of branding, it all boils down to that relationship at a human level between the brand and customers. It is about that trust, connection and affinity that the brand can establish and grow among customers and the general public in a certain markets. How to establish this connection, grow it and sustain it through time and geographies is all about the rules of good branding strategies.

The principle of “value creation” for customers and consumers is widely understood in the business and branding arena; however, the applications of this basic principle in a category like real-estate are quite complex.

Creating value starts with adding value to people’s life whether by offering them a better home, a better community, better facilities, a better investment, or simply a better business opportunity. When this value is created, delivered and perceived well by hundreds and thousands of customers, it will be transformed into an economic value linked directly to the brand equity or “good will” that this brand can create. In real estate, this notion of “value creation” is practically linking the cumulative positive performance of a company to the creation of a certain brand equity that will have immediate influence on the business and its success with future projects or joint-ventures.

Real estate brands that have managed to create value through a number of successful and sometimes iconic projects would benefit from a good reputation, equity and image in the market. This positive value is subject to growth and even to “transfer” to new projects that the brand is developing or even new markets where the brand is expanding.  The positive experience that people have had with the brand in the past could be expected from new projects provided that a good marketing and communication job is supporting the brand and its activities.

Marketing and communication role is very important in this process, especially in highlighting the endorsement role that the main brand is bringing to new projects. The core brand promise, values and personality should be clearly pronounced in all these projects. The immediate results of “value transfer” will be noticed when the new projects from this same brand will start reaping substantial acceptance and “good will” in a relatively very short time. The successes and credentials of the main brand will start traveling around the market and offer new experiences to new customers and different target groups.

Since the brand value is cumulated by the success of its projects and decreased by project failures and customers dissatisfaction; it is better on the long run to only concentrate on well planned and executed projects to optimize the chances of success and avoid the negative experiences that can drain the brand value.  Moreover, a brand that manages to transfer value from one project to another is a brand that can make substantial savings on marketing investments.

Branding and commodities goes in two opposite directions. As long as real estate companies are thinking in terms of “projects” and “developments” the real estate branding process cannot reach its full potential in terms of value creation. Therefore, when companies realize that they are not only building apartments, villas, houses, offices, malls and recreational centers but “communities” and “lifestyle” in general, the shift in thinking and in business will start happening. An idea like “community concept” will give a bigger role to the relationship between the brand and customers. This will project the brand role and relationship through time and make the creation and transfer of value a lifetime process. Real estate companies that are selling houses and apartments are selling bricks and mortar, while those who are marketing lifestyle are actually building connection and value.

If we look at what “Real Estate” companies are offering and try to find that core thing that customers of all types are looking for among all these offerings of “community life”, “all-in-one place”, “waterfront living”, “themed communities”, “good investment”, “branded developments”, the tallest, the biggest, the first, the everything…

All these claims and unique propositions will help real estate projects and companies and eventually appeal to customers with different needs and mindsets. But behind all these propositions we can find one Core Promise that real estate brands should be offering, it is the promise of a “better life”If you want to build a brand in real estate, never break that promise.


The Starbucks Counter brand

Prior to the creation of their “Uncola” counter-brand in 1967, 7-Up had survived for 38 years as a lemon-lime soft drink with the slogan, “You Like It. It Likes You.”

As in Judo, the secret of counter-branding is to use the weight and momentum of your opponent to your own advantage. In other words, hook your trailer to their truck and let them pull you along in their wake.

The steps in counter-branding are these:

1. List the attributes of the master brand. In the case of 7-Up, the master brand was “Cola: sweet, rich, brown.” Everything else was either a fruit flavor or root beer and all of those put together were relatively insignificant. “Cola” overwhelming dominated the mental category “soft drinks.”
2. Create a brand with precisely the opposite attributes. To accomplish this, 7-Up lost their lemon-lime description and became “The Uncola: tart, crisp, clear.”
3. Without using the brand name of your competitor, refer to yourself as the direct opposite of the master brand. 7-Up didn’t become UnCoke or UnPepsi as that would have been illegal. But when you’re up against an overwhelming competitor, you don’t need to name them. Everyone knows who they are.

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