Why is it that some small businesses seem to nail their brand from day one while others really struggle to carve out their unique niche?
Over the weekend I visited Burgh’ers, a local restaurant that opened in the fall of 2010 and even though they’re still relatively new, they already have their unique brand figured out.
So what makes them different? Let’s take a look at 6 key ingredients to building a small business brand.
1. Clever Logo
Many businesses (large and small) struggle with finding a logo that embodies who they are and what they’re allabout. Burgh’ers logo clearly highlights 3 unique aspects to their brand 1) local (not a national franchise) 2) organic (they use seasonally local, all natural, chemical free, farm raised ingredients) 3) A silhouette of the Pittsburgh skyline. With just their logo, they have articulated what makes them unique in their marketplace.
2. Clever Business Name
Clever names are risky—when they work, they work. When they don’t, well I’m sure you can think of plenty of examples of businesses that got the short end of the clever stick when it came to picking their name. Burgh’ers works. Customers immediately know they will likely be able to get a great burger and the name will also pull on their loyalty to the Pittsburgh region as will the name of many of their burgers which were inspired by neighborhoods such as Forrest Hills, Shadyside, Bloomfield, and Polish Hill.
3. Outstanding Customer Service
Local genuinely felt local--the entire staff seemed very customer service focused, greeted customers by name, and regularly asked patrons if they liked their meals (how many times can you remember a manager at Applebees or any other national chain do that?).
The staff seemed to feed off of the energy of the owner/chef, bringing a genuine passion for their work.
4. Unique and Friendly Atmosphere
Great service goes a long way towards creating great atmosphere,but Burgh’ers took things a few steps further.
Their walls were decorated with prints by a local artist which not only reinforces the local leg of their 3-legged branding stool, but also provides them with a low cost alternative to dress up their space.
They also used stainless steel plates that have a unique design and character to them—something you don’t come across at most restaurants.
5. Quality Product
All the fancy logos and cleverly named sandwiches are great, but if the quality isn’t there, neither will your business.
Beyond organic ingredients, the burgers and fresh cut fries we had were delicious—possibly the best I can remember and that’s going to keep customers coming back.
6. Targeted Marketing and Messaging
Part of what makes many small businesses unique is the story of how they got started.
The Burgh’ers story is displayed right on their homepage along with a list of the local farmers at which they buy their ingredients (again reinforcing their organic brand).
Their website is simple, clean, and easy to navigate.
Building a great brand for your business usually takes a lot (and I mean A LOT) of pre-planning.
In the case of Burgh’ers, it’s obvious they had a clear idea of how they wanted to position themselves in the marketplace and use that vision to guide everything they do—from their menu offerings to the content of their Facebook status updates.
And based on the lack of any leftovers from my dinner plate (see below), I think it's safe to say I'll be coming back very soon.
By: Shawn Graham
[Image: Flickr user Tmbako the Jaguar]