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When Good Marketing Meets Poor Management

Posted by Donna Fischman on

Last weekend, Keith and I went out to eat at a popular Australian themed steakhouse with a gift card we had received during the holidays. Regardless on how you rate this particular franchise, the company does a great job driving in the crowds, so as is typical for a Saturday night, the parking lot and entryway we're packed. (Marketing Team: 1 point). We put our name on the list and were informed of a 45 minute wait before we would have a table and quickly headed over to the bar to have a cocktail and appetizer as we waited.

Finding spots right at the bar, we sat down and looked over the bar menus. They're stylistic pieces with fantastic photos of libations that look tantalizing in their frosted glasses with bright fruits and frosty heads. Well engineered, the marketing collaterals quickly led Keith to find fun shareable concoctions of moonshine and fruit served in a giant mason jar shaker...just the sort of creation he knew I would enjoy. (Marketing Team: 2 points, Boyfriend: 1 point).

Putting down the menus we finally had a chance to take in our surroundings as we waited for the bartender to take our order. As I sat there, I had the quiet realization that it would likely be awhile. Not because they were overwhelmed but because they lacked organization, discipline and attention to detail. 

Signs of mismanagement... 

As restauranteurs will tell you, a full bar (meaning one with a full liquor license) can be an amazing economic engine with even the smallest footprint and well-trained staff. When done right, a constant flow of drinks with a healthy margin can be created and poured from just a few square feet of well-stocked shelves and organized counter space. They can also enhance the experience and further emerge your customers into your brand and communicate a certain level of quality and care. Ideally, you should have the same high expectation of you bar and bartender as you do of your kitchen and and chef. But this is not what I saw.

As I sat on my tall stool, I had a vantage point that allowed me to see no only the bartenders at work but the lack of organization and adherence of basic franchise/good management rules of what should be allowed behind the serving surface. Here sat a Mc Donalds styrofoam cup, personal water bottle, chair piled with items and personal bags and purses amongst cleanly stacked dishes I witnessed kitchen staff deliver and place. Fuzzy characters made from craft Pom-poms were strapped with masking tape to the corner of the touch-screen register and suddenly I realized our seating area hadn't been wiped down after the last customer or two.

As predicted, it took the bartender over 20 minutes to even acknowledge us despite the fact she walked by us every 45 seconds. Our drink was not all that great and our appetizer never made it before our table was ready. The pattern continued as we sat at in our booth with ripped upholstery and burnt out light bulbs. The hostess neglected to give us our silverware with our menus so when our food finally did come, we had no way to eat it. And when Keith tried to order the Steak & Lobster Special he had seen on TV it was sold out (a common experience for us at this chain.) 

Actually, the entire night was riddled with small indicators of a restaurant not functioning at it's best and it's the perfect experience of Good Marketing Meeting Poor Management. The corporate marketing team does it's best to brand and bring us in the door but it's the local management that ensures our experience. In this case, the two were just not aligned.


Know When to Break the Rules

Posted by Donna Fischman on

One of the important characteristics of a logo is what's called the "Area of Non-Interference" - basically, the invisible shield of White Space around it so that is always is easily recognizable and not jammed up to other stuff. Typically it is calculated based off an element in the logo so that the space stays proportional no matter how large or small it is schedule to appear.

The problem...

But what do you do when your organization's identity is getting lost due to all the other (in this case event) branding that occurs in the course of the year? This is what was happening to a local non-profit focused on historic preservation and economic growth of the downtown area of Tehachapi, CA. Each year, Main Street Tehachapi puts on a half dozen events that not only draw thousands of residents and visitors to the quaint shopping district but helps to raise funds for their larger scope of work.

From Wine Walks to Chili Cook Offs - from Trunk or Treat to the weekly Farmers' Market - the group was buying original artwork six times a year, each and every year and for a non-profit, that really adds up. But worse yet, at the end of the year people remember the events and quirky, cooking chili peppers all while their logo and identity was typically nowhere in sight.

Our Solution...

In this case - we're not just bending the rules...We're breaking them! For this client, we said "lets throw out the textbook and decorate your logo (just as you do the town) so that your Identity REMAINS as part of the event branding" and Voila! We developed the logo with this use in mind and so the street sign design was not only easy to decorate - it actually plays homage to the seasonally changing charm of the historic downtown district. Now they have the first of a few embellished logos that helps keep the organization's name in front of thousands of folks as they promote and play host at their incredibly cool functions.

Now you tell us, Does it work? Check out the progression and options for Main Street Tehachapi's Harvest Wine Walk.

See the development process of the new logo.

Unique Marketing Solution

Posted by Donna Fischman on

You would be surprised to learn how many people visit the beautiful mountain community of Tehachapi and end up calling it home. Actually, I was one of them. The clean air, charming feel and friendly atmosphere give almost any city dweller a fresh perspective on life. So it naturally makes sense to market homes to visitors in Tehachapi the question is how?

Here's the Challenge...

Ads on maps, billboards and online efforts certainly all make sense. But what if you could have an attractive brochure nestled in with all the other tourist information spread over 24 locations throughout Tehachapi? It would certainly be a unique piece that dreamers could take home with them. EXCEPT... the Tehachapi Tourism Commission required it not to be a standard "here's my homes for sale" piece and so that challenge began!

The Result!

The result was this picturesque brochure that defined and romanticized the four mountain valleys of Tehachapi. We utilized a Double Parallel fold to compartmentalize the different areas and the large 14-inch width made the panoramic image of Tehachapi Valley really become a showpiece.

The collateral then gives helpful information about where each valley is located, which housing communities and Community Service Districts exist in that area, along with helpful demographic information. As a result, the brochure became useful as a tool not only to visitors but to out of town buyers Beth works with to help explain their housing options. 

 It's a great take-a-way and an attractive and popular piece that visitors take liberally!