The power and the importance of brand

The secrets that led in a short time Burger&Lobster to be a successful brand and format.

The most price-conscious consumer may notice that most supermarkets in the United Kingdom charge a higher price for Coca-Cola than for Pepsi. Two seemingly identical products, amongst the closest differentiated items that one could find to perfect substitutes outside an economic textbook. Nevertheless, the difference in price still makes sense if consumers have a significant personal preference towards Coca-Cola. However, studies have shown that in a blind taste test, the majority of customers prefer Pepsi.

What explains this mysterious difference in price if both firms are making large profits?

The answer lies in brand value and how the strength of Coca-Cola’s brand makes it the more desired product.

Brands are how the customer perceives a business, and if that perception is positive, the brand can help the business to raise awareness and also to raise the prices of its products without losing out on demand. Building a strong brand can help a business to stand out from its competitors and build customer loyalty, as well as to become better known, therefore attracting more customers.

So what is the key behind building a strong brand?
The key driving force behind a strong brand is to have a clear and consistent image – consumers need to know what the business offers. The modern consumer may seek excitement or novelty, but never uncertainty; regardless of the business, people want to know what they are getting before they part with their hard-earned money. Just look at two successful brands at opposite ends of the culinary spectrum: nobody has any doubts that they should only visit McDonald’s if they want fast food or that one can expect Italian casual dining from Carluccio’s.

At the bare minimum, this requires a sharp, catchy name and an appealing, recognisable logo. However, the image of the restaurant conveyed by the brand and the subsequent value that it adds to the business goes far beyond the image. Every factor that influences how customers view the business forms part of the brand. Hence good customer service, the restaurant ambience, location, and ethical practices, amongst other factors, are all part of what makes a strong brand. For example, having a poor reputation for staff treatment or food wastage can result in a negative perception of the business, as customers start to perceive the logo and restaurant name in a negative light.

An example of a restaurant that has taken all the right steps and succeeded as a result is Burger & Lobster, which started off in London as an offshoot of Goodman steakhouse in 2011 and has achieved tremendous success. It now has around 10 outlets in London, two more in the rest of the UK, and one in New York and three other countries. All of this has been achieved with only three items on the menu: Burger, Lobster and Lobster roll (each item is served with salad and fries). Burger & Lobster have kept things simple: they have consistent prices, a clear target market, and are clear on what they have to offer. Furthermore, by specializing on a few goods, Burger & Lobster are able to maintain high and consistent quality standards relatively easily throughout their chains.

Brand value gives further justification for putting in the necessary investment to ensure the success of the restaurant. The extra effect that sustainability, efficient marketing, and quality of service can have on your brand is even more reason to take steps to ensure that such factors are taken into careful consideration when starting a business. Ensuring a high-quality service no longer becomes just about making existing customers return, but developing a reputation amongst the wider market.

Written by Stefano Potorti’.