Note: this case study is presented to provide insight into my strategic understanding of the branding process, and includes tactics my staff and I executed when we operated as a ‘full service agency.’ Today our focus is strategic: we collaborate with business owners, designers, creative teams + web developers; and formulate strategic Brand, business, and website structure which can be expanded + scaled. Your inquiry is welcome:
508 497 8900. T-
This case study is presented as overview of our Whole Brand™ development process, as applied to re-staging an established business – 35 years.
It’s about a retail Brand + website re-stage; but it’s not only about retail businesses. Because the people, names, goals, jargon + details may change, but the basic strategic discipline + process applies to any business looking to increase revenue.
It’s about process driving outcomes - not where we’ve been, but where we can go to find new opportunity. And whether CEO, educator or teen, we all want the same thing: satisfaction. And it comes in many forms. T-
Challenge + Approach
Growth issues aside, the real objective of the Quebrada website was to make people hungry.
When the founder + head baker of Quebrada Baking Co., then a 2-store business which was going into its 34 year, came to us to talk about her website, she proclaimed: ‘We need to do this because when people call me a say they’re on my old website (a first generation WYSIWYG site), well, it’s just not working for me.’ But it was more than that. She was clear the business + Brand could be more.
• The Brand image, assets + website needed to be updated to better reflect her style as well as that of her stores, all of which are smart, comfortable + quietly inspiring.
• The ‘Brand Story’ – what it did, how it does it + why it mattered – needed to be renewed + refreshed to create greater awareness + interest. And to better reflect the practices + self-interests of customers in parochial neighborhoods + defined trading areas
• The business had to be where its CUSTOMERS + the MEDIA could find them online to interact + transact - really the only reason to take on a marketing project.
What’s more, a number of competitors had opened up in her trading areas. It was time to create a fresh + relevant online presence or go the way of Hazel’s Bakery. Who? Exactly. (An old school Wellesley bakery – long since gone.)
So the charge became not just to design a more useful website, but a more meaningful Brand. But first we needed to know what proprietary Brand information we had to work with. So we quickly + in this case, very informally, took inventory of all people, product + system ‘touch points’ to more fully understand its dynamics. And we listened deeply + interpreted its features + benefits, and its soul, from all points of view – stakeholders to customers + staff.
The fact is we don’t create a Brand. We focus, articulate + amplify them. A Brand’s core lives within its owners. And it’s defined by how customers view + adopt it as part of their Brands. Because that’s really what we’re asking them to do each time they come into the stores.
While watching a video about the store by a newsmagazine, the reporter asked the owner: ‘so everything is made fresh every day?’ To which my client answered exuberantly: “fresh, fresh, fresh, fresh!” I jumped up from my chair: ‘It’s her Julia Childs!’ And she agreed. Thus the baseline position + Brand ‘tagline’ for the bakeries came from listening.
Fresh, Fresh, Fresh™
This breakthrough prompted further discussion, which took the strategic baseline a little deeper. Not only were Quebrada baked goods + desserts very fresh:
• Quebrada is a neighborhood bakery (vs. a franchise or web bakery)
• Its products are made only from: The Freshest, Simplest Wholesome Ingredients Available.™
Quebrada was in effect today’s version of your Mother or Grandmother’s kitchen: fresh + wholesome. A place you could be comfortable + confident of goodness. Love in a Petite Pain au Chocolat croissant. Yum.
We were off + running.
Once the new Quebrada website was in place, within 12 months we were told both original locations increased sales by a double digit percentage over the previous year the best in the business’ history. And it paved the way to open a third store in Belmont.
But perhaps most significant + telling was the owner’s statement of approval:
‘I now see my business in its entirety; its products, our staff + how we serve customers. And how we can better serve them with products that will drive + sustain our growth + satisfy new customers.’
These are not little challenges + issues. Focusing the Brand brought it all together for everyone to see.
• WordPress Content Management System (CMS) for easy updating without need to know html or programming code
• Easily-to-use navigation + on-site search so everyone can find the products they want – even those not that comfortable on the Web
• Kay’s Fresh Ideas A sidebar ‘widget’ that’s easily updated with fresh content – without changing the main text of the page.
• Newsletter sign-up A simple form for ‘people who raise their hands to join in on the Brand.’ This info goes to a secure database hosted on the site, which can be downloaded into Excel as a .cvs file. Then used with an email service provider (Verticle Response, Constant Contact, Exact Target, etc.).
• Easily updated menus, prices + images stored securely on the site library, easily accessed + placed in correct spots
• Google Analytics shows how customers navigate through the site + what products they were most interested in. Here it confirmed the path for new product development + growth – previously only suspected as opportunities
• Unlimited growth Add pages, even whole new sections + a blog at will – no programmer needed
ThomasBoston then applied the new Quebrada Visual Design System to:
Now the aligned Brand is viewed by 1000s daily on the web + on the road.
• Coffee sleeves, bakery labels + gift cards
• In-Store merchandising + signage
• Business vehicles
Walk into a store today + you’ll see its Staff (formerly called ‘associates’ – another reflection of the business’ newly-defined Brand values) proudly wearing Fresh, Fresh, Fresh baker’s aprons + T-shirts. They ‘get the Brand’ + live it to everyone’s best interests.
Ultimately it’s Quebrada quality that makes the sale. But first they have to create awareness + comforts levels to get customers in the door.
Let's meet over a cup of coffee to discuss your goals, style + vision
Call me + perhaps we can meet to sample one of their amazing Cinnamon Buns (and/or a croissant) over a cup of great Quebrada™ Blend barista-brewed coffee! None better.
Up next for Quebrada: Kay’s Fresh Idea videos, more social media + ecommerce. Also preparing the Brand + operations for growth + long-term sale or succession.
Please contact Tom Lanen at 508 497 8900 for additional information.