Selecting a pizza place
When it comes to deciding where to eat pizza, there are two things that happen:
1) People will make a quick decision based on what’s available at the time or what they are near. For example, if I’m driving on the main street of Waltham and get hungry, I probably won’t drive 10 miles to get a slice of pizza.
2) People go online, find a phone number and order delivery to their house, dorm, condo or apartment.
In both situations, there is emphasis placed on convenience, but if the quality isn’t there, people would rather drive longer to find something they like. Have you ever been with your friend and said “nah, let’s go somewhere else”?
I just got home from a nearby pizza place and looked at the box. I started to think a lot about the box before, during and after I ate the entire pizza (I can eat a lot, it’s a family trait). This examination is what happens when you become crazy about branding. To no surprise, the pizza box had no brand on it. It didn’t say “Waltham Pizza.” There were no logos or catch phrases. Nothing! I could have gotten this pizza from a Colorado pizza place and no one would know the difference.
Brand name: Waltham Pizza
Logo: See right
Target audience: Citizens living in or around Waltham, MA
Price: The cheapest in all of Waltham at $7.95
There is a lot of competition. There is a lot of competition in Waltham for pizza places, such as Upper Crust (my favorite), Domino’s Pizza (a known entity with many franchises), Bertucci’s (where isn’t there one?), Uno’s, Anna’s Pizza House, and many more. Wherever you turn around here you can get pizza. The goal of each of these places is to attract more customers, possibly steal from the competition in doing so. In order to do this, they must stand out. They need to be recognized for something AND be remembered.
A lost opportunity. Pizza places need to be top-of-mind in this area. When you think of pizza in Waltham, you need to think of Waltham Pizza. If not, it doesn’t exist in your mind and you’ll turn elsewhere for hunger relief. A branded pizza box reminds people where they got it from. If I had 30 friends over, who lived in Waltham, they would notice the branded pizza boxes and the likelihood they would purchase from Waltham Pizza would increase substantially.
Their website. When you go to their website, you hear “Thats amore” by Dean Martin, which is an Italian song that seems to be used by many pizza places. Their FAQ’s consists of fast facts that are very general, such as “93% of Americans consume at least one pizza each month.” Honestly, how is that going to make me buy a pizza there instead of another place? Beats me. When you first enter their flash website, it says “welcome to Waltham Pizza” in an Italian voice yet when you walk into the store, no one has an accent or is even from Italy. Also, as a web guru, I don’t like how they have someones voice shouting “menu” and “specials” as your mouse hovers over a link.
Personal branding takeaways
1) Your offline and online presence must be consistent. The appearance and personality of what I see on your website should be legitimate or I will question you, as will everyone else.
2) Everything you produce should be self-branded. Don’t leave a pizza box without your name on it if you want to build a brand instead of a commodity. This goes for anything. Your branded so everything you touch should contain your brand name.
3) Build brand to build premium. Do you want to charge companies the bare minimum for hiring your brand? If you are an average candidate, then don’t expect much. In this world, you get what you pay for. Just like with the pizza, you need to be worthy of a higher premium price.
4) Stand out for survival. When there is a lot of people to choose from, that makes things very difficult. You need to work harder, smarter and be better than everyone else. When you do that, you will be sought after, rather than “just another Waltham pizza place.”