Word of Mouth Daily – November 21, 2011 – Wolfgang’s Over-Branding

November 21, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Hamptons Creative Group - Word of Mouth Blog

Word of Mouth Daily – November 21, 2011

Wolfgang’s Over-Branding

On our multi-city tour last week, we got a chance to look at branding in a confined space: the airport. Once you’re past security, you’re trapped. Conversely, businesses in the terminals have to ferociously differentiate from each other.

We’re not going to belabor this issue (in this post at least) but instead look at a specific example. “Wolfgang Puck Express” is a breakout of chef Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant empire. The “express” part refers to the availability of wrapped sandwiches for purchase, along with apples, commercially available bottled juices, and bagged potato chips found at every 7-11. “Express” also refers to the short menu of fresh items that are prepared to order, such as pizzas, sandwiches, and breakfast combos.

Wolfgang Puck is a well-known brand. It comes with an understanding of “gourmet.” The Express franchise is aimed at those with a respectable palate but a Burger King budget. Notably, most of the franchises are located inside airports. But what makes the Wolfgang Puck Express in the Denver airport so over-branded is the images of the food hanging on the wall.

Large, professional photo prints in refined wood frames decorate the restaurant’s interior. What’s most interesting is that the pictures depict food that isn’t on the Express menu!

“I’ll have the grilled salmon, please.”
“Sorry, we don’t have that.”
“But it’s right there.”
“Yeah, it’s just a corporate decoration.”

This was an actual exchange between a patron and an employee. “Decoration” is a segment of branding. So, is it possible to over-brand? If it makes your business confusing or deceptive, it certainly is.

Looking to correctly brand your business? Just ask, and Hamptons Creative Group will be there for you.


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