Observing and analysing are the two most important elements of building a brand
I am returning from a restaurant and lounge bar and before I forget the bits and pieces of my conversation with its owner, I must share this piece of knowledge on branding with you all. I now firmly believe on the “connecting dots” concept of Steve Jobs – during his speech at Stanford, he said that all past incidents are connected to each other and they have a certain meaning in your life. I met this wise man during a class of elementary French at Alliance Francaise. I didn’t know at that time that our friendship will lead to enhancing my learning on branding.
Bikram, the CEO of the restaurant and lounge bar, an education consultancy and an import and export business is nowhere in his early thirties. However, his eyes are like that of an old wise owl. He sees a pattern and cause in each of his observation. As one rightfully said that a designer sees a pattern in each nook and cranny, he analyses each and every incident and adapts the lessons learnt from those incidents in his daily life. That’s how he builds his brand.
Lesson 1 – Observe well. Like a designer viewing pattern out of the blue, you will get to know the reason behind any design. Take the case of Bikram – whenever he goes to any restaurant, he observes the milieu, food and service – and if he finds something special, he scripts them in his memory, so that later he can decode the secrets for his own use. He doesn’t even leave the nuances – the colour, light bulbs, cutlery, crockery, seating arrangement, menu, staff behaviour and even the way he is served.
Lesson 2 – Analyse well. If you analyse well, you will find the right reason behind any happening. Take the case of Bikram – whenever he finds a food too good at a restaurant, he has the habit of calling the chef – to say thank you for the good food and hand him some extra tips for tickling his taste buds. In doing so, he befriends the chef and gets to know a little bit of secret of the good cooking. One of his analysis that I would always remember is – you must not make the arms of sofa too wide – the reason being, not to let anybody sit on the arms. That’s a brilliant piece of analysis – if people start sitting on the arms of your sofa in the restaurant, you can imagine how long it will last.
Lesson 3 – Adapt well. If you adapt the good aspects of competitive brands, you will obviously be able to make your brand stand out among the plethora of other brands. Take case of Bikram – he is a superb adapter. Out of his observations and analysis, he has decorated the interiors of his restaurant with warm orange colour. He says, “Orange colour stimulates your appetite.” He has taken care to choose high quality cutlery, crockery, lighting, seating arrangement and well trained staff. Those are the results of the cues he had taken from his observations at the different food joints.
His observing and analysing skills have given an extra edge to his brand. His menu is full of foods that have something special in comparison to the same ones served in other restaurants. He has managed to build a team of highly qualified chefs with tasty hands (who can with the touch of their mere hands turn any food into delicacies). To my surprise some of them are the ones whom he had thanked earlier for the good food. I must describe his adapting expertise a further – he has managed to design tables similar to a restaurant in China, he has managed to summon a sofa maker who used to make sofas for the royals.
After talking about the O&A (observing and analysing) of branding, now I must talk about the human aspects of building brands. It’s crucial to maintain the camaraderie and spirit in your team. Otherwise the brand can crumble down any moment. Now let me take the case of Bikram once again – he has 27 staff and he never forgets to celebrate their birthdays with a blast. Out of 365 days, he keeps aside 27 days to make his staff think that they are the special ones at his restaurant. And this motivates his staff and his brand gets further momentum.