Does Your Brand Match Your Za?

Branding isn’t just a buzz word – it’s important no matter how big or small a company, even for the mom-and-pop pizza shop on the corner. Branding isn’t simply a logo and consistent colors – although it is these things. It’s also the way you make your customers feel, the experiences you provide, and the language you use to describe your products and services. Whether it’s known or faintly and unknowingly distinct, you have a brand and an image you’re putting out there…but is it purposeful? And is it the right one?

What is Branding?

Today, in a vast plethora of options to choose from, using tools to distinguish your shop, from your logo to your za, is more important than ever. A brand is what helps you set your shop apart from other businesses. It’s “a feature or set of features that distinguish one organization from another…typically comprised of a name, tagline, logo or symbol, design, brand voice, and more.” But it isn’t just the visuals. It’s the feeling and experience the customer gets from interacting with your business, whether that’s in person, on the phone, on social media, on your website, or somewhere else. Branding, as an action, is setting up these features, from tagline to table. It involves understanding your product, why customers love it, and catering to those current and future customers with a distinct and memorable experience. “It’s what transforms first-time buyers into lifetime customers and turns an indifferent audience into brand evangelists.”

Okay, So Why is it So Important?

Even if you don’t think you do, you definitely have a brand. Maybe your customers say “I love Angelo’s little pizza shop. It’s so quaint, cute, and small, and they have the nicest family working there.” There’s your brand right there. Your customers perceive these brand elements, have reactions to them, and choose to return. Yet, the smallest of hiccups can ruin a brand. A few wrong orders or unpleasant employees can cause your shop to be looked at a lot differently, and can change the experience for everyone. It’s important to know, understand, and nurture this brand to continue to grow – and not lose – your customer base. Branding can help you “establish the ways in which you’re different, special, and unique. And it shows your customers why they should work with you instead of your competitors.”

Visuals are of course just as important as feelings. Especially now, in 2021, brands are urged to reach further in their experimentation and uniqueness, creating eye-catching logos, menus, store fronts, and merch. More and more, companies are expected to be “instagrammable” in their image. Kids, teens, and even adults are intrigued by the idea of getting a good pizza picture or booth photo for their social accounts. Not every shop has to attempt this atmosphere, especially those known for their nostalgia and traditional environments, but there should still be some thought behind who you want to be and how you want to be seen.

Simply put, branding is as important as the cheese on your pizza. It gives your shop an identity, makes it memorable, helps you create and solidify marketing, and gives your employees and pizza lovers something to talk about and be proud of. It can increase the value of your shop to give you more leverage in the industry, and thoroughly establishes trust (for partner brands and customers alike). Basically, you’ll look a lot more professional if your brand isn’t just an accident, but is planned, deliberate, and easily recognizable.

Does Your Brand Match Your Za?

Now that you know its importance, take a minute to think about your brand. Does it match your shop, your za, and the feeling you hope your customers get when they walk through your doors? Does it portray the taste, the look, and the experience of eating your delicious pizza? If your answer is “no” or even “I’m not sure,” it may be time to dig a bit deeper into the deep, deep dish of branding.

Maybe you’d describe your pizza as traditional and authentic. The original recipe itself was written over in Italy. Don’t hesitate to promote and communicate this in the imagery and messaging. Maybe use a traditional typeface, a nostalgic, Italy-inspired logo, and incorporate some authentic Italian music into your shop’s playlist. Oppositely, maybe you’d classify your pizza as experimental, unique, trendy, and fun. Use bright colors, popular music, and distinctive, modern furniture to further create a stylish and hip experience that matches your za.

Psychologically, humans (your za lovers), don’t like to think too hard. They like when things are easy to decide on, and when they make sense. Make their decision easy by providing a nice atmosphere and good pizza. Combine multiple unified brand elements so their brain can relax and enjoy the environment. Humans are also terrified of missing out (hello FOMO) – so create a branded experience that’s too good to pass up (aka, inspires FOMO). Make sure your shop has a distinguishing look and feel that makes customers want to talk about it and brag about it – whether by word of mouth or through a hashtag.

Interesting ExZAmples

&Pizza is an exZAllent example of a pizza company that took its brand to – not even the next level – but the highest level. They created “intense loyalty with customers by focusing on creating a strong brand through embracing individuality and freshness.” Not only do they have a very identifiable brand image, from their ampersand logo to their strange brand colors (for the pizza industry, at least), but their pizza stands out among the rest. Their “oblong, flatbread-esque pizzas made to order in the restaurant” come in tons of interesting flavors, like “The Extra Helping” and “American Honey”. Their rebellious brand and unusual marketing bring in customers of a younger demographic who are all about being different and thinking outside the (pizza) box.

Domino’s is no stranger to good branding, either. The well-known company emphasizes innovative technology to differentiate itself, from the Domino’s DXP vehicle that stores 80 pizzas in a warming oven, to self-driving delivery cars, to their live pizza tracker.

Although they may be very different brands, both Dominos and &Pizza have the same goal: to build a brand that’s recognizable, loved, and represents their pizza as well as who they are as a company and the customers they wish to attract. We’d guess you have similar goals for your shop, as well.

So, even though your shop may not be as widely known as Domino’s or as trendy and popular as &Pizza, it still deserves memorable messaging and marketing to match its tastiness, and that’s where ZaHub can help. Contact us to spice up your brand with an on-brand campaign geared towards new and returning customers.