How to serve up brand differentiation

How to serve up brand differentiation

Credit: Alice Jessica North.


At Bang we do a lot of work with IT services companies, many of which are partners of some of our larger clients such as Microsoft, Cisco and IBM.

Brand identity and differentiation is a common and serious problem in an industry where a lot of competition is representing the same - or very similar - products and services. How can you stand out from the crowd?

It’s a fair question. To highlight the predicament many of our clients find themselves in, it’s worthwhile considering another industry that could easily find itself suffering from the same challenge: upscale restaurants.

In terms of marketing a high-end restaurant, would you expect them to develop marketing messages along the lines of the following?

  • We have a great location
  • We have incredible atmosphere
  • We use the freshest ingredients
  • Our service is top notch
  • Our chefs are extensively trained
  • We specialise in a certain cuisine
  • You will have an enjoyable dining experience

While these may seem like appealing attributes, the ultimate answer is clearly no, since these are simply customer expectations. You would not be able to boast being a high-end restaurant without fulfilling these criteria. Meanwhile, by simply meeting expectations this leaves no room to differentiate.

This is where the phenomenon of the celebrity chef comes into the picture. Over the past decade, these towering characters of the culinary world have become ever more numerous and renowned - and the industry continues to grow.

What makes these chefs and their restaurants stand out is their success in developing their own brand identity far beyond the mere activity of cooking food and arranging it beautifully on a plate. They seek to instill a desire to experience what they offer, by enticing you not just to eat their food, but to buy into their story.

It is here that they start to differentiate their offering as something truly unique and special, with the result being that they are able to create an emotional connection beyond consumption.

The recent Netflix documentary Chef’s Table does a wonderful job of giving us an insight into the stories that these masters of cuisine have spun around themselves. Each episode is an in-depth video case study into what makes each chef unique, going to the heart of their heritage, their motivations, their character and ultimately how their creation (the food in their restaurant) transcends the sum of its parts. The critics and customers are meant to understand the story and buy into it - and judging by their raving fans, they clearly do.

The role of archetypes in brand differentiation

At Bang we use a branding technique called Archetyping to help define our clients’ brands. Beyond the logo and collateral, defining a brand in terms of an archetype helps provide the communication tools and tone for the company to talk more effectively and consistently about the company’s reason for being, and its differentiation.

In defining a brand archetype we look at what motivates you as an organisation, how you seek to meet various human needs, your role in the world and ideals, and the emotional needs you tap into.

Every Friday for the next six weeks, Bang will be doing a deeper dive into the celebrity chefs highlighted in Chef’s Table to see which archetypes they fall into. In doing so, we'll be serving up insights into how defining your brand in terms of an archetype creates greater meaning and connection for customers.

First up next week, Italian restaurateur and the celebrity chef behind Osteria Francescana, Massimo Bottura from Modena, Italy.

Interested to hear more? Follow us on our website, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to discover what happens when the Bang team talks archetypes at the Chef’s Table.