Branding Made Me Do It - Seattle, WA
A few months back, I found myself on Pinterest, like all good designers, searching for inspiration on a project. I was specifically looking for storefront display inspiration as I was concepting how to lay out options for a client. That's when it happened - GASP - It's perfect.
Obviously, I was hooked. I loved the simplicity, the great textures used, typography treatments and that pop of red. I saved the pin for later and went on my way.
Fast forward to my birthday trip up to Seattle. Our last day, we ventured out to our old stomping grounds of Fremont. We got off the bus, and again, I gasped - it was STONE WAY CAFE in the flesh. I'm not sure why I was so shocked to see it - because there are so many great spots in Seattle - but for some reason, seeing it in the flesh was crazy to me. For one, I didn't pay attention to anything besides the branding when I found the original Pin. Duh, Shannon - it's literally on Stone Way.
As we walked over to Gasworks Park, I convinced my husband that we had to go there for lunch. I didn't know the menu. I didn't know if it was worth our time. All I know is that the branding convinced I had to go.
That's the thing with branding - emotions are tied to our decisions, and if it visually pleases us, we're more likely to trust and ultimately purchase from them. If the branding is REALLY that good, it's an impulse you can't control. You're drawn to it. It's like me in a BevMo. I don't have time to research a bottle of wine, I just want to look like I do, so I buy the best wine label I can find under $20. Good design = good wine, right? Hasn't failed me yet.
Ok, so back to our visit to Stone Way Cafe. We walked in just before a busy Monday lunch rush. I was expecting to see the inside just done up to match in the branding that drew me in, but to be honest - it was underwhelming, to say the least. Yes, the logo was everywhere. The printed menu was delightful. But everything else was seemingly put together quickly.
It really bummed me out - such good design should carry through each and every decision. There should be "no drop off" (as we say) - your brand lives not only in the graphics but the full package, the full experience. Anything you see in your storefront, business, Instagram, website, etc. should be consistent.
I don't mean for this to downgrade anything about Stone Way Cafe - the food was delicious and the staff was great. I don't know their story, their situation, but I do want to use this as an example to iterate the importance of seeing branding through each touch point that a customer has with your business. While I would have loved to see it much more polished, it did look to me that they were more focused on building community with their open mic nights, music evenings and game tables - which are incredibly important and give life to a good business and community. We love a business that gives life to it's customers and surroundings. Branding and matching interior design is expensive, especially for a small storefront, so I get it. The focus was elsewhere for the interiors - more conversation over aesthetics. As someone who loves design and loves their branding, I would have loved to see it involved even more on the interiors.
The takeaway is this - branding is powerful. It makes you interested. It may even convince you to spend your hard-earned money. So as business owners, it's really important to keep this in mind. Take each touchpoint into consideration and create a consistent message, aesthetic and experience for your customer.
If you need help with this, Purveyor House is here for you. We are partnering again with Oleander + Palm to bring even more Brandwell Workshops! This is where we dive in to create brands that are memorable in strategy, design, visuals, and styling. It's two days of intensive work where we help guide business owners in branding and helping tell your point of difference in a truly impactful way. Learn more here www.brandwellworkshops.com.