Julian Smith, brand strategist at Brian R Richards (BRR), whose client list includes Vogels, Earthwise, Synlait, IceBreaker and Orca.
For a hospitality food business, how possible is it to extend the brand to non-food areas?
It depends on the brand and how it has been constructed. If the brand has a strong story and identity (the design elements) it can leverage this into other categories. One of the opportunities with well put together brands is the ability to leverage into new categories extending the brand assets and thereby increasing shareholder value and equity. We have seen many successful brand extensions from food and hospitality into other areas.
When a restaurant puts out a recipe book, what benefits can come from it?
We are living in a new age of openness. Technology has pushed customers to demand more from brands and rethink the way we protect IP. When a restaurant puts out a cookbook it is giving away IP, but in many ways this is the new paradigm for growing customer networks and invites people to join in their brand story. So, if done well a brand extension to a recipe book that gives the reader interesting insights and ideas can be a tremendously powerful to drive new interest in the other expressions of the brand - the Pipi Cafes for example.
Great brands tell a unique story and there is now better way to do this than telling your own experiences. I think the Pipi cookbook does this very well; it humanises the brand and brings you into the values that Alexandra has imbued into the cafes and the food.
What caution would you give hospitality brands looking at extending their brand?
I think brand extensions and leveraging from one category into another only makes sense when you can tell the same story, carry across most of the brand assets, for example the design and communications and that the positioning remains the same.
Pipi creating low cost aprons for example would not be a good example of a good extension. A brand like Pipi should also look to collaborate with other brands of similar values and positioning. Pipi partnering with Citta Design to create a select range of high value homewares for example would be a good extension.