Jocelyn Ring

About the Author Jocelyn Ring

Jocelyn is a business strategist, entrepreneur, visual facilitator at The Ring Effect and partner and partner of Brain Tattoo Publishing. She brings both left- and right-brain to the equation of business strategy and branding. She is passionate about not only the emotional purpose of the brand, but also the strategic business alignment as a valuable organizational asset. She enjoys finding answers to complex problems, understanding “how things work” and translating research data into fresh, new brands and business strategies.

BrandingCustomer experienceExpert interviewsMarketing plansPR and promotionTools, Apps, TechnologyTrends

Rethinking your restaurant’s brand strategy?

3 questions to ask first (and 3 easy makeover solutions)

Let me ask you a question.

When you hear the word “brand,” what do you think it means?

Logos?
Taglines?
Marketing tactics?
Advertising?

Sure, these all play a part in branding.

But, in fact, branding is much more than just these items.

I like to say branding is what people think, feel and expect whenever they interact with your company.
Branding is an overarching image.

It’s ingrained in everything you do—your operations, your message, all your touch points and your marketing.

It’s the DNA of the company.

When a company is thinking of rebranding itself, it can feel quite overwhelming.

So before you dive deep into the world of rebranding, it’s important to ask three questions first to determine where your brand currently stands.

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BrandingCustomer experienceEmployee engagementExpert interviewsMarketing plansPR and promotionReader questionsRestaurant brand reviewsSocial mediaTools, Apps, TechnologyTrends

3 tips for handling a bad online restaurant review

You asked, we answered. This week’s blog post is an answer to a question submitted by one of our Restaurant Branding Roadmap readers.

“I know it is important to be on social media, but I am afraid to put ourselves out there. We had a bad experience with a nasty reviewer online and we didn’t know how to respond. I know that bad reviews and disgruntled customers can hurt a brand. How do you suggest dealing with bad reviews on a Facebook page or on a Twitter feed or on a site like Yelp? Also, how do you decide where to be on social media. There are so many options and we only have so much time? – Denise”

Great question, Denise. You are right, just like your restaurant might see an uptick in business from a consistent stream of great reviews, bad online reviews can hurt your brand and your business. In today’s marketplace, an online reputation is something that every business must monitor.

First, we’ll address your question about how to deal with bad restaurant reviews. If you’re monitoring your restaurant’s online reputation, or you have an alert system set up and you come across a bad review, here are some steps you can take.

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How brands stay consistent across locations

You asked, we answered. This week’s blog post is an answer to a question submitted by one of our Restaurant Branding Roadmap readers.

“I opened my restaurant five years ago and since then we’ve added two locations. I’m frustrated because the branding is not consistent across locations. The employees make menu changes, the service is not consistent and the overall environment is different from the original restaurant. I created the brand at the first location and I was there every day to make sure that the brand grew and was maintained. I try to do what I can at the newer locations, but I can’t be in three places at once. What can I do to keep the branding the same across the locations? Thanks. Kathy”

Great question, Kathy. First off, congratulations on your restaurant’s expansion. You are not alone with this restaurant marketing and branding challenge. This is an issue that many growing businesses struggle with. Many times, the founder of a business is the cornerstone of the branding and the one who nurtures it as it grows. They put in long hours everyday. They make sure that everything from the menu items, to services, to the customer experiences and all brand touch points are consistently on brand.

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5 ways to use a piece of history in your restaurant

While on the road last week in Costa Rica, we had many opportunities to visit interesting restaurants. Everywhere we went the food was delicious and made from very simple recipes. Ingredients were incredibly fresh items like fish right from the ocean and just-picked vegetables.

The views of the beach, Pacific Ocean, mountains and rainforest also heightened the dining experience.

There was one restaurant that stood out from the others and we had to write about it.

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How to make your employees care – 7 helpful tips

You asked, we answered…

We received a letter from a reader who asked:

I have owned and managed my restaurant for over ten years. We are located in a suburb that is a college town. Most of the staff members are “kids” and I find it challenging to constantly train of the “kids” – the staff – to be present at all times. They are distracted, messing around with their cell phones or counting down the minutes until their shift ends. I that know for most of them, this is just a way to earn extra cash, but how do I teach them to care about the customers and be present? – Jennifer

Great question, Jennifer. It is important to care about employee-customer engagement since the largest component of any restaurant’s brand is the experience. And, the staff creates the biggest piece of the experience. This is an issue for many restaurant and business owners in general.

The pessimistic answer would be that you can’t teach people to care. But, we’re not pessimists here so we will give you 7 tips to help you work with your staff on being more present and engaged.

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BrandingCustomer experienceMarketing plansPR and promotionRestaurant brand reviewsTrends

Transform a boring dining room into a memorable experience – 8 tips to bring a restaurant space to life

You asked, we answered. This week’s blog post is an answer to a question submitted by one of our Restaurant Branding Roadmap readers.

“Our restaurant is in a building that has a very strangely shaped dining area. There is not much that we can do structurally and we think that the room’s shape makes the dining experience strange. It just feels awkward, but I can’t put my finger on why. I see it as a disadvantage to our brand. Do you have any suggestions about how we could work with an odd-shaped room? –Andrew B.

This is a perfect time to change the way you think about your awkward dining area. Creating a winning restaurant brand is about being unique and standing out in the marketplace. Think of your dining room as a great opportunity to create a space that is different and memorable. This point of difference will help build your restaurant’s brand. This room is an asset, not a liability. Create a space that gets people talking and maybe even lands your restaurant on a list like this.

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5 steps to creating a winning brand story

The average attention span of an adult is 8 seconds. Combine this with the fact that people are bombarded with information to equivalent to 174 newspapers of data a day through an ever-growing number of channels and you get an easy road to anonymity.

The traditional way of marketing via broadcasting your message about your restaurant through a limited number of channels (TV, Radio and Print) is over due to the previously mentioned statistics. In order to stand out from the crowd, you must shift from broadcasting your message to telling stories about your brand and business.

Well-written stories are incredibly powerful tools for brand building because they are unique, emotional, meaningful, memorable and sharable. The sharing part is what helps build awareness about your brand and brings customers to your restaurant. So, What’s your story? The tips below will help you craft a winning brand story.

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12 ways to create an awesome atmosphere for your restaurant

You asked, we answered.

We received a letter from a reader who asked:

Our restaurant serves really great food, but the restaurant itself is kind of blah. We don’t have any ambiance or atmosphere. The restaurant doesn’t feel like it has much energy and the décor is drab and boring. I’ve been to other restaurants where there’s a great vibe and I want something like that for our place, but I have no where to start or how much effort we will have to put into it.

-Marie

Great question, Marie and you are not alone. Many restaurants struggle with this topic and as you know, great food is not enough to make your business a top-of-mind choice with customers.

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7 ways to involve customers in menu design

You asked, we answered.

A few weeks ago, we received the following question:

We want to get our customers involved in what we offer on our menu. How do we build a ‘Client Menu’ with one monthly dish created by customers?

-Amy R.

Great question, Amy! You may have noticed that brands in every category are asking their customers for input. Threadless t-shirts, Fiat automobiles and Nokia phones have all used customer input for product design. Engaging your customers in a two-way conversation is a smart way to create loyal supporters and brand fans. Since it has become increasingly simple to solicit customers’ ideas with channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even email it should be part of your restaurant’s brand strategy.

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