When we travel we ask locals for recommendations where to dine, explore, shop and stay. Venues who have paid attention to developing their company brand story are the locales that stand out for everyone. These are the restaurants, shops, attractions, that locals want to recommend. They are destinations the city residents are most proud of. Not only have these companies developed appealing visual brand images they have also carried their brand story through every aspect of the organization design.
One beautiful restaurant we explored in Tampa Florida recently was U•le•le. This restaurant is located downtown Tampa in a previously blighted area that has recently been revitalized as a tourist destination. The restaurant is in the old Tampa waterworks facility and connects to the Tampa Riverwalk.
The name U•le•le was derived from the story of a Native American Indian Girl who was a daughter to the chief. Legend claims she stopped a white man from being killed because she was in love with him. Locals believe the tale of Pocahontas was derived from the legend. From a municipal industrial building, a downtown, and a Native American Princess fraught with love for a white man, there was no loss for content.
The logo and visual branding is everywhere you look. From the table umbrellas to menus, to rugs, to the wine lists, to artwork and way finding signage nothing was missed. Along with the logotype there are cogs and gears adding the industrial feel of the building to the visual brand story. As you enter the grounds there are areas for families to sit at tables under umbrellas with the U•le•le logo imprinted, dad and kids can play cornhole, and visitors are happy to lounge on lawn furniture and visit the outdoor bar while waiting for their table. The interior of the restaurant has welded repurposed metal stairs. Gears and metal pipes have been sculpted to serve more utilitarian purposes such as handrails, towel holders and door pulls. Bathroom door locks, are the coolest industrial feature and even include the ‘u’ from the logotype. The ease in which they have carried the visual brand story throughout the venue is a stellar example of consistency and creative thoughtfulness.
Paintings and a sculpture of Ulele throughout the grounds and interior of the building immerse visitors into the romantic brand story. The story and a photo of Ulele are noted on the back of the menu. The brand story is continues further with a unique menu of American classics infused with Native American ingredients and recipes.
As a restaurant and microbrewery, U•le•le also named their original microbrews with the romantic theme, such as Honeymoon and Wedding Beer. The entire visit was an experience that tantalized all the senses for this graphic designer. From the savory fried okra to the smooth steel door locks, the cheerful yellow umbrellas, and laughter of the guests and families as they played and visited, the branding experience was a delight.
Every organization and corporation has a company brand story to share. Whether you are sharing the brand story of your city, a restaurant, a resort, a product, or a manufacturing corporation, telling your story authenticates your company to your audience. Bringing your vision, your mission, your product or your service to guests clearly and consistently demonstrates that the company leaders have defined who they are and what they want to represent.
What’s’ your company brand story? Is it romantic, industrial, vintage, historical, eclectic, spiritual? Are you the fastest, cheapest, smartest, oldest, newest game in town? What inspired you to create the business? Why did you choose the name you did?
There are many different avenues to take when creating your company brand story – you don’t have to have a 200-year-old romantic legend. Maybe your construction skills came from time spent with a handyman Grandpa. Your professional speaker career was discovered in 3rd grade when you did the morning announcements for the school. Whatever your story, write it down and consider what visuals will support it. What items are needed to communicate your brand story to your customers? Maybe a photo of Grandpa at his workbench? Or bring it into the present with a picture of a proud Grandpa shaking his successful builder grandsons hand. Authenticity is what customers cite as their most desirous characteristic of a company or sales purchase. Make it clear that buyers can trust you. Start with a strong, clear brand story. If you need some help, call us, we live for this kind of fun!