Monday, February 23, 2009

Living the Brand right down to the architectural drawing

The mantra is ‘live the brand’. In many companies that simply says that the advertising is a direct result of a strong positioning statement. But in the best of companies, the brand is so fundamentally aligned with the corporate mission that every area of the company is a reinforcement of the brand strategy.

The new Dairy Queen ‘Grill and Chill’ store concept is a brilliant example of brand positioning driving the fundamental of product delivery right down to the architecture of the restaurant. This past weekend’s drive to Knoxville afforded me the opportunity to visit a new prototype store in Frankfort, KY.

Key elements of the brand heritage have been preserved in the updated logo treatment of the Dairy Queen name. Appended to the logo is the designator ‘Grill and Chill’. Once inside the restaurant, the food prep area is now arrayed in a classic L shape… with dessert items on the short side of the L, and grill items on the long side of the L. Instead of hiding the dessert prep in the backroom, DQ chose to bring the blenders out center stage. Consequently, DQ’s real competitive advantage, the Blizzard mix bar, highlights the food presentation experience. SMART.

The restaurant interior feels different than the traditional quick feeder. By creating more ‘intimate’ personal sitting areas, guests can find a little privacy when eating alone, or can gather more comfortably when sitting in larger groups. Floor, counter, and wall spaces have also been upgraded, not to the point of leaving the general quick service experience, but clearly defining the experience as a cut above the average Burger King/Taco Bell experience. New menu board graphics are much more appetizing, while the brand has intuitively included heritage statements throughout the point of sale materials establishing a heightened expectation for the dining experience.

It all comes together at the new DQ. Environment, marketing materials, food prep, and store signage left me with a lasting positive impression. Enthusions core tenet is that magic occurs at point of sale and point of use. DQ soared past my expectation level at every level of ‘Chill and Grill’. I left happy with the intent to return on my next trip through Frankfort. The visit was great. The French Silk blizzard hold the whip cream was even better.

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