Creating an immersive, powerful brand experience

I hear comments often about how “we need to brand” something by slapping the logo on everything from shirts to brochures to the side of a van.  It’s a very common misunderstanding that “branding” is nothing more than logos, colors, fonts, icons – the eye candy that makes us say, “Isn’t that pretty?”

Bohanan’s Prime Steaks and Seafood in downtown San Antonio perfectly exemplifies why a brand is so much more than a logo.  Everything – not just the visuals -- about chef Mark Bohanan’s restaurant expresses a strong brand identity clearly and compellingly. 

Take the staff, for example. They are obviously well trained.  They descend on your table in groups that tend to drinks, plates, silverware and menus like a perfectly choreographed Broadway dance troupe.  They recognize and acknowledge the regulars.  They gladly adjust the pace of the meal if you let them know you are on a schedule.

The food is world class and would make a positive impression in New York just as it does in San Antonio. The lighting is classy and low, the heavy wood floors, spotless linens and tasteful décor conjure up images of the kind of dinner venues you see in Hollywood films.  Is that Frank Sinatra two tables over?

Mark Bohanan obviously knows that it’s not about just the food.  Or only the staff.  Or the ambience. It’s all of it combined. The Bohanan’s brand is about the total experience, from the stunning art on the walls to the expansive cocktail offerings to the well-dressed waiter who knows every item on the menu in vast detail.  Nothing is left to chance – the Bohanan’s experience is thoughtfully planned and impeccably executed to produce a brand identity that exudes excellence.  That doesn’t happen by accident.

Businesses of all types would do well to study Bohanan’s and consider how they, too, can immerse their customers in an experience that makes them say, “Wow!”  

- Eric Whittington