How coherent is your branding?

By | November 1, 2007

Coming through Edinburgh airport for the second time in as many weeks I was again struck by just how superb a job the West Cornwall Pasty Company do. They have the last stand in a long line of food and coffee operations but their branding and use of great images is so brilliant that you feel compelled to walk all the way along to sample their offer. But it’s stronger than that – you actually want to be part of what they do. Of course, surf culture very compelling – goodness knows how much surf gear has been sold to people who never have and never will hold a surf board but so is coffee culture so don’t immediately dismiss it as being “different” from what we do.

At the start of the line you are met with this:

West Cornwall Pasty Co 1

Your attention is grabbed but you still have a long way to go.

But in the distance, past Caffe Nero, EAT and the bar you can see this…

West Cornwall Pasty Camper Van

Now that clearly wasn’t cheap and clearly wasn’t easy to do. In fact I bet it was one of those situations where they went to a variety of shopfitters and were told point blank “it can’t be done“. But it was – and more to the point they did it.

So there it is – a super-sized Volkswagen Camper Van housing a fully functional Cornish Pasty shop – just brilliant. Utterly brilliant.

But they didn’t stop there. The branding extended to many other areas. They had cool old surf photos on the fridge and the menus was listed on a surf board. All the staff wore surf wear and even looked like surfers.

West Cornwall Pasty menu

even the lights were in the shape of a surf board…

West Cornwall Pasty lights

And they were busy and the company seems to be growing at a ferocious rate:

So how does your branding compare?

How hard are you working at making sure you have something wow that lures people in?

Success in what we do is part of a long and complex equation but you need to get all the parts right. You simply can’t reply on a great product any more. Or great people and a great location. You need to have all parts of the jigsaw slotted together and a crucial piece of that jigsaw is branding. Creating a clear, coherent and compelling brand that actually drives people to want to be part of what you do. And never forget that applies to bankers, potential employees and suppliers as much as customers.

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Coffee Boys Book

7 thoughts on “How coherent is your branding?


    Hi Jonnie,
    I noticed this one myself and got told off for taking pictures of their menu!! Excellant post and a great example of how important a strong brand really is.

  2. carol

    great post johnnie. It’s something that i am guilty of ignoring myself because it seems expensive to get right. But i know that is shortsighted.

  3. John Richardson

    Thanks guys

    Carol – it can be expensive and it is a bit of a minefield. I think the best solution is always to go by recommendation from others. i.e. try and find out who did the branding for somebody local who you like. The issue is really about making the customer feel confident about what you do and want to be part of it.

    Darren – I’ve got very good at discreet photography and even have a variety of covert video surveillance equipment (cameras and microphones hidden in coat buttons, bag straps and calculators!) not just for mystery shopping but also to stop me getting thrown out or told off like you were. My new camera phone though has a flash on it which tends to give the game away when you’re trying to get a quick sneaky photo and don’t have all my gear.

    Appreciate the comments.

  4. Gerry P

    Outstanding post.

    Thanks for taking the time to put it together. I’m afraid I’m guilty of this issue too. What I admire most is the balls these guys must have had to push through with creating a Camper Van model like that. Like you say I bet they had to put up with a lot of resistance.

  5. wpm1955

    Wow, this is pretty neat. It would all grab my attention if I were walking through the airport, too!

    I’m a teacher, but I think this could be applied to many occupations besides retailing. I was just thinking about how a teacher could affect students’ attitudes by the wall displays and pictures in the room, compared to another classroom with either bare walls, or very boring displays. Thanks for pointing out this company’s efforts!

    I just wish you would post more often. I’m a regular reader and enjoy all of your posts.

    Best regards,
    Madame Monet, in Marrakesh, Morocco
    Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine

  6. John Richardson

    Thanks Madame Monet

    Your support is, as ever, appreciated. The teaching process always has to bring as many senses as possible in and as many ways as possible to keep the interest levels up. I find in large group training sessions that breaking the “state” and changing the way something is being taught every five minutes or so is enormously effective in terms of getting the information across and, most importantly, retained.



  7. Sáóúl

    Wow, that is one cool camper van. Their pasties are great… but that is just awesome. Respect, man.

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