And I would walk 900 miles... for cheese toast!

And I would walk 900 miles... for cheese toast!

Apr 13, 2010

My friend and I love to have completely frivolous experiences. This past weekend, we decided that we were going to go to Queensland for the day, just to go to Sizzler. The premise of the idea was that it was so stupid… we just had to do it. We got on a plane at 6.05 AM Saturday morning and returned at 10.10PM that night. However, like many, you may ask ‘Why Sizzler?’

Back in the late 90s Sizzler restaurants closed down all over Adelaide. Not that this really affected my life that much, but when I talked to a colleague who had recently been to Queensland and said she visited Sizzler, it conjured up so many memories of Potato Skins, Cheese Toast and Chocolate Mousse! It made me think back to my childhood and the family trips to the Sizzler restaurant. Nothing had changed. It was EXACTLY the same. … and the cheese toast was as good as I remember. It was comforting to relive those fond childhood memories.

This burst of spontaneity did get me thinking about how far people will go for a brand. Even though I would not say I am a loyal Sizzler patron, I thought there must be something lurking in my sub-conscious that didn’t think this was such a stupid idea after all. Why is it that I chose, of all silly things I could do, to travel half way across the country for Cheese Toast?

After consideration, I can bring it down to the ‘Sizzler Experience’. I thought about how important customer experiences are to a business. From a designer’s point of view, we are often handed a job to design a logo: essentially we create the ‘face’ of the company. We send it off to the client, and more often than not, that is the end of the job. We have no idea how they will use it. We can provide suggestions, but in the end, it is the client’s prerogative how they continue to represent their company.

Identity development should not stop at a logo. What kind of experience are your customers or clients having with your business? If a logo is the ‘face’ of the company, should we not also consider the ‘body’, the ‘clothes’ and the way the company ‘speaks’? All of these elements, much like a person, go to represent ‘who’ you are.  The visual needs to work hand in hand with the overall conduct of a business. A well-designed logo is a great start, but we need to follow it up with all the other ‘stuff’. A good location or ‘body’ is relevant, and if you don’t have that ‘dress’ your business with the interiors, graphics and furniture that extends who you are. On top of this, there is the service you provide or the way you ‘speak’. Great service is paramount, and it's quality can make or break your customer retention. You need to be the whole package and provide people with an experience that sets you apart from your competitors. Essentially, as a business, you need to look further into your branding than just a logo.

Everyone enjoys different things. I don’t know many people who would have travelled all the way to QLD just to go to Sizzler, but it’s the kind of frivoulous experience that I enjoy. The 'Sizzler Experience' is a system of procedures for ordering and choosing food, the presentation of complimentary cheese toast on arrival and an overall family friendly dining experience. The food is not anything to write home about, but the experience was what we were looking for, even if it was in part to relive my childhood. If Sizzler was a person, it would be that bogan aunty that I would visit a couple of times a year, and I would always hang out for her amazing chocolate cake because it was the only thing she made well.

Give your business personality, be relatable, and remember that every contact with your company is extending your brand. If you consider this, maybe someone will go that extra ‘992.43’ miles for you.