Our perspective at VantagePoint

Pick a color — as long as it’s blue or red


At a recent foodservice industry tradeshow, a colleague and I noticed blue and red logos dominated among the banners suspended from the ceiling above company booths. That observation led me to a Google search where I came across an article that confirmed my suspicion.

According to a study by Udemy and published in Adweek, the most dominant colors used in logos were blue and red — half of the logos on Fortune’s 2015 World’s Most Admired Companies list, in fact.

(Is it a coincidence that Louisville is the only NCAA men’s basketball tournament champion in the past 13 seasons that didn’t have blue as a school color? That may be why I picked the Tarheels this year.)

My fascination with psychology during my undergraduate studies drove my search even further into the meaning behind this color preference and the emotional impact it can have. While any color, along with the shape and typography used, is subjective, these two colors have split personalities:

Blue

  • Trustworthy, calm, and high-quality
  • Sadness and tired

Red

  • Excitement, love, and passion
  • Anger and rage

So does that mean all companies with blue logos, like American Express or P&G, are trustworthy? Or companies with red logos, like Coca-Cola and Target, excite us? Not exactly. Red has also been known to make people hungry, which is perhaps why many quick-serve and casual restaurants choose it — Arby’s, Chick-fil-A, Dairy Queen, Five Guys, Jack in the Box, KFC, Wendy’s, etc.

Every color has multiple meanings — subliminal but nonetheless compelling — that need to be defined.

The initial logo designs we create at VantagePoint are typically presented in black and white, which makes it easier to evaluate the logo without inherent color bias. We also use logos to establish the brand attributes that identify the physical, character and personality traits of the brand, similar to the attributes that allow us to consistently identify individuals.

Will consumers ever get enough of the blue and red? I’d like to think so as brands seek ways to stand out from the crowd and establish their true brand attributes and expression.

For more on how color plays on perceptions, check out this blog on using color to boost your brand. And let us know in the comments below what logo colors or designs tend to catch your eye the most.

How to Elevate Your Tradeshow Presence (Spoiler: Leave your products at home)

Packing for your next tradeshow? Leave your company’s products at home.

I’m kidding. Sort of.

For those of you who frequent tradeshows — especially those shows specific to the foodservice market — you have likely seen your fair share of flea market-esque booths where the general feel is more used car lot than professional sales environment.

Having just returned from the NAFEM (North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers) Show in early February, this approach is all too fresh in my mind.

The tendency (and previously accepted way of doing things) at an equipment show was to bring to the show as much equipment as could fit in the booth and spend the next three days showing everything you’ve got. It’s expected. It’s tired. And one could argue… it’s over.

I’m thrilled to let you know there’s a better way. Better for the exhibitor, better for your drayage budget, and better for the customer or prospect with whom you’d like to engage.

At your next tradeshow, consider making the shift from physical to virtual. Create digital tools that showcase your products, while putting more information at the customer’s fingertips. An online product catalog. A selection of videos or product animations. Providing good digital content is a great approach at tradeshows, where buyers and influencers are more and more accepting of this type of engagement.

And if done right, these tools can be used beyond the tradeshow floor, which is great for your ROI.

This doesn’t eliminate the sales person in the booth — sorry, guys, you’ll still have to invest in Dr. Scholl’s gel pads for every show — but it does give customers a chance to engage on their own terms and the sales person a valuable tool for showing products that fit that person’s interests and needs.

Read how one VantagePoint client changed its tradeshow approach and saw an immediate and impressive return.

Menus in 2017, Part 3 | Seeking comfort

When Nancy Kruse spoke at VantagePoint’s Insight2Impact Foodservice Marketing Summit, she laid out five predictions for menus in 2017, which we’re highlighting in this series of blogs. The first entry covered the growing focus on “clean” ingredients and “simple” branding. Next up was dieting, or rather the lack thereof.

Now we move away from those healthful aspects of eating to an arguably more decadent menu trend: comfort foods.

What it is

“When we’re talking about comfort food in the American context, we are absolutely talking about fried foods. We love the stuff,” Kruse said. “From the restaurant perspective, this is a gimme because we don’t do this at home.”

Regionality reigns in this category, from Krystal’s line of country fried sandwiches and biscuits to the now seemingly ubiquitous Nashville hot chicken — the origin story of which is an amusing read itself.

Even restaurants not traditionally in the chicken business have gotten on board with Nashville hot. And since new Nashville hot restaurants are continuing to attract large crowds as far away as Los Angeles, this seems like a trend not nearly on its last legs.

Why it’s coming

Why comfort foods have long remained and will continue to be popular is no mystery — it’s right there in the name. But changes are coming to comfort foods, and the “why” of that shift can be traced to the “simple” messaging that Kruse mentioned among her first prediction for 2017.

“For the last 50 years, fat in general, and animal fat in particular, has been utterly demonized in the American diet,” Kruse said.

That message led to the rise of plant-based oils and the partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats that are now the subject of scorn from health and nutrition experts.

Millennials, huge drivers of menu and dieting trends thanks to their tendency to spend more money dining out than previous generations, are sparking a return to animal fats.

They’re three times more receptive to animal fat use than Boomers, who have been exposed to negative animal fat messaging for decades. And “butter” or “lard” on an ingredient list sounds a lot more natural to them than “partially hydrogenated soybean oil.”

“We understand the ingredient label. This is pretty clean stuff,” Kruse said.

Where it’s showing up

Acceptance of animal fat in diets has been a boon for good old-fashioned butter. (Cue the Paula Deen highlight reel.)

QSRs looking for quick bona fides can turn to butter, and many are — Burger King’s buttery extra long cheeseburger, Jack in the Box’s Classic Buttery Jack and McDonald’s touting a switch from margarine to “real butter” with its all-day breakfast menu.

Among smaller, independent restaurants, animal fats like tallow, lard and duck fat are on the rise, Kruse said.

What’s next

Comfort food in the form of fried dishes will continue to dominate because, well, they’re tasty and often considered a dining out treat. Millennials are embracing them in particular when paired with fats perceived to be more natural.

Support for this trend will come in the form of foods that eschew artificial fats, opportunities to embrace “old-fashioned” animal fats where possible, and a focus on regional and ethnic favorites to offer a sense of place and authenticity in comfort food dishes.

VantagePoint Foodservice Advisory Board Member James Camacho Awarded Doctorate of Foodservice

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Amy Clarke Burns
864.331.1273
aburns@vantagep.com

Greenville, S.C. – March 7, 2017 – James Camacho, FCSI, CSI, a professional foodservice design consultant and member of VantagePoint Marketing’s foodservice advisory board, was recently awarded a Doctorate of Foodservice by the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM).

“The Doctorate of Foodservice is awarded at each NAFEM Show to leaders of NAFEM’s allied organizations. The award recognizes and celebrates those professionals whose leadership and dedication advance the foodservice industry,” said Charlie Souhrada, CFSP, vice president of regulatory and technical affairs for NAFEM.

Camacho, president of Atlanta-based Camacho Associates Inc., currently serves as board chair for Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) The Americas. With nearly four decades’ experience in the foodservice industry, he is often cited as one of the industry’s leading kitchen designers.

“We consider ourselves fortunate to have James’ expertise on our foodservice advisory board. Both our associates and our clients benefit from his keen insight into the industry and the ever-changing needs of today’s kitchens,” said Craig O’Neal, VantagePoint president and CEO. “We know as well as anyone how much James contributes to foodservice, and he is well deserving of this recognition.”

Camacho was honored alongside other industry leaders at NAFEM’s All-Industry Awards Breakfast on Feb. 9, 2017, in Orlando, Fla.

About VantagePoint Marketing

VantagePoint Marketing is a nationally recognized business-to-business marketing agency with a primary focus on foodservice clients. Headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, it is ranked nationally as one of Chief Marketer’s 2017 B2B Top Shops, is an eight-time winner of the Business Marketing Association of the Carolinas’ Agency of the Year award and has been named one of the small/midsized Best Places to Work in South Carolina for four consecutive years. Founded in 1993, VantagePoint takes an integrated approach in offering its clients expertise in marketing, advertising, branding, digital and public relations. For more information, visit www.vantagep.com.

 

They Can’t All Be ‘Best’: Infusing Your Brand With Character

Often when I’m writing for clients, there’s a natural temptation to jump to the superlative. After getting to know a company, along with its people and products, I find myself wanting to cut to the chase and say it’s simply the best. But those kinds of claims take time and work — and I was recently struck by a quote from Virgin Group founder Richard Branson:

“Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.”

The keyword for me here was “acquire” — because I believe messaging plays a vital role in how brands build up that equity with customers over time. It’s about telling your story and staking your own claim about what sets you apart in the marketplace.

I also appreciated Branson’s use of “texture” and “character” to describe the way a brand should ultimately have a life of its own. Anyone familiar with Branson’s companies through the years is aware that he’s not afraid of surprises and adventures. While his unconventional style has been controversial at times, there’s no denying that his brands have developed a completely unique texture and character in the public eye.

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but when it comes to building and shaping a brand, it takes far fewer words to start painting a picture of what makes a company and its products special. Taking the time to discover those ownable qualities — and acquire texture and character, to Branson’s point — is the first chapter of the story.