Using a super symbol to build a super brand
“I♥莜” is a super symbol created for Xibei Restaurant to facilitate the development of Xibei Restaurant into a first-tiered brand in the Chinese catering industry. H&H helped establish the Xibei Handmade Delicacy Master platform, launched two major communication events themed with “Xibei Oat Noodle Village, Serving Food in the United Nations” and “A Bite of China Season 2: Hollow Fine-dried Noodles Handmade by Grandpa Zhang”, successfully created the dishes most frequently talked about in the year, and accumulated huge brand assets.
Today, Xibei Restaurant has become a banner among China’s catering chain brands. Every new store will attract many people waiting in long queues. With characteristics different from the eight mainstream cuisines, Xibei Restaurant has become a first-tiered brand in China’s catering industry.
All efforts should be one integrated endeavor.
The services provided by H&H for Xibei Restaurant mainly include:
I. enterprise strategy consulting
II. brand strategy
III. brand discourse system design
IV. brand symbol design
V. product development innovation and annual marketing communication planning
I. Enterprise Strategy Consulting
Xibei Oat Noodle Village is China’s largest northwestern cuisine restaurant chain. By November 2014, Xibei had opened nearly 80 stores in China. Every year, it provides delicious foods and friendly services for over 20 million person times. Xibei’s vision is to serve its delicious foods in every city across the globe and build Xibei into a most-respected catering brand.
1. Enterprise Strategy of Xibei Restaurant
According to the theory on corporate social value in H&H Methodology, the mission should be set before strategies are developed. Xibei’s mission is to “create dining experiences, protect food safety, and cultivate healthy dietary habits”. It aims to serve healthy and delicious foods prepared with authentic ingredients and without additives, and achieve the strategic transition from street-side restaurants to leisure boutiques.
2. Product Structure of Xibei Restaurant
The product structure should be in line with the strategic role, the strategic task and the strategic priority of each product.
H&H studied the trend of the changes in the channels in the catering industry, i.e., shopping malls have become one of the most important channels for the development of China’s catering industry. As a leisure and entertainment place, the characteristics of this channel determine that the restaurant is a leisure place. So, in the future, Xibei will “run small but beautiful stores, and provide not many but delicate dishes”.
II. Brand Strategy
Among H&H’s brand management methods, the most important one is the brand asset concept. Brand assets need to be accumulated over time. “Xibei Handmade Delicacy Master” platform was established to identify folk handmade delicacies, inherit handmade cuisine skills, and invite folk master chefs and gourmets to participate in the R&D of Xibei dishes.
Through the promotion by master chefs of Xibei Restaurant, Xibei brand was developed at an accelerated rate, and handmade cuisine master chefs continuously develop highly popular dishes, so as to achieve the overall vital and continuous development of the brand.
III. Brand Discourse System Design
Discourse is power. The brand and product discourse system is designed in line with the principles “handmade, using authentic ingredients and using no additives”. Now in the Chinese catering market, Xibei is a synonym for healthiness, naturalness and delicacy.
1. super discourse on brand:I♥莜
2. super discourse on ingredients: beef and mutton from the grassland, and refined and coarse grains from the plateau dryland
3. super discourse on knock-out products: refined and coarse grains from the plateau dryland, mainly oat noodles
4. super discourse on cooking: cooked with natural ingredients, no monosodium glutamate or flavoring essence
IV. Brand Symbol Design
Super symbols are super innovation. H&H has created the brand symbol system for Xibei, determined the brand value, and reduced the communication cost so that the brand can achieve the long-term and most efficient capital accumulation.
1. Teaching Chinese to know “莜”
The primary problem in the promotion of Xibei Restaurant brand was whether guests knew the Chinese character “莜”. According to the survey, H&H found that many guests didn’t know the pronunciation of “莜” was “yóu”, and some people pronounced it “xiǎo”. Therefore, H&H created the super symbol “I♥莜” based on the prototype “I♥NY”. The pronunciation of “ I♥莜” is “I LOVE YOU”. The pronunciation of “You” in English is almost the same as the pronunciation of “yóu” in Chinese. Through this super discourse familiar to a huge number of people in the world, H&H helped people easily know the Chinese character “莜”.
2. Guiding Chinese to love Oat Noodle Village
The key for Xibei to become guests’ favorite is to build the brand preference. In H&H’s opinion, a super symbol can turn a new brand to immediately become consumers’ old friend. “ ♥” is a symbol rooted in everyone’s mind. It symbolizes deep love, and it is so familiar to guests so that guests immediately feel close to the brand. “ I♥莜” represents the culture of love deeply rooted in Xibei, and it draws upon the culture popular among the modern people, so it is well received and spread very quickly.
3. Super symbol information packet minimizing the brand communication cost
Now that this super symbol is so popular, how to present the brand name? We include the information about Xibei Restaurant brand in “ I♥莜”, and the whole brand information is condensed into a symbol, which can help people not only instantly build the brand preference, but also remember the brand name, thereby minimizing the communication cost.
V. We Media Project
In the study of the catering industry, H&H finds that the store front itself is a medium, each store is a “TV station”, the program guide is released outside each store, and the We Media is used in each store, so that the omnimedia is formed in and outside each store to create the unique brand experience for consumers.
1. Becoming a star in the business district through the indication system outside the store
2. Creating the brand impression through the experience system in the store
Signboards, store consumables system, menu planning, selling point text refining, design and photography were all completed by H&H.
VI. Communication of Major Brand Events
Marketing activities must be related to products. Product development and advertisement planning should be integrated, so that activities are aimed at product promotion and products are promoted through activities.
2013: “Xibei Oat Noodle Village, serving food in the United Nations”
Selected as a representative of the Chinese delicacies in 2013, Xibei Restaurant served food and gave performances for 5 days to the media from different countries and the top leaders of the United Nations including the secretary general. On both the online media and the offline media, H&H publicized “Xibei serving food in the United Nations” as a brand event.
2014: “In Xibei, you can enjoy the hollow fine dried noodles made by hand with the method invented by Grandpa Zhang in A Bite of China Season 2”
Taking advantage of the people’s craze for delicious foods triggered by A Bite of China Season 2, Xibei went to Zhangjiashan Town, Yulin City, Shaanxi Province to learn how to make hollow fine dried noodles. Xibei purchased the right to exclusively use Grandpa Zhang’s method at the price of 6 million yuan, and the total sales amount in two months reached 17 million yuan. Such noodles were the most popular noodles in 2014, and the guests to the nationwide stores increased by 7% to 15%.