When branding becomes a key business success factor

When branding becomes a key business success factor

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Branding plays a key role in the success of concepts and brands, as it is an inseparable component from the brand’s identity and DNA. HN spoke with Leen Halwani, creative director and branding consultant at Dimpill Design Boutique to further highlight this instrumental part in the success journey of nowadays’ restaurants.  

  • Tell us more about the services you provide and how do you stand out?

Leen Halwani

Dimpill Design Boutique is a branding agency that works within the F&B field and specializes in restaurants. We provide bespoke design services tailored to each client and their individual needs and preferences. For every project that we kickstart, we create detailed moodboards to convey the desired interior aesthetic and feel in addition to the branding concept itself. The genuine passion for what we do and our customer relationships are what makes Dimpill Design Boutique stand out from the crowd. We live and work with “love what you do and you will never have to work another day in your life” in mind. The design process requires several stages before we meet and exceed the client’s expectations, and then we bring them to life.

  • How do you describe the growth and the evolution of the restaurant business in the MENA?

The rise of the restaurant industry across the MENA region has been substantial over the last couple of years, especially within KSA. This new, unparalleled competition among brands calls for a real edge in their branding in order to succeed in the field. In addition, there is a much stronger online presence for these restaurants than ever before, and everything is shared on social media. This is why it’s so important to ensure our client’s presence is a captivating one, otherwise it’s very unlikely that customers will mention or recommend the restaurant online or in person. The market is a saturated one, and it takes a lot to impress a clientele nowadays.

  • Why do you think this growth pattern requires a higher investment into branding?

The rise in competitors, online access and social media calls for a ‘wow factor’ at all times, as there is simply no room for mediocre designs or average content. Any brands that aren’t making bold impressions from the outset will likely fade away amidst the fierce competition.

  • How important is the role branding plays for restaurants?

Nowadays, branding is as important as the quality of food being served in the restaurant. That being said, this doesn’t mean that the owner needs to invest excessive amounts of money in extravagant branding. Sometimes simple branding with a conceptual edge can do the trick – it’s just key to have consistency and added value within your designs, all while remembering who the target audience is. 

  • Does great branding impact restaurants positively during crises? Did you notice that during the COVID-19 crisis?

Oh definitely! At the moment, the branding elements of restaurants have moved into the digital sphere rather than print. Many restaurants have incorporated a QR code into their tables as opposed to printing actual menus, and most of the advertising and communication is now taking place on social media. As designers, we are problem solvers. We attend to the concerns and visions of restaurateurs, and make sure their brand is communicated in the most efficient and effective way possible. 

  • Did you notice any restaurants willing to rebrand during this phase? and why?
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Absolutely. A lot of our clients have decided they want newer and more impactful packaging in order to stand out amidst the rise of the competition. There is a need for excellent packaging designs, in terms of both aesthetics and function. Ultimately, their new packaging needs to be attractive enough to stand out, and innovative enough to draw and keep the customer’s attention. 

  • What do you advise them?

As designers, we take pride in bringing a client’s vision to life, all while tackling any obstacles along the way. We take the brand’s needs and the demands of the market into consideration, and our advice is always to allocate their budgets in places that matter. A lot of the time, we provide simple solutions that make the brand stand out even on a lower budget. The important factor is to have added value both on the culinary level and also within the packaging.

  • How important is the role of the packaging nowadays, especially that the delivery business is on a rise? What do you advise restaurants regarding that?

Packaging has become a need for every business – it is not a luxury or an option to just consider. Without well designed, functional packaging, the business will not be taken seriously or thought highly of. This is due to the fact that people spend a great deal of their lives on social media. They post, repost and showcase packaging they like in their stories. There is also the impact of influencers to consider, with companies custom-designing packages for bloggers and public figures to ensure impressive content from the chosen influencers, and to start a conversation about their brand. 

  • Where do you see the industry in the next five years, and how will branding change?

Consumers in the Middle East will always be on the lookout for new food trends and types of cuisines in addition to healthy options, while they are also demanding convenient delivery options which cater to their busy lifestyles. Moreover; if the pandemic sticks around there will be more focus on take out and drive through services which requires more attention to functional and adaptive packaging. The region’s hospitality sector is expanding as there are constantly new coffee shops and restaurant concepts in the pipeline, especially within the UAE and Saudi Arabia which will lead to a demand of more digital platforms to support online F&B services. In order to keep up with this fast growing industry, branding must always be unique, witty and functional. A strong brand identity nowadays is a pillar of success.  

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