Monthly Archives: October 2012

Wendy’s updates their logo…first time since 1983

NEW YORK (AP) — Wendy’s pigtails are getting a tweak.

For the first time since 1983, the Dublin, Ohio-based fast food company is updating its logo in a move intended to signal its ongoing transformation into a higher-end hamburger chain.

Instead of the boxy, old-fashioned lettering against a red-and-yellow backdrop, the pared down new look features the chain’s name in a casual red font against a clean white backdrop. An image of the smiling, cartoon girl in red pigtails floats above — though this girl looks more vivid and not quite as childlike.

In an interview with The Associated Press, CEO Emil Brolick said the current logo had served the company well for the past three decades, but that it was time for an update. Still, Brolick said he was encouraged by consumer feedback in testing dozens of new logo variations over the past several months.

“When we pushed things too far. They very much reeled us back,” he said, noting that it showed just how attached people are to the brand.

It’s only the fifth logo update since founder Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy’s in 1969, and perhaps the most significant. The makeover comes as the chain known for its square burgers and chocolate Frosty shakes struggles to redefine itself in the face of intensifying competition from the likes of Panera Bread Co. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., which are seen as a step up from traditional fast food.

Wendy’s push has intensified since Brolick came on as CEO about a year ago. In addition to raising perceptions about its food, Brolick is focusing on renovating outdated restaurants with a look that features natural lighting, flat-screen TVs and a variety of seating options, including cushy chairs in nooks.

The idea is to create a more inviting atmosphere where consumers feel they can relax. Starting in March, Wendy’s says the updated logo will start appearing on newly built and renovated restaurants.

It’s still far from clear whether Wendy’s broader reinvention will succeed. But sales at its restaurants open at least a year have edged up for the last five quarters. Craig Bahner, the company’s chief marketing officer, notes that all brands need to evolve.

“It’s a tangible signal of change,” Bahner said.

The Wendy’s name and original logo were inspired by founder Dave Thomas’ daughter, whose real name is Melinda Lou (her siblings couldn’t pronounce her name when they were younger, so they called her “Wenda,” which turned into “Wendy”).

Thomas thought the name conjured the image of the wholesome hamburger restaurant he dreamed of opening.

In his book “Dave’s Way,” Thomas recalls how the family dressed up Wendy, then 8 years old, in a blue-and-white striped dress for the opening of the first location. To make her pigtails stick out, they put pipe cleaners in her hair. That’s roughly the image of the little freckle-faced girl in the logo.

In undertaking the redesign, the company realized there were three key elements that had to be preserved; the image of the little girl, the color red and the way the “Wendy’s” font swerves up — what executives call “the wave.”

In the new logo, Bahner notes that Wendy’s pigtails peek out from the oval frame, bringing her forward and making her more dynamic. It will be part of the new restaurant design that Wendy’s is looking to expand to its roughly 6,000 locations in North America.

Brolick has noted that the revamps “enhance all dimensions of the Wendy’s experience” and that renovated locations see a 25 percent bump in sales. By 2015, Wendy’s plans to have half its 1,425 company-owned locations renovated.

Ultimately, Brolick wants the company to be seen as a “top-end” fast-food chain — better quality than McDonald’s, but perhaps not at the same level as Panera.

“Our goal is to be a five-star restaurant at a three-star price,” he said.

Building on the introduction of its sweet baked potato and Bacon Portabella Melt cheeseburger this year, the company is now looking at introducing whole wheat buns and flatbreads. Brolick says those type of ingredient tweaks can have a big impact on perceptions about the healthfulness and quality of the chain’s food.

The changes are even extending to employee uniforms, which will be updated next year to have a more tailored look.

The early feedback is positive and Brolick says workers like them — so much so that they would no longer feel uncomfortable wearing them outside the restaurant.

 -By Candice Choi, AP Food Industry Writer | Associated Press

The Rise Of Visual Social Media

BLOG POSTS BECAME FACEBOOK UPDATES AND TUMBLR POSTS, WHICH SHRUNK TO TWEETS AND FINALLY TO INSTAGRAM OR PINTEREST. HERE’S HOW SMART BRANDS ARE NAVIGATING THE NEW VISUAL SOCIAL-MEDIA ERA.

Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have ushered in visual marketing as the breakout trend for 2012. When it comes to their products, businesses are learning to show, not tell, and visual content sites are fueling our desire for beautiful photography and sensational design. Two years ago, marketers were spreading the maxim that “content is king,” but now, it seems, “a picture really is worth a thousand words.”

“Blogs were one of the earliest forms of social networking where people were writing 1,000 words,” says Dr. William J. Ward, Social Media professor at Syracuse University. “When we moved to status updates on Facebook, our posts became shorter. Then micro-blogs like Twitter came along and shortened our updates to 140 characters. Now we are even skipping words altogether and moving towards more visual communication with social-sharing sites like Pinterest.”

This trend toward the visual is also influenced by the shifting habits of technology users. As more people engage with social media via smartphones, they’re discovering that taking a picture “on the go” using a high-resolution phone is much less tedious than typing out a status update on a two-inch keyboard.

2012 study by ROI Research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it’s the pictures they took that are enjoyed the most. Forty-four percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media. Pictures have become one of our default modes of sorting and understanding the vast amounts of information we’re exposed to every day.

Detavio Samuals is the EVP and Director of Client Services at GlobalHue, one of the nation’s top market advertising agencies. He explains that pictures are a bit like movie trailers for written content–they provide a snippet of what an article, brand, site or other piece of content is about, so that you can quickly decide if it’s what you wanted or not.

“Pictures have also become a short form way of communicating lots of information quickly and succinctly,” says Samuals. “The need for publishers to get to the point quicker than ever came about as humans became more pressed for time and content became more infinite. For publishers, it was evolve or risk losing their audience, and the only thing shorter than a tweet or post is a picture.”

So what does all this visual stimulation mean for brands?

Fashion designer Kahri-Anne Kerr uses visual social media sites like Pinterest and Facebook to market her Kahri collection. In the fashion world, visual fantasy sells product, as customers need to see the cut of a garment on a model and feel as though they could make that item work in their own wardrobe. “When I post pictures on Facebook, they get the most feedback of all my posts,” says Kahri. Visual media is a great way to share more about what inspires the designs, as well as linking to your online store and straight product shots.”

“I am just getting into Instagram, which I use to give a personal look at the person behind the label by taking shots around my studio and in my everyday life.”

Designer paper/analog brand Moleskine has harnessed the power of visual media to create one of the world’s most active, prolific, and creative online communities. Their visual content strategy focuses on user-generated content: They create large-scale projects that users participate in by posting their own images and videos.

A popular campaign called What’s In Your Bag? had users update pictures of the contents of their bags into a Facebook album. The project generated thousands of likes and comments as readers looked at the contents of other bags (which included Moleskine notebooks, naturally), and shared photos with their friends.

Inspiring fans to create and spread images, customize their notebooks, organize online competitions, and otherwise engage with the brand on a creative level has set Moleskine apart in its highly specialized market.

Search engines now rank content based on social conversations and sharing, not just websites alone. Brands can use visual content on their social media to increase engagement and inspire sharing and viral marketing. The rise of platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, and Facebook’s multimillion-dollar acquisition of the latter, shows how visual content is becoming an increasingly important force for communication online.

Brands that can rock visual media will find themselves market leaders.

Re-Blogged by 5j Design –  original article by Ekaterina Walter is Intel’s social media strategist. Follow her @ekaterina.