Naming In The News

Brand Tactics

The Lowdown on Logos

Chain Leader, May 2004

Brand consultancy Strategic Name Development set out to gain consumer feedback and insight on fast-casual restaurant logos in terms of ideal characteristics, association with "fast casual" attributes and motivating a consumer to eat at that restaurant. The Minneapolis-based firm conducted the study online in January with 150 respondents, 21 to 54 years old, who had eaten in at least two of the chains studied.

The research examined logos from Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, Briazz, Corner Bakery Café, Cosi and Potbelly Sandwich Works.

The research showed fast-casual logos should be easy to read and simply designed. They also should be distinctive and communicate the essence of the concept.

The company concluded that the main advantage of a descriptive restaurant name, for example Corner Bakery Café, is that customers easily recognize what the concept offers. But if the concept evolves or changes, the name may lose relevance. A coined name such as Cosi or Briazz can evolve over time. The downside comes in establishing the name in consumers' minds, which costs time and money.

Logos are rarely seen in a vacuum. But Strategic Name Development offers first impressions from respondents. The Corner Bakery logo scored the highest on evoking good feelings, being a trusted place to bring your family and co-workers and motivating customers to want to eat there. Respondents understood the bakery part of the concept, but the name didn't suggest the chain's wide menu.

Baja Fresh did the best on "easy to read" and "simple design." The respondents didn't consider it very distinctive but understood what the restaurants offer. It communicates healthful, good-tasting food and a good place to eat with co-workers.

Potbelly scored well on "I would like to go with my family." The logo elicited interest in learning more about the restaurant and suggested good food, but it was not perceived as offering healthful choices.

Respondents described the Cosi and Briazz logos as sophisticated. But neither scored well on being a comfortable place to eat. Those who had not eaten at the chains could not tell what they were all about.