Recently we've revamped the look of the website for one of Lafayette's most celebrated restaurants, Café Vermilionville. The new site makes the menu and wine lists more easily readable as well as allows those interested in booking parties, receptions and weddings to view photos of the facility and past events held at the restaurant. Brightening up the color palette gave the site a completely different, fresh look and breathes new life into the memories that have been created at the restaurant over the years.
A long standing Lafayette tradition, Café Vermilionville has been open since 1981 and is still serving some of the finest cuisine our city has to offer. Visit the new site at www.cafev.com.
When a successful businessman and woman combine what they know with what they love, another success is to be expected.
Coteau Grove Farms is a breeder of top-quality thoroughbred race horses located on 180 acres of rolling hills in Sunset, Louisiana.
Coteau Grove Farms was founded in 2008 by Keith and Ginger Myers. The Myers have a love of horses and established their thoroughbred racing operation. Louisiana's breeding and racing incentive program rewards excellence. The Myers founded their operation to create top quality breeding and race horses to compete in Louisiana and nationally.
Calzone created and developed Coteau Grove Farms website. The firm has over 20 years of experience in the horse industry, especially the thoroughbred horse breeding and racing industry. The firm is one of only a handful of agencies with that level of experience and expertise.
Ok, before we start we had better define a “brand” more fully. In simplistic terms a brand is a proposition – a message such as “we deliver quality sports wear”. There may also be sub messages and values which associate with that message but they all revolve around the same idea. How this message is communicated is often termed “branding” and one of the most important aspects of communicating a brand visually and subconsciously, is consistency.
What is brand consistency?
Brand consistency is where a business attempts to communicate messages in a way which doesn’t detract or wander away from the core brand proposition. For example, a single logo is always used in a similar way on all marketing materials, a single typeface is used with particular guidelines on typography, consistent color ranges are applied and similar design styles, so that everything visual is inter-linked and has a link back to that core brand proposition. Every piece of marketing material is like a member of the same family, supporting and even looking similar to all the other members in the family. The brand has it’s own unique “look” which enables a consumer to recognize it as belonging to that brand proposition and distinguish it from competing brands. This visual “look” often evolves slowly over time but the core message of all successful brands never really changes.
Take for example, Apple computers. Since their brand’s conception, their brand proposition was to supply advanced, quality, great looking, high performing computers. This message has never changed although the way they have communicated this over the years has, as they have kept up with modern design standards. This has led to consumer recognition and then trust and loyalty from their customers.
We would like to mention that branding is not just about applying a logo in a consistent manner, and having the right Pantone colors. It is about ensuring that all the messaging of all communications materials is pulling in the same direction. That it all “looks” consistent. Even the way the copy is written should be considered in the light of the brand messaging, the way the website is coded and the quality of paper used in printed materials – all of these points should be consistent because of they are not, it will cause consumers to loose trust in the brand and it’s messaging.
For example, imagine you were thinking of purchasing an expensive, high performance car. You see a TV advertisement for a car dealer near you. You look at their website but it doesn’t seem to look the same as the TV advert. When you go there the sales man gave you a flimsy, poorly designed, black and white, photocopied brochure – again this doesn’t fit in with the web-site design, the TV advertisement and the message they had communicated to you. This would immediately make you think – hang on, if this car is worth £100,000 then why cannot they afford to produce quality marketing materials? Am I even in the right place? Maybe this product is not what it seems?! And you may even be put off from the purchase because something didn’t sit right – because the brand proposition was not communicated in the right way, or in a consistent way – and that’s why brand consistency is so important.
Why bother with brand consistency?
Brand consistency has one massive advantage – recognition. With recognition comes familiarity. With familiarity comes trust and confidence. Also, if done correctly, consistency brings clarity and purpose which consumers buy into. They can become loyal. As people we don’t really like “new’ – and it has been widely reported that before a consumer purchases a product, on average, they need to be exposed to a brand 17 times. 17 times is an awful lot and so it’s essential that when a potential customer comes across a “brand message” they know straight away which brand is communicating to them. This can only be done by consistency. If consistency is not applied, and the message and design not defined then it is possible for a consumer to mistake one brand with a competing brand which could then mean they associate the impression with another company. This means a business potentially looses customers, and may even help it’s competitors if a consistent “look” and tone is not achieved.
The issue is that brand consistency often takes many years to master before it really starts working for you. This means you need to think long term – and start as you mean to go on. Leading brands are normally leading because they have had many years of consistency behind them and they have had a long term goal for their branding which has been consistent. The trick is to have in place a clear idea of your brand and then the right people in place to guard it.
A 7-year-old campaign to get Lafayette residents out of their homes and into locally owned restaurants is expanding its reach. And our waistlines. By Anna Purdy
In 2004, Charlie Goodson of Charley G’s was talking to a few other restaurateurs about how to drum up more business in the often slacking summer months. Summer is historically tough for the service industry — if it’s a “college town” the seasonal exodus siphons patrons and cash, and in most any town people are either going on vacation or saving money to do so, cutting into the restaurants’ bottom line.
“Myself and others restaurateurs were trying to come up with a summer program,” recalls Goodson. “It’s an awareness campaign to make people think about local restaurants. If these mom-and-pop places go away, there goes our identity.”
With a mind focused on local and locally owned and operated restaurants, Goodson spoke to Gerald Breaux of the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission. A meeting with Julie Calzone of Calzone & Associates, a marketing and advertising agency, soon followed. Over coffee the trio generated a plan to bring together and promote the vital and varied restaurants in Lafayette, educating locals and tourists alike about the many places a good meal can be had from every nook and cranny and cuisine being offered. EatLafayette was born.
Since its inception, Calzone has been heading up the marketing for EatLafayette. All advertising, social media marketing, promotions, website and collateral materials run through her company. “The media create a nearly $200,000 impact because they give us 2- or 3-to-1 matches on our buys, endless on-air promotion and visibility we couldn’t afford to pay for. They are simply amazing. We don’t ever see that in any other market we work in as an agency,” Calzone says.
Put simply, EatLafayette allows restaurants to pay a nominal fee and be part of a major marketing and promotional push. While the yearly kickoff soiree and campaign are every summer (this year’s promotion ends Aug. 15), EatLafayette’s website is up year-round and allows easy access and research for locals and travelers to see what is being offered by every sort of restaurant, from mom-and-pop diners to the white linen set.
It began seven years ago with 18 restaurants. During this year’s kickoff party held at Acadiana Center for the Arts on June 20, there were 57 restaurants represented as well as local brewery LA-31 offering complimentary brew.
This summer’s launch party filled the AcA’s James D. Moncus Theater to capacity. Each restaurant had one or two offerings, a veritable edible square of cover3
goodies from around Acadiana — from bagels to gumbo, from seafood crepes to ribs, to sushi and bread pudding was up for the tasting. If you left hungry it was surely your own fault, despite having to wade through the starving throng.
This year seemed noticeably fuller, and it was: “We expanded it [in 2010] to allow Acadiana restaurants who were members of the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission to participate,” says Calzone. In other words, if a restaurant is locally owned and located not just in Lafayette proper but the larger Acadiana region and it becomes a member of LCVC, joining EatLafayette is an option. According to Goodson, well beyond half of the tickets printed and given out to sponsors, restaurants and others were used, making this year a huge success.
EatLafayette’s marketing campaign is through television, print and social media. The website highlights a different member restaurant every day. Not sure what you’re in the mood to nosh on today? Just scroll through the list of restaurants and check out the map to easily find what your palate craves. The site lists restaurants running dining specials unique to the campaign. All you have to do is mention EatLafayette when ordering to receive the special. You can also sign up for a Caribbean cruise at any of the restaurants.
“This year’s event was different,” continues Calzone, “because we really upped our game for the kickoff event in many ways. First, the AcA — it was a win-win. We brought them a demographic they didn’t ordinarily see. We had a spectacular venue. Most importantly, it opened up the event to a broader market — you didn’t have to be a chamber of commerce member to attend. It’s been at River Oaks and the Petroleum Club — great venues who did a lot to help us get going. The event was tied to the chamber’s Business After Hours. That was a super way to market the businesses for a kickoff event.”
This year Event Rental and Event Staffing designed the event around a new title sponsor — the Fly Lafayette Club. The Fly Lafayette Club allows users to sign up for free online and then are sent a card. Every time you fly through Lafayette Regional Airport all you have to do is swipe your card through at one of the kiosks and you enter to win monthly prizes, from free meals to merchandise. Calzone says this encourages not only locals but those who frequently travel to Lafayette to seek out local places to eat.
But EatLafayette is more than a campaign to generate dollars for the food service industry. According to Calzone, EatLafayette’s reach extends cover4beyond the regional to the national. It heightens awareness of a culture that is unique — our cuisine is just one aspect people should know more about. Our food is a gateway drug, so to speak, for getting addicted to Acadiana. The music, the people and the burgeoning technological advances are piquing the interest of companies from around the globe.
This year’s Restaurant Business’ Restaurant Growth Index Report has Lafayette beating New Orleans to the dinner line: Lafayette came in at 17 in the nation with New Orleans trailing six places behind, and Lafayette residents also spend more money on dining out, per capita, than our crescent-shaped down the road. These numbers are a great reason restaurateurs like our area and a very great reason for EatLafayette to not only continue but to thrive and expand.
“Without the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission who started the campaign, it would not be what it is,” adds Calzone. “Their sponsorship, their team and their commitment lend expertise, credibility, relationships, creativity, resources and so many things that the level of this campaign has reached would not be possible without them. They are critical to its success. They help us bring in the sponsors we have today, and that number and their financial support has grown tremendously.”
This push for national coverage is making a lot of people and companies want to pull up to our proverbial table. Luckily, we always have room for more. And there are always seconds.