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How To Make A Successful Hospitality Brand

Written by: Christopher Trotman, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Christopher Trotman

People respond to good branding, even if it’s on a subconscious level. Even if they can’t put their finger on precisely why they like something. And, in hospitality, good branding often means the ‘branding’ is invisible. It’s where the brand and the interior space are so complimentary that you can’t notice the seam. These days, good hospitality is about the experience. It’s not just the food and drink it’s the atmosphere and the music. It’s where every venue is a theatre, and the kitchen is the stage.

Brand logo

Here are some tips on creating a successful hospitality brand


Research & familiarisation

Start by thoroughly researching everything about the project. Have the client prepare some Pinterest Moodboards with their references and inspirations for a discovery meeting, where you can also hear the brand origin story, the vision and any relevant background information. Go through the competitive set with them and get their likes and dislikes, gauge where they want to be positioned in the marketplace. See if there are any ‘trends’ to avoid or cultural context to respect. Not only is following trends lazy, but it could also date your project. Be unexpected and buck trends, be bold, and most importantly do not copy. Get inside your client’s heads. If they give you a brief, scrutinise it and return it with your notes from your discovery meetings, so everyone is on the same page. If there isn’t a brief, create one and ensure they agree and sign it off.


Brand infusion

A brand is more than just a logo, and for some projects, you can develop a world beyond the expected elements of a typical identity. It’s not just defining the colour palette, it’s developing the colour scheme with the interior design team and infusing it subtly within the venue. It’s not just developing supporting typography, it is also the storytelling written in the menus and neon signage or more discrete wayfinding around the venue. It might be developing a library of illustrative or photographic assets that could be used on menus. Choose or create wall art because it reaffirms the brand story and if possible uses illustrative elements from the brand world. This imagery could be used boldly in murals, or discretely in fabric patterns. Make sure the branding and interior design teams are working collaboratively, infusing the brand through the interior space. Brand inspiration can come from decorative elements within the interior scheme. And there will be lots of bespoke lighting or custom joinery the interior team will undoubtedly be creating that could cleverly use little details from the brand world often good branding isn’t recognised as branding. 


Brand consistency 

Consistency is important for any branding project. It strengthens brand recognition and makes it easier for guests to remember, which is good for word-of-mouth business. Customers are more trustful of recognisable, consistent brands. It improves credibility and will make small restaurants seem bigger and more established. It will make your venue appear slicker and stand out from a crowded marketplace. 


Make it memorable

The guests aren’t just here for the F&B offer. It’s an entertaining night out with friends or loved ones. And whether it’s boisterous or intimate, it needs to be memorable. The brand can help take them on a journey if you add lots of little touchpoints that help tell a story. Maybe there is a central character and guests are in the character’s world. Or maybe the venue is actually in a different time or space. Taking guests to the Amazon rainforest or the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. All the artwork and decorative props reinforce the narrative. Everything from the waiter’s uniform to the tone of voice on the menu and toilet wayfinding can feed into this. 


When the brand and the interiors become seamlessly entwined the space takes on a life of its own, as a truly memorable and successful destination.

Follow my design studio Run For The Hills on Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and visit our website for more info!

Christopher Trotman Brainz Magazine

Christopher Trotman, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Christopher Trotman is a London-based designer, creative director and illustrator with decades of experience across print, web and film. He is the co-founder of Run For The Hills; a multi-disciplinary creative design house specialising in art, branding and interiors. His team have won awards for their work in the hospitality and property sector, designing identities for a few of the UK’s top eateries, boutique cinemas and creative property developments.



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