Branding & Why it Matters

I rarely go back to the same restaurant over and over again. But lately, I’ve been drawn to the Bluebeard located at the edge of the Fountain Square neighborhood as you head east from downtown Indy on Virginia Avenue. It’s not always the food that brings me back to places; sometimes it’s the story.

Here’s why.

The Bluebeard is a place that isn’t prolific on social media. It doesn’t offer plentiful parking. It’s on the edge of neighborhood that’s still developing into what it wants to be tucked in between some deteriorating facades and spanking new construction. And it’s usually crowded.

That’s OK. It’s all OK.

Why? Because it has a story. The place has an interesting history, including old caskets tucked away in the back. It has interesting people working there – like Elvis Mires, a local artist who is making what he calls a pigskin montage of Colts QB Andrew Luck (one of the regular diners). Yes, pigskin as in bits of football pieces to build a leather mosaic of the Luck mug. Just for fun.

There’s a guy behind the bar who has recorded an acoustic song on the restaurant’s soundtrack that sounds quite a lot like Mumford & Sons.

The place is filled with old typewriters and real books on wooden shelves. Waiters deliver checks tucked into old tattered Shakespeare novels and guests are encouraged to scribble a comment on any page. On the pages are children’s doodles, some self-portraits in ink pen, and a few twitter handles (like mine).

The food, however, is memorable. The uovo egg salad sandwich has capers and goat cheese. A bakery with daily offering of biscotti and flavored flat breads is immediately inside the door. My only complaint is that you can’t hit it on Sunday mornings with a New York Times and cup of steaming Joe.

So what does it all have to do with the B-word? Brand is what you want people to remember and it should give you an emotional kick. All the details of the Bluebeard seem to be related to a place you want to revisit – with as many friends that you can convince to go.

This is a restaurant that has a story – or at least has interesting people who tell a story and are passionate about the food.

I’ve gone to the Bluebeard with lobbyists, communications officials and commercial real estate brokers. Each time, it’s sparked an unusual conversation that has opened up people to something I didn’t know – about the place – and about my fellow guests.

I dig it. And I dig the brand. And that’s all you can ask if you’re a brand competing for repeat business on any given day.

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