What makes a good brand?

January 3, 2021

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A lesson in Branding from Frank Pepe's Pizzeria

I was walking the streets of New Haven earlier this week, and we got hungry. Where do you think we got lunch?

I will give you 3 guesses…

If you guessed Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria, you would be right. But why would your mind suggest Frank Pepe's? What makes that place so special? The answer is all in the brand.

The simple board outside the pizzeria with the logo and the brand name. Visually, nothing special. Emotionally, you feel the joy of being minutes away from GOOD pizza.

We, as marketers, try so hard to create something iconic. But we need to understand the simple question: What makes a good brand?

Is it the brand name?

The tagline?

The logo, font, visual aesthetics?

Is it the packaging?

While all of these matter, they are like toppings on a pizza. What you REALLY need, though, is a good dough. And THAT is that invisible emotion that percolates all aspects of the business.

Brand is that which is so true to the business that it is palpable in every aspect of the work they do.

In Frank Pepe’s case, the logo, font, visual aesthetics are all simple & classic. The pizza comes in a standard pizza box, like every other pizzeria.  What sets them apart, however, is encompassed in the tagline “Passionate about Pizza since 1925.” These 2 aspects – 1. Legacy of Pizza-Making, and 2. A Passion for Pizza, show up in every aspect of the business.

The heritage is undeniable when the very entry into this pizzeria showcases the rich legacy left behind by Frank Pepe. The story is told through a whole showcase of Frank Pepe’s life, his journey - professional & personal, and how the business is upholding his values through the ages.

And the passion for pizza is not just lip-service. It permeates every aspect of the brand, from the way the business operates - the employees who make & serve the pizza love their jobs, and that passion also translates into the customers who frequent the pizzeria. Every real pizza connoisseur would have visited Frank Pepe’s at least once.

A picture of Frank Pepe. The legacy that still shows up in all aspects of the business.

So what makes a good brand?

When the unique values & emotions that the business holds at its core are seen & felt through every aspect of their existence  from the logo, tagline, visual aesthetics, to employee ethics, business operations, and most importantly, those values resonate with the customers who become your biggest ambassadors, THAT is a good brand.

Signing off!

Written by Isha Vyas
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